Customs regulations vary all over the world with some countries facing far tougher duties than others. There are many reasons for this, whether religion, government or some sort of hazard.
Australia is acclaimed for its strict quarantine laws. Any imports into the country often require advanced documentation, permits and will then proceed to quarantine to inspect the condition of goods. This is particularly true of any food, foliage, animals or anything which can easily come in contact with an outdoor environment; animals, insects and plants can all carry diseases or a new predator can be introduced to and destroy ecosystems. Similarly though, Australia can be extremely tough on what is allowed to be exported from the country. Endangered species, such as black coral or ivory products, are not allowed to leave the country, and neither are firearms, diamonds not involved in the Kimberley Process and Ozone depleting substances.
Both the French and the German border controls are very strict about the import or export of counterfeit goods, especially where leatherwork or other textile goods are involved. Germany is also very strict on any imports of media featuring ‘unconstitutional’ content: this includes and media inciting racial hatred, the glorification of war, a call to violence and anything that glorifies the Nazi Regime and the Holocaust. Symbols attributed to Nazi Germany are also forbidden, such as the swastika, unless a part of a textbook or documentary.
There are also strict import and export regulations and restrictions on a number of embargoed countries. Without strict and specific licenses, goods can be neither imported nor exported to these countries. Currently this includes Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria. All of these countries have embargos as they have all had restrictions on trade placed over them by the UN due to their international conduct or national state of affairs.
Duty regulations are by no means regular. For any shipper, the duty regulations of both the country of export and the country of import need to be thoroughly researched. Without proper documentation or adhering to the correct standards, goods are likely to be seized and possibly unreturned and destroyed. This is a priority for all shipping freight.