Customs Considerations When Exporting to Sweden

Mufaddal K.

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Manufacturers looking to export their products abroad need to consider various factors when evaluating export markets.  One of those factors is the customs clearance infrastructure and processes within a given country.  This article presents an overview of the time and cost it takes for a local partner to clear imported products through customs in Sweden.  This overview, along with a regional comparison, should help you better qualify Sweden as an export market for your products.



Country Overview


Sweden is located within the Europe & Central Asia region.  It has a population of roughly 10 million people as of 2018.  85% of the population lives in urban areas.  The World Bank categorizes it as a high income country with a GDP per capita (PPP) of USD$51300 per person.



Regional Comparison


The "World Bank's Doing Business project" publishes an evaluation of countries based on their efficiency of cross border trade.  When assessing import efficiency within a country it primarily reviews four factors:


1.  The time for border compliance (imports):  Compliance time associated with the country's customs regulations, inspections and handling that takes place at its port or border.  Assumes a US$50,000 imported shipment of auto parts weighing 15 tons for calculation purposes.


2.  The cost of border compliance (imports):  Compliance cost associated with the country's customs regulations, inspections and handling that takes place at its port or border.  Assumes a US$50,000 imported shipment of auto parts weighing 15 tons for calculation purposes.


3.  The time for document compliance (imports):  The time for obtaining documents, preparing documents, processing documents, presenting documents and submitting documents.  Assumes a US$50,000 imported shipment of auto parts weighing 15 tons for calculation purposes.


4.  The cost of document compliance (imports):  The cost for obtaining documents, preparing documents, processing documents, presenting documents and submitting documents.  Assumes a US$50,000 imported shipment of auto parts weighing 15 tons for calculation purposes.



When evaluating border compliance time and cost amongst major regional economies, Sweden ranks 1st regionally in terms of border compliance time and 1st regionally in terms of border compliance cost.  A US$50,000 imported shipment of auto parts would take 0 hours to clear border customs and cost roughly US$0.  However this World Bank calculation assumes trade with the economy from which it imports the largest value of auto parts.  In Sweden's case this is Germany.  Because both countries are within the Eurozone, border compliance cost is negligible due to favorable intra-EU trade laws.  One can assume border compliance time and cost would be higher for trading partners outside the EU.


Country    Border Compliance Time (Hours)    Border Compliance Cost (USD)   
Germany 0 $0
France 0 $0
Spain 0 $0
Netherlands 0 $0
Belgium 0 $0
Italy 0 $0
Austria 0 $0
Czech Republic 0 $0
Poland 0 $0
Sweden 0 $0
Denmark 0 $0
Slovak Republic 0 $0
Hungary 0 $0
Portugal 0 $0
Romania 0 $0
Blugaria 1 $0
Belarus 1 $0
United Kingdom 3 $0
Switzerland 1 $201
Ireland 24 $253
Russia 39 $588
Turkey 41 $655


When evaluating document compliance time and cost amongst major regional economies, Sweden ranks 1st regionally in terms of document compliance time and 1st regionally in terms of document compliance cost.  A US$50,000 imported shipment of auto parts would take 1 hour in Sweden to have documents prepared & cleared and would cost roughly US$0.  However this World Bank calculation assumes trade with the economy from which it imports the largest value of auto parts.  In Sweden's case this is Germany.  Because both countries are within the Eurozone, document compliance cost is negligible due to favorable intra-EU trade laws.  One can assume document compliance time and cost would be higher for trading partners outside the EU.


Country    Document Compliance Time (Hours)    Document Compliance Cost (USD)   
Germany 1 $0
France 1 $0
Spain 1 $0
Netherlands 1 $0
Belgium 1 $0
Italy 1 $0
Austria 1 $0
Czech Republic 1 $0
Poland 1 $0
Sweden 1 $0
Denmark 1 $0
Slovak Republic 1 $0
Hungary 1 $0
Portugal 1 $0
Romania 1 $0
Bulgaria 1 $0
United Kingdom 2 $0
Belarus 4 $0
Ireland 1 $75
Switzerland 2 $75
Turkey 11 $142
Russia 43 $153


Detail for Border Compliance Time and Cost


Border compliance time and cost are calculated as a function of three driving factors: the time/cost related to working with customs authorities, the time/cost related to working with other agencies and finally border handling time/cost.  As border compliance costs are negligible due to the World Bank's calculation using intra-EU trade, analyzing the detail is not meaningful as seen below.


Stockholm Overview:


Detail Type    Time (Hours)    Cost (USD)   
Working with Custom Authorities 0 $0
Working with Other Agencies 0 $0
Border Handling 0 $0


Detail of Document Compliance Time and Cost


Document compliance time and cost is a function of the various documents required by the country when importing goods.  For Stockholm, the documents required when importing goods from abroad include a CMR waybill, Commercial invoice, Packing list, Intrastat.



Transportation Costs


Another factor that influences import trade efficiency is transportation costs.  For shipments bound to Stockholm, the port where goods would most likely land would be Sweden-Denmark border crossing.  When calculating transportation cost for the US$50,000 auto parts shipment, the World Bank calculates that the shipment that would land at Sweden-Denmark border crossing would need to be transported 615 km with an average travel time of 10 hours.  This brings the delivery transportation cost for the shipment to roughly US$660.



Infrastructure Digitization


Greater use of technology within the customs clearance process helps improve efficiency and lower time and cost associated with customs clearance.  Today many countries use digital systems to streamline the customs clearance process.  Many of these customs systems are known as EDI or Electronic Data Interchange systems.  More recently however, there has been a push to develop even more integrated customs clearance systems known as SW or single window systems.  These systems provide greater integration within a given country and between multiple countries when managing customs clearance.



Stockholm does have an EDI system known as Swedish Customs Information System.  It also has an SW system in progress known as Maritime Single Window (Reportal).  More information about this new system can be found at http://www.sjofartsverket.se/en/Single-Window/.