BELGIUM

Customs and Excise regulations restrict the import of certain goods. To avoid problems with your journey, take the time to check allowances and read the advice here on counterfeit goods. If you are exporting goods bought in Belgium to a country outside the EU, you may be entitled to a VAT refund. Contact the Brussels Airport Customs Office on +32 2 753 29 20 between 7:00 AM and 10:00 PM. Information courtesy of the Belgian Administration of Customs and Excise

Are you bringing any unexpected bargains back from your holidays, a surprisingly cheap "designer" tee-shirt, a great watch or a "famous name" perfume? Why not - the chance is too good to miss, and it all seems harmless enough.

Well, there is a good reason why not: acting that way means you've fallen into the dangerous world of counterfeit. You probably thought people had copied that suspect tee-shirt because it would sell well and bring them a quick profit, but there is a far more serious side to it. Imagine, for example, unwittingly buying counterfeited medicines with no active components, or counterfeit brake blocks that won't stop your car crashing. You're putting your own life at risk, and the jobs of other EU citizens. What's more, you should remember that it's probably highly-organised criminals - Mafia groups - that benefit, not the friendly street trader you bought the goods from.

What counts as counterfeit?

In general, counterfeit goods are products bearing a brand or logo without the owner's authorisation or imitations and reproductions of trademarked objects. Signs to look out for are bargain prices, irregular points of sale, poor product quality and finishing. Clothing, perfumes, alcoholic beverages, cigars, caviar, foie gras, medicines, mechanical or electronic components, software and video games... All these items are regularly counterfeited, but the list is by no means complete. To put it briefly, just about anything you might be tempted to buy can be counterfeited.

The role of Customs

In accordance with the Community provision EC nr. 3295/94, Customs and Excise departments in member states are the first-line defence against forgery and piracy, practices which are both economically and criminally harmful. The terms of this provision allow for an outright ban on the import and export of imitation goods. Goods are therefore liable to inspection on both entering and leaving the European Community. Counterfeit or forged goods may be retained for a certain period and the Public Prosecutor's Office (or equivalent) will be informed immediately. Customs officers may intervene on the request of the brand-owner or holder or right away when the presented goods are without any doubt counterfeited or illegal.

Sanctions

Copyright piracy is punishable by a fine between 100 and 100,000 BEF; repeat offenders risk up to 2 years in prison, a fine of up to 100,000 BEF or both. Brand imitation is punishable by a prison sentence of 8 days to 6 months (1 year for recidivism) and a 5,200 to 400,000 BEF fine (800,000 BEF for recidivism).

A final word of advice

Keep out of trouble: do not bring any counterfeit goods back from your holidays!

 

We keep these regulations updated but because such regulations are subject to change without notice, we strongly recommend you to consult your local embassy or consulate before you make your move.
# 1 Directory of International Movers is not responsible for any loss resulting from the use of these customs information.

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