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UZK: Definition of exporter changed

Customs law was updated with the delegated Regulation (EU) No 2018/1036. In particular, the definition of the exporter under customs law was changed. Exporting companies should familiarize themselves with the changes and check whether their export declarations still comply with the current legal situation. After all, the correct exporter must also be named in the export declaration. The declaration of a false exporter can be punished in Germany with up to € 30,000.00.

The new concept of the exporter

The new regime is intended to impose less restrictive requirements on exporters, thus giving the industry greater flexibility.

In simplified terms, commercial exports are now considered as exporters:

  • an EU resident who has the power to determine the movement of goods out of the EU;
  • if the first variant does not apply, a person established in the EU who is a party to the contract of movement of goods from the EU

According to the recitals of the amending Regulation, the choice of the exporter should thus be left to the business partners, provided that the exporter is established in the Union.

Previous term of exporter

Until now, the requirements for exporters in the commercial sector have been stricter.

Under the old rule, the exporter was the person established in the Union who, at the time of acceptance of the declaration, was the contracting party of the consignee in the third country and was authorised to determine the movement of the goods out of the EU.

Where these conditions were not fulfilled, the exporter was the person established in the Union who was empowered to determine the movement of the goods out of the EU.

In particular, the new regime removes the fundamental requirement that the exporter is the contractual partner of the consignee in the third country.

Incorrect export declarations can be punished

Exporting companies, whether or not they submit an export declaration, should address the changes in detail without delay. In certain constellations, the obligations in the export procedure may have shifted. The consequence of this could be that another person would have to file an export declaration or that another person would have to be named as exporter in an export declaration.

Under German foreign trade law, incorrect export declarations are punishable by the main customs offices with a fine of up to € 30,000.00. Since the violations are usually only detected within the framework of a foreign trade audit, violations are often punished in several cases at once.

In addition to fines, administrative sanctions, such as the revocation of customs authorizations or negative participant assessments, are also threatening.

Our customs lawyers check who is considered the exporter in your specific situation. Tell us now your personal request.

For companies: 15 minutes free initial consultation+49 40 369615-0or send an e-mail


Attorney Dr. Tristan Wegner

Ihr Ansprechpartner

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