Restrictions and controls of food and consumer goods

The import of some goods is restricted or it has been fully prohibited by either EU or national regulations. Restrictions apply to, for example, the import of weapons, plants, foods, waste and medicines.

In Finland, Customs is the supervising authority in matters concerning import restrictions. However, other authorities manage restrictions and grant possible import permits or licenses; for instance the National Police Board (weapons), the Finnish Environment Institute SYKE (waste) or the Finnish Medicines Agency Fimea (medicines).

The Customs restriction manual features all of the import, export and transit restrictions in which Customs is designated as the supervising authority. The restriction manual consists of separate sections that are grouped according to goods that are subject to restrictions. In each section, the restrictions involved with particular goods are clarified with regard to different customs procedures.

Providing data on import restrictions in a customs declaration

Import restrictions are declared in the import declarations using codes. The codes can be

  • negation codes (i.e. the import goods are not covered by the restriction, even though they are classified with the same commodity code)
  • measure codes (the goods are subject to import restrictions) or
  • authorisation codes (providing the import authorisation).

If the import of a certain item is restricted, the importer must apply for an import permit or licence from the authority administering these restrictions. The number of the permit must be declared on the import declaration. Furthermore, the permit or licence must be presented when the goods are placed under a procedure, if the authority determines it, or if it is required by Customs. If necessary, the imported quantity is entered in the permit/licence in accordance with the conditions of the permit.

Import prohibitions and international sanctions

The UN and the EU have decided on certain regional import bans and sanctions that are valid until further notice on a case-by-case basis. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs is in charge of the enforcement, implementation and reporting of these decisions. Further information is available at the Export Control Unit of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ Department and the Ministry’s website.

Prior surveillance of iron and steel products as well as of aluminium products

The prior surveillance of iron and steel products and of aluminium products ended on 15 May 2020. From 16 May 2020, the release of these products for free circulation in the European Union is no longer subject to the presentation of a surveillance document.