For the purposes of import and export regulations, the Island is treated as part of the United Kingdom. Trade with the EU is governed by the European Commission's rules.

Import licenses are required for certain goods manufactured outside the EU such as Far Eastern textiles and apparel. Surveillance documents are issued for other goods (called "sensitive goods"), so that the quantities imported can be monitored and, if necessary, import licenses subsequently issued. In addition, arrangements exist to prevent the importation of certain goods such as textiles and electronic equipment into the Isle of Man and then into the United Kingdom through the quota arrangements of another EU member state; for instance,

Intra-Community licenses may be required before such goods may be transported from one member state to another.

Customs duties have been abolished for all Intra-Community trade. Duties are levied at the Community's common customs tariff (CCT) rates for imports from elsewhere. The EU has entered into numerous preferential trade agreements with other countries whereby import duties are considerably reduced (often by 40% to 60% of the full rates) or in some cases abolished (for example, most industrial goods manufactured in EFTA countries). In some sectors, imports from outside the EU are subject to quotas; when these are exhausted, further imports during that calendar year are liable to full CCT rates. Additional controls apply to armaments, drugs, livestock, vegetables, and fruit.

Export licenses are required for only a few items such as armaments, works of art, livestock, and some agricultural goods. Many countries give preferential treatment to imports from EU member states.

Excise duties are charged on a limited range of goods, including wines, spirits, and tobacco, irrespective of origin.


As mentioned in 2.03 the Island is the first low tax state in Europe to have a Freeport. Traders may store goods for indefinite periods in the Freeport without incurring duties. The benefit of this is clear especially for high value goods.

There are no ownership restrictions on entities wishing to establish themselves in the Freeport and the cost of becoming established may be reduced by the generous package of grants or loans available from the Government. Leases of up to 125 years are available.

The information given is not exhaustive and is based on conditions existing at 5 May 1999. Readers are advised to consult with professionals, such as independent accountants, legal counsel, and investment bankers, before taking any formal action. Deloitte & Touche would be pleased to discuss specific problems.