In a bid to combat potential fraud related to the import of orthopedic products, Tullverket, the Swedish Customs, has initiated a comprehensive investigation into the industry. While the import of orthopedic products is exempt from tariffs, suspicions have arisen that certain companies may be strategically importing other goods under the guise of orthopedic products to evade tariff payments.
According to Swedish Customs, Tullverket, the import of orthopedic products in Sweden exceeded one billion Swedish kronor (SEK) in 2022, marking a substantial increase over the past three years.
Tullverket estimates that the state may have lost out on several million kronor due to importers inaccurately declaring goods as orthopedic products.
Understanding Orthopedic Products
To qualify as an orthopedic product under import regulations, a product must not have a general purpose. It should be capable of completely preventing specific movements in the affected body part and be adaptable to a patient’s specific disability.
While Tullverket is acknowledging the complexity of import regulations for such products, they nevertheless expect companies to possess the necessary knowledge to adhere to these rules.
Examples of products that do not fall under the category of orthopedic products, according to the Swedish Customs Tariff, include arm slings, belts, and other textile articles whose supportive effects depend solely on the elasticity of the material. Such items are instead classified as ready-made textile goods and are subject to tariffs of up to 12 percent.
A Chance to Review Company Procedures
Tullverket plans to commence the investigation into orthopedic product imports this winter.
The investigation will begin by examining imports from a select number of companies in the industry. If suspicions are confirmed, the scope of the investigation may expand.
By providing advance notice of the scrutiny, companies have the opportunity to review and amend their procedures, rectifying any potential errors. Self-correction by companies before Tullverket’s post-inspection could exempt them from additional tariff charges.
Know Your Products and Your Customs Data
Having a solid understanding of your products and their tariff numbers are important for any business – in the orthopedic industry as well as in any other.
Our best advice: Develop a solid process for internal controls and self-audits – stay ahead and be audit-ready!
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