EORI, the absolutely necessary number for imports

EORI, the absolutely necessary number for imports (and exports)

Are you thinking of importing products from China or other Asian countries for the first time and have been told that you need an EORI number? We tell you all about this requirement that is needed for both international purchases and sales!

The EORI is the Economic Operator Registration and Identification Number (EORI). It is a unique code throughout the European Union and it is essential when carrying out international trade operations with other countries (whether or not they are imports or exports and whether or not they are within the EU).

Making a quick parallelism, we could say that the EORI is like the ID number of international trade. For that reason, when our business has to go through Customs, we need to be able to provide our EORI to the relevant authorities.

The obligation to have the EORI code has been in force since July 2009, as stated in the European Commission Regulation (EC) No. 312/2009. Companies that import or export must apply for this code in the country where they carry out their first international transaction, which in most cases coincides with their country of origin.

It should be noted that the type of transport does not affect the need to have this number. Regardless of whether we use ship or plane to transport our goods, we must be in possession of the EORI.

VIES and EORI, related but different concepts.

Among the doubts that arise about the EORI, one of the most common is whether this code is the same as the VIES and whether it is necessary to have both. The answer is no; they are not the same. But let’s see what each one corresponds to.

The VIES is an information exchange system related to VAT (value-added tax) between European Union member countries. Its acronym corresponds to the English acronym of “VAT Information Exchange System” and, in fact, it is a census that allows to know if a company (or professional) complies with the legislation to operate within the EU and that allows it, among other things, to be exempt from paying VAT in its intra-Community transactions.

Checking whether a trader is registered in the VIES is very easy, as several websites allow you to find out in a matter of seconds. However, the VIES system data is not updated in real time, so if we are about to negotiate with a new operator who is not included in this census, the best thing to do is to contact them and inform them of the situation, since it is possible that their information is not yet up to date.

Likewise, if finally, the verification gives a negative result, we must take into account that the invoices that we exchange with this company must be made up with VAT, since not being registered as an economic agent makes us not exempt from VAT payment.

Don’t let importing become a headache!

As sourcing experts, we often see how companies that decide to import for the first time have certain problems related to everything that must be prepared and registered to import from China or other Asian countries.

Although experience is key, it must be taken into account that foreign trade is not easy, especially at the beginning, and acronyms and theoretical concepts (many of which we have talked about in this blog), can make the experience of buying and selling internationally difficult.

It should also be noted that some companies decide to start importing products and, in some cases, problems arrive in the final stages, such as transportation or customs. These are setbacks that occur, for example, because of not having applied for the EORI or not having taken into account the border taxes to be paid. Can these problems be solved? Of course, but anything that causes a pause in the import process leads to loss of time and money.

In this context, hiring the services of a company specialized in sourcing is usually the best option. In addition, the flexibility of companies like S3 Group makes it possible for the client to choose the stages of the import process in which they need help (although we can of course also offer a comprehensive sourcing service) and thus ensure that their international transactions can be completed successfully.