In general, trade in goods and services is not restricted in Poland. In some areas, including imports of strategic goods (e.g. police and military products, radioactive elements, weapons, transportation equipment, chemicals) a license or concession is required. A license is not required to import liquor into Poland, but a license must be obtained to sell liquor.
The Ministry of Economy issues import permits and concessions and also regulates quotas. However, other Polish ministries have special jurisdiction over products such as tobacco (Ministry of Agriculture); permits related to air, sea, or road transport (Ministry of Transportation); or natural resources (Ministry of Environmental Protection). U.S. exporters should ascertain whether their product requires import certification before shipping.
In most cases, before an issuing Ministry grants import permission on a product, the product must be reviewed and recommended for import into Poland by one or more inspectorates or technical associations, depending on the nature of the product. This can be a costly, lengthy, and confusing process for the U.S. exporter and the Polish importer alike. It is often necessary to submit samples of products or equipment for testing, regardless of the issuance of previous U.S. or international certificates. The presentation of detailed documentation on a product is a must, and all requests by relevant inspection agencies should be strictly adhered to in order to speed up certification procedures.
Once an application and supporting materials have been submitted, the inspecting agency will make a positive or negative recommendation for import to the appropriate Polish ministry. When the import of a specific product is approved, further imports of that product are free from additional regulation.
Some products, once imported, also require registration. This is particularly true of products that come into contact with or can affect the health of the consumer. In the case of hazardous materials, the importer must receive permission for use of such materials before applying for a concession to import the materials into Poland.
Each consignment of meat, meat products and offal must be accompanied by a health certificate issued by USDA's veterinary authorities. U.S. bovine genetics (semen, embryos) can be imported to Poland after receiving a positive opinion from the Polish Federation of Dairy Cattle Breeders. Polish regulations require imported products, including food and agriculture products, to be inspected for compliance with EU and Polish standards. The Polish inspection agency, Centralny Inspektorat Standardyzacji (CIS) is charged with establishing the quality of products offered on the Polish market.
European Union Regulations
The Integrated Tariff of the Community, referred to as TARIC (Tarif Intégré de la Communauté), is designed to show various rules applying to specific products being imported into the customs territory of the EU or, in some cases, when exported from it. To determine if a license is required for a particular product, check the TARIC.
The TARIC can be searched by country of origin, Harmonized System (HS) Code, and product description on the interactive website of the Directorate-General for Taxation and the Customs Union. The online TARIC is updated daily.
Many EU Member States maintain their own list of goods subject to import licensing. For example, Germany's "Import List" (Einfuhrliste) includes goods for which licenses are required, their code numbers, any applicable restrictions, and the agency that will issue the relevant license. The Import List also indicates whether the license is required under German or EU law.
The official model for written declarations to customs is the Single Administrative Document (SAD). European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries including Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein also use the SAD. However, other forms may be used for this purpose.
Information on import/export forms is contained in Title VII; of Council Regulation (EEC) No. 2454/93, which identifies provisions for the implementation; of Council Regulation (EEC) No. 2913/92 establishing the Community Customs Code (Articles 205 through 221). Articles 222 through 224 provide for computerized customs declarations and Articles 225 through 229 provide for oral declarations.
Additional information on import/export documentation can be found in Title III; of Council Regulation (EEC) No. 2913/92 of October 12, 1992, establishing the Community Customs Code (Articles 37 through 57). Goods brought into the customs territory of the Community are, from the time of their entry, subject to customs supervision until customs formalities are completed. Goods presented to customs are covered by a summary declaration, which is lodged once the goods have been presented to customs. The customs authorities may, however, allow a period for lodging the declaration, which cannot be extended beyond the first working day following the day on which the goods are presented to customs. The summary declaration can be made on a form corresponding to the model prescribed by the customs authorities. However, the customs authorities may permit the use, as a summary declaration, of any commercial or official document that contains the particulars necessary for identification of the goods. It is encouraged that the summary declaration be made in computerized form.
The summary declaration is to be lodged by:
• the person who brought the goods into the customs territory of the Community or by any person who assumes responsibility for carriage of the goods following such entry; or
• the person in whose name the person referred to above acted.
Non-EU goods presented to customs must be assigned a customs-approved treatment or use authorized for such non-Community goods. Where goods are covered by a summary declaration, the formalities for them to be assigned a customs-approved treatment or use must be carried out:
• 45 days from the date on which the summary declaration is lodged in the case of goods carried by sea;
• 20 days from the date on which the summary declaration is lodged in the case of goods carried other than by sea.
Where circumstances so warrant, the customs authorities may set a shorter period or authorize an extension of the period.
The Modernized Customs Code (MCC) of the European Union is expected to be fully put into place by 2013 although there are concerns that this deadline may be missed due to the complexity of the project. Some facets of the MCC implementation have already been put into place such as Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) numbers The MCC will replace the existing Regulation 2913/92 and simplify various procedures such as introducing a paperless environment, centralized clearance, and more.
EU battery rules changed in September 2006 following the publication of the Directive on batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators (Directive 2006/66). This Directive replaces the original Battery Directive of 1991 (Directive 91/157). The updated Directive applies to all batteries and accumulators put on the EU market including automotive, industrial and portable batteries. It aims to protect the environment by restricting the sale of batteries and accumulators that contain mercury or cadmium (with an exemption for emergency and alarm systems, medical equipment and cordless power tools) and by promoting a high level of collection and recycling. The new Directive places the responsibility on producers to finance the costs associated with the collection, treatment, and recycling of used batteries and accumulators. It also includes provisions on the labeling of batteries and their removability from equipment.
REACH is a major reform of EU chemicals policy that was adopted in December 2006 and became national law in the 27 EU Member States in June 2007 (Regulation 1907/2006). Virtually every industrial sector, from automobiles to textiles, is affected by the new policy. REACH stands for the "Registration, Evaluation and Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals." Since June 1 2008, REACH requires chemicals produced or imported into the EU in volumes above 1 ton per year per to be registered with a central European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), including information on their properties, uses and safe ways of handling them. Chemicals pre-registered before December 1 2008, benefit from extended registration deadlines, from three to eleven years depending on the volume of the substance and its hazardous properties. U.S. companies without a presence in Europe cannot register directly and must have their chemicals registered through their importer or EU-based ‘Only Representative of non-EU manufacturer’.
U.S. exporters to the EU should carefully consider the REACH ‘Candidate List’ of substances of very high concern. Substances on that list are subject to communication requirements and may at a later stage require Authorization for the EU market.
WEEE & RoHS
EU rules on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), while not requiring specific customs or import paperwork, may entail a financial obligation for U.S. exporters. They require U.S. exporters to register the products with a national WEEE authority, or arrange for this to be done by a local partner. Similarly, related rules for EEE restricting the use of the hazardous substances (RoHS) lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, PBBs, and PBDEs, do not entail customs or importation paperwork. However, U.S. exporters may be asked by a European RoHS enforcement authority or by a customer to provide evidence of due diligence in compliance with the substance bans on a case-by-case basis. The WEEE and RoHS Directives are currently being revised to enlarge the scope and add substances to be banned in electrical and electronic equipment; the new rules could take effect as early as 2011.
Phytosanitary Certificates: Phytosanitary certificates are required for most fresh fruits, vegetables, and other plant materials.
Sanitary Certificates: For commodities composed of animal products or by-products, EU countries require that shipments be accompanied by a certificate issued by the competent authority of the exporting country. This applies regardless of whether the product is for human consumption, for pharmaceutical use, or strictly for non-human use (e.g., veterinary biologicals, animal feeds, fertilizers, research). Many of these certificates are uniform throughout the EU, but the harmonization process has not been finalized yet. During this transition period, certain Member State import requirements continue to apply. In addition to the legally required EU health certificates, a number of other certificates are used in international trade. These certificates, which may also be harmonized in EU legislation, certify origin for customs purposes and certain quality attributes.
Sanitary Certificates (Fisheries): As of February 17, 2009 NOAA will be the sole U.S. competent authority for the issuance of fishery and aquaculture certificates (including live bivalve mollusks). In 2008, the EU has published two new Regulations (1250 and 1251/2008) modifying seafood certificates and most specifically the animal health part of it. The last regulation also modifies the import requirements regarding crustaceans and aquaculture products, their eggs and gametes for further growth, fattening and relaying in the EU. American exporters can contact the U.S. Commercial Service at the U.S. Mission to the EU in order to receive the latest updates on exporting seafood to the EU via e-mail at: Stephane.Vrignaud@mail.doc.gov; phone: +322 508 2842; fax: +322 513 1228 and referring to information available at NOAA report.