Customs duties

Normal rates and notification requirements

Where are normal customs duty rates for your jurisdiction listed? Is there an exemption for low-value shipments, if so, at what level? Is there a binding tariff information system or similar in place? Are there prior notification requirements for imports?

Lists containing the applicable customs duty rates can be accessed in Turkish at the Ministry’s website (www.ticaret.gov.tr/ithalat/ithalat-rejimi). Additionally, binding tariff information or an advance ruling can be given by the Customs Undersecretariat upon a taxpayer’s written request. Importers may request binding tariff information concerning:

  • the determination of import or export taxes: calculation of export tax refunds in the scope of the agricultural policy and all payments given to import or export; and
  • usage of import, export or prior consent documents: binding tariff information is binding from the date the information is given and valid for six years from the date the information is given.

The exemptions from custom duty and exceptions are listed under article 167 of the Customs Law, whose fourth paragraph regulates the exemption for low-value shipments. As a general practice, the President of the Republic determines the exemptions, including the exemption for low-value shipments, in accordance with Turkey’s current trade policy. Currently, article 45 of the Decree on the Implementation of Certain Articles of the Customs Law (the Decree) stipulates that books or printed publications sent by post or fast cargo for personal use whose value does not exceed €150 for each shipment are exempt from customs duty. In addition, article 62 of the Decree sets out the following customs duty rates for goods and books or printed publications for personal use sent by post or fast cargo and for the goods referred to in article 59 of the Decision brought into Turkey by passengers:

  • 18 per cent for those consigned from the EU;
  • 20 per cent for those consigned from other countries;
  • 0 per cent for books or similar printed publications; and
  • 20 per cent in addition to the above-mentioned rates for the goods listed in Annex IV of the Special Consumption Tax Law no 4760.

However, books or printed publications that are sent to or procured by public institutions and organisations, libraries and museums, as well as organisations engaging in educational or scientific research, are exempt from customs duty. Turkey’s customs tariff system (Customs Tariff Statistics Positions) is based on the World Customs Organization’s Harmonized System and is updated and approved every year by the President of the Republic. The Customs Tariff Statistics Positions establishes 12-digit codes for the identification and classification of imported and exported products.

Special rates and preferential treatment

Where are special tariff rates, such as under free trade agreements or preferential tariffs, and countries that are given preference listed?

Reduced customs duty rates are published in the lists annexed to the Import Regime Decree and are provided for in the FTAs concluded by Turkey. Article 16 of Decision No. 1/95 of the EC-Turkey Association Council of 22 December 1995 on implementing the final phase of the Customs Union obliges Turkey to harmonise its tariffs so as to align with the EU’s preferential customs regime.

The EU’s regime is only partly applied, and thus certain countries that are covered by the EU’s GSP regime are not included in Turkey’s GSP regime. Those countries may be considered either as third countries or beneficiaries from special incentive arrangements. (See the Annex 4 to the Import Regime Decree for the list of GSP beneficiary countries: www.resmigazete.gov.tr/eskiler/2019/05/20190510-15.pdf.) The lists of applicable customs duty rates depending on the concerned country’s status (GSP or not) are provided in Turkish at the Ministry’s website (www.ticaret.gov.tr/ithalat/ithalat-rejimi).

Turkey currently benefits from the GSP regimes of Japan, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, New Zealand, Australia and Canada. The US recently expelled Turkey from its GSP regime.

How can GSP treatment for a product be obtained or removed?

GSP treatment for a product can be obtained from and removed by the Directorate General for Imports within the Ministry.

Pursuant to the Import Regime Decree, Turkey takes any necessary measure for countries, establishments and companies that disturb the balance of commerce and payments in Turkey’s commercial relations, breaching their obligations determined by international agreements or acting contrary to the principle of universality within the context of international agreements.

Is there a duty suspension regime in place? How can duty suspension be obtained?

Turkey has a tariff suspension system. The products that are free of customs duties are listed in Appendix V of the Import Regime Decree.

Producers located in Turkey can request tariff suspension for raw materials, semi-finished goods or components to be used in their production and that are not available either in the EU or in Turkey. Additionally, the amount of import duty saved must be at least €15,000.

All the requests are forwarded to the Economic Tariff Questions Group within the European Commission. Those requests are first evaluated by this group and the outcome is sent to the Commission. After the final decision by the Commission, suspension updates enter into force in the EU and Turkey simultaneously. Suspension decisions are valid for five years.

Challenge

Where can customs decisions be challenged in your jurisdiction? What are the procedures?

An application can be made either before the competent mediation commission within 30 days after the notification or before the Head Directorate within 15 days from the date of notification.

If the Head Directorate refuses the application, the relevant parties can appeal the decision before the administrative courts within 30 days from the date of notification of the concerned decision.