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Import / Export

Trade Barriers and Tariffs

Spanish tariffs for EU countries have been zero since January 1, 1993, while those third-country goods, including those from the United States and Japan, receive the EU's Common External Tariff. Since 1988, Spain has used the Harmonized System of tariff nomenclature for applying duties. U.S. goods are taxed according to the standard EU duty rate.

Spain has adhered to the GATT code since 1963. In December, 1994, Spain ratified adherence to the Marrakesh accord, which concluded the Uruguay Round of international trade negotiations and established the World Trade Organization.

For agricultural products, import documentation and tariffs are exactly the same as for other EU countries. While a few agricultural commodities are duty free or subject to minimal duties (soybeans, sunflower seed, corn by-product, lumber) the great majority of agricultural products (those covered by the CAP) and food products are subject to high duties or variable import levies which significantly restrict access into the Spanish market.

In 1993, during the Uruguay Round negotiations, the EU committed itself to implementing a permanent basis the compensation it had been providing to the United States since 1987 for Spain's accession to the EU. The EU had owed the United States compensation due to Spain's breach of its GATT tariff binding on imports of corn and sorghum when Spain joined the Common Agricultural Policy. The compensation came in the form of minimum import commitments for corn and sorghum, as well as tariff reductions on about 25 products.

Non-tariff barriers have been identified in the audiovisual and intellectual property areas. Spain has a system of screen quotas and "dubbing licenses" which increase costs and limit access of U.S. film distributors. Piracy of audiovisual products (principally through unregulated "community video" cable television networks) and of computer software are of concern here.