Tariffs and regulations

Tariffs and duty rates are constantly revised and are subject to change without notice.

Austrade strongly recommends you reconfirm these prior to selling to Greece.

Tariffs and non-tariff barriers

Tariff

Tariffs are based on the Harmonised System, with duties levied on imports from non-European Union (EU) on an ad valorem cost, insurance and freight (CIF) basis. Import duty is five to seven per cent for most products when charged. Most raw materials for manufacturing input can be imported without duties, or with very minimal duties only.

Preferential tariffs and EU trade barriers are also applied.

Greece has signed an Information Technology (IT) Accord under the WTO to eliminate tariffs on a range of IT products, including:

  • Computers (including accessories and components)
  • Telecom equipment (including fax machines, modems, pagers, etc.)
  • Semiconductors
  • Semiconductor manufacturing equipment
  • Software (ie. discs and CD-ROMs)
  • Scientific instruments

The competent authority on Greek tariffs is:

D 17th Customs Tariffs Division of the Ministry of Finance
40 Amalias Avenue
Athens, Greece
Tel: 01 324 5103
Fax: 01 324 5408

For tariff-related enquiries contact the following:

D 18th Division of Customs Economic Systems
Tel: 01 324 5529
Fax: 01 323 5593

D 19th Division of Customs Procedures
Tel: 01 324 3183
Fax: 01 324 2132

Division of Special Consumption Taxes
Tel: 01 324 5426
Fax: 01 324 5460

Free trade zones

Greece has three free trade zones, located at the Piraeus, Thessaloniki, and Heraklion port areas. Goods of foreign origin may be brought into these zones without payment of customs duties or other taxes and remain free of all duties and taxes if subsequently trans-shipped or re-exported.

Documents relating to the receipt, storage, or transfer of goods within the zones are free from stamp taxes.

Handling operations are carried out according to EU regulations 2504/88 and 2562/90.

Transit goods may be held in the zones free of bond. The zones may be used for re-packing, sorting and re-labelling operations.

Assembly and manufacture of goods are carried out on a small scale in the Thessaloniki free zone.

Storage time is unlimited, as long as warehouse charges are promptly paid every six months.

Non-tariff barriers

Greece, which is a World Trade Organization (WTO) member, has both European Union (EU) mandated and Greek government-initiated trade barriers. EU regulations, directives and legislation apply.

Import licences are required for some products, including a number that have restricted licensing. Commodity imports usually do not require a licence, but most other products do. Special licences are required for imports from low-cost countries and a number of services – such as legal and business services – also have nationality restrictions. Special import licences are required for goods, including textiles, iron and steel products, that come from low-cost countries. These commodities are under surveillance according to EU quotas. Seek advice from importers on the quota system for these goods.

Surveillance licensing and/or quota restrictions placed on goods by the EU are imposed by Greece. Certificates of origin are usually required for these goods.

Most agricultural product imports are covered by the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), under which many items (including cereal grains, rice, milk and milk products, beef and veal, olive oil and sugar) are subject to variable levies and a complicated protection system.

ISO 9000 is accepted and used by many local firms, and is a requirement for many government procurement contracts.

Greece maintains nationality restrictions on a number of professional and business services, including legal advice. Restrictions on legal advice do not apply to EU citizens.

Greece has not been responsive to applications for the introduction of genetically modified seeds for field tests despite support for such tests by Greek farmers.

Product certification, labelling and packaging

Labelling and marking

Products imported in Greece must have EU certification and marking.

Labelling and marking requirements are in accord with EU requirements. Labels must be in Greek, which may be attached to products between the time they are cleared by customs and they are offered for sale. If this presents a problem, Australian manufacturers should consult with their Greek importers.

Special certificates

Depending on the nature of the goods being shipped, various special documents (eg. sanitary, health, phytosanitary) will be necessary. Customs clearance may be delayed or prevented due to phytosanitary problems.

Packaging

Packaging varies according to the product.

Methods of quoting and payment

Greek banks can finance imports and make payments in foreign exchange without approval from the Bank of Greece. Banks require one original invoice from the foreign supplier in order to carry out a transaction.

The import payment process is similar to those used in the rest of Europe, with cash against documents, sight drafts, time drafts and irrevocable letters of credit applying.

Greek businesses often seek cash against documents or extended credit terms of 30 to 90 days or longer from their suppliers.

The importer is liable for payment of customs duties, VAT and any other charges at the time of clearing the goods through customs.

Documentary requirements

Pro-forma invoice

When required, the pro-forma invoice must include: the unit price of the product, the total value of the product, the agent's commission, and any discounts.

Commercial invoice

A minimum of six copies are required. Accurate and detailed invoices facilitate clearance.

Invoices should contain:

  • A clear description of goods
  • The gross and net weights
  • The EU Nimexe Code Number of the HS for each product with the corresponding price
  • The unit price of commodity
  • The total value of commodity
  • The agent's commission
  • Any discounts
  • The FOB value and itemised expenses to CIF

Invoices must also bear the original signature of the seller, be certified by a local chamber of commerce (the chamber may require an additional notarised file copy of the invoice) and be enclosed in air cargo shipments.

Invoices covering shipments on credit terms must also show the prices that would be charged if settlement were in cash documents. Consular intervention may be requested by importers or, if there are concerns about the shipment, by Greek Customs.

Bill of lading/airway bill

A minimum of two copies is required.

Exact amounts claimed as freight and forwarding expenses should be shown in the bill of lading or the shipping documents and be accompanied by official certificates from transport companies showing the amounts claimed. Mail and parcel post shipments require postal documentation in place of bills of lading.

Air cargo shipments require air waybills in place of bills of lading.

Note: The Greek flag carrier, Olympic, had a monopoly on providing ground services to other airlines. As of 1 January 1998 all major airports in the EU had to offer at least two ground handling options. However, Olympic remains the only ground handling option other than self-handling.

Packing list

Not compulsory, but facilitates clearance through customs.

Certificate of origin

Certificates of origin for a variety of goods (including chinaware, toys, textiles and steel) may be requested by Greek Customs. Certificates of origin are required for goods where surveillance licensing and/or quota restrictions apply. Importers should instruct their suppliers when certificates of origin are issued in these circumstances.

Certificates of origin must be certified by a locally recognised chamber of commerce or the nearest Greek Consular Office. Consular intervention may be requested by importers or, if there are concerns about the shipment, by Greek Customs.

A declaration made by manufacturing firms on their export invoices stating the goods to be exported were manufactured in its establishment may be accepted instead of a separate certificate of origin. In this case, a local chamber of commerce or other authority must certify that the signature is authentic.

Certificates of origin for imports from stocks held in transit at a foreign port may be issued by the customs authorities located in that port, certifying where the goods originated. The certificate must be authenticated by a Greek Consulate. Greek Consulates may issue the certificate if documents certifying the original country of production are provided.

Public health requirements

Certificates issued by appropriate health authorities in the country of origin are required for animals stating that the animals are not afflicted with any infective disease.

Health certificates are required for animal products, including poultry, meat, fish and dairy products.

Phytosanitary certificates are required for plants and plant products, including vegetables and seeds.

Pharmaceutical imports require a special approval granted by the National Pharmaceutical Organisation. New-to-market food products require similar approval by the General State Laboratory in Greece.

Products complying with the Food Code do not require a special permit to be imported and marketed in Greece, with the exception of seeds, meat and poultry products, nuts, and dairy products.

Insurance

Normal commercial practice.

Weights and measures

The metric system.