Guernsey's economy is manly based on financial services such as banking, fund management and insurance. The financial sector accounts for about 37% of the island's GDP. Light tax and death duties make Guernsey a popular offshore finance centre for private equity funds. The island also hosts the International Stock Exchange. Other important economic sectors include tourism, manufacturing and horticulture (tomatoes and cut flowers). The country's government aims at being progressive and innovative in new products, providing at the same time a high quality of service. The industry regulator is the Guernsey Financial Services Commission. Data centers are a growing part of the country's economy and contribute to its diversification.
Guernsey is home to Specsavers, a locally-founded optical retail company which operates in six countries. The island is seeking to develop and grow new economic sectors such as e-commerce and cleantech projects. The primary exports are agricultural and fisheries products.
The economy of Guernsey has evolved significantly over the past 50 years and continues to develop. The finance industry is currently the main source of income and employment. Ship-building, granite and tomatoes export are among the most important economic activities of the country.
The services sector accounts for about 87% of the Guernsey's GDP; industry contributes with 10% to the island's gross domestic product and agriculture is responsible for only 3% of the GDP. The main agricultural products include tomatoes, greenhouse flowers, sweet peppers, eggplant, fruit and cattle.
Guernsey is a small island with limited natural resources and as a result all manufactured goods and other commodities are imported. The major imports include coal, gasoline, oil, machinery, equipment and food. The most important import partners are UK and other EU countries.
Guernsey Customs and Excise Department
Address: New Jetty, White Rock, St Peter Port, Guernsey, GY1 2LL
Tel: 01481 741431
Guernsey is a jurisdiction within the Bailiwick of Guernsey, a Crown dependency. It is situated in the English Channel off the coast of Normandy. Guernsey's jurisdiction lies within the Common Travel Area of the British Isles. The country is not a member of the European Union, but has a special relationship with it, being treated as part of the European Community with access to the single market for the purposes of free trade in goods.
Guernsey is a part of the geographical grouping known as the Channel Islands. Exports of goods from the Channel Islands to the EU and from the EU to the Channel Islands are treated as intra-EU trade. Through being a part of the customs union, the Channel Islands apply the Common External Tariff (CET) to imports of goods from third countries. The Channel Islands are not within the EU common system of VAT so trade in goods is not subject to the EU Principal VAT Directive. For those areas covered by Protocol 3, EU legislation is directly applicable and the Channel Islands are regarded as part of the UK Member State.
In accordance with the European Community Customs Code and the Implementing Regulation, Customs Import Duty is liable on all goods arriving in the Customs territory of the Community. The rates of duty are set by the EC and are the same in all countries of the EC.
The rates vary according to the commodity and some may be as high as 22% while for other goods the rate may be free. Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs produce a Tariff that is based on the Combined Nomenclature (CN) of the EC and in Guernsey we use the Tariff to assess all Import Duty charges. The CN is based on the Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding System used worldwide.
The Channel Islands are not within the fiscal territory of the EU and as such the Community Regulations that concern excise duties do not apply. Excise duty is classed as an internal tax and we set our own in accordance with local government requirements.
There are two types of duty chargeable within the Bailiwick of Guernsey. These are Excise Duty and Import Duty. Excise duty is chargeable on tobacco goods, alcoholic goods and some fuels.
Import duty could be liable on any goods imported from outside of the European Community. The duty is calculated on the value of the goods and the freight charged from the originating country to the first port of call within the European Community. Please click the link on this page to see the current rates of duty.
There is free movement of plants and plant material within the EU into Guernsey subject to a number of exceptions:
- the importation of Ash trees (including seed and logs) is prohibited due to the threat from the fungal disease Ash Dieback.
- the importation of host plants of the bacterial disease Fireblight is strictly regulated. Only officially authorised nurseries are permitted to send host plants to Fireblight Protected Zones such as Guernsey.
- import restrictions apply to a range of tree and woody shrub species originating from mainland EU countries.
Guernsey has EU Protected Zone Status for a number of quarantine pests and diseases that can infect these plants.
The commercial importation of plants is strictly controlled. Most commercial imports must be accompanied by an EU Plant Passport to indicated that the place of production has been officially inspected and found to be free from quarantine pests and diseases.
All direct imports of plants and plant material from outside the European Union into Guernsey and the rest of the EU are strictly controlled.
The importation of certain plants from outside the EU is prohibited due to the unacceptable plant health risk that they pose. These include a number of tree species as well as potatoes and other members of potato family such as tomato and petunia.
All plants and most seed originating from outside of the EU must be accompanied by a phytosanitary (plant health) certificate issued by the country of export. This is a declaration that the plant material complies with the EU import requirements.
Restricted goods include:
- all unlicensed substances which fall under the import/export control laws classed as emerging drugs of concern - firearms, explosives and ammunition - which includes fireworks, gas canisters and electric shock devices such as stun guns
- animals and birds
- endangered species - whether dead or alive and things such as fur, ivory and reptile leather or goods made from them
- uncooked meats and poultry
- certain plants, trees, shrubs, potatoes fruit and vegetables
- certain radio transmitters
- caravans and dormobiles
- rough diamonds (e.g. uncut and unpolished)
- other goods listed under the Import and export control legislation (inc. dual use military goods, dangerous and precursor chemicals)
- goods and trade subject to EU or UN sanctions