Firma A. Racke GmbH & Co. v. Hauptzollamt Mainz

Case C-162/96, ECR I-3655 (1998)

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Firma A. Racke GmbH & Co. v. Hauptzollamt Mainz

European Union Court of Justice
Case C-162/96, ECR I-3655 (1998)

Facts

Firma A. Racke GmbH & Co. (Racke) (plaintiff) imported wine from Serbia to Germany. Racke’s transactions received preferential tariff treatment under the European Economic Community/Yugoslavia Cooperation Agreement (the treaty). Yugoslavia then broke up into several smaller countries, and war ensued among some of those countries. As a result, the European Community (EC) council suspended the treaty’s trade concessions, asserting that a fundamental change in circumstances justified the suspension. Racke challenged the treaty’s suspension by suing Hauptzollamt Mainz (defendant), the customs office in Mainz, Germany, in Germany’s Bundesfinanzhof—Germany’s federal finance court. Racke argued that the treaty was binding and that Yugoslavia’s breakup did not change the economic issues outlined in the treaty. The Bundesfinanzhof referred the matter to the European Union Court of Justice (EUCJ) for clarification of whether international law applied to the suspension of the treaty.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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