5 min article

International trading policy

Listing items for sale internationally is a great way to help increase your sales, but it's important to make sure your items aren't prohibited on our global sites.

Members are responsible for checking that their transactions are lawful in the buyer's country, as well as in their own.

Frequently Asked Questions


How can I stop people bidding on my listing if the item is prohibited in their country?

When creating a listing, you have several options for limiting the countries where the item will appear. For example, you can set up business policies about shipping, remove international shipping, specify locations you don't ship to, or set buyer requirements. Please see our full policy guidelines below for more details on how to do this.

Is there anything I need to know when buying from an overseas seller?

If you're buying from a seller overseas, you should make sure the items comply with import laws in your country.

Read our full policy

International trading policy overview

Listing items globally can be a fun and rewarding experience and is one of the unique benefits of using eBay. At the same time, it's important that all listings and transactions comply with applicable laws. Members are responsible for making sure their transactions are lawful in both the country of the seller and the country of the buyer.

We strongly encourage all members to learn about the laws in their own country as well as the countries where they plan to do business. If you're shipping worldwide, please be aware that your item may not appear in the search results in countries where the item is not allowed.

You can exclude countries you don't want to ship to by selecting buyer requirements.

Activity on eBay is required to follow this policy, the eBay User Agreement and all applicable laws, as well as respect the rights of third parties. If it doesn’t, eBay may take action consistent with applicable laws and the eBay User Agreement, and may even be legally required to do so. Such actions may include, as an example only: Removing the listing or other content, issuing a warning, restricting activity or account suspension.

Some examples

Here are some examples of items that may be legally prohibited or restricted, or that violate our policies:

Additional information for sellers

  • Items must comply with export laws: Make sure any items you're selling can be lawfully shipped outside of the country where you live. The export of certain items may require special licenses, or may be banned altogether
  • Items must comply with import laws: When selling an item, make sure that the item can lawfully be imported into the buyer's country before sending it. Each country has different laws that limit the types of goods that can be imported into their country. For example, the buyer's country might have restrictions on foods, plants, clothing, luggage, or even books that might result in the seizure and destruction of the imported item. We recommend that you discuss possible import problems with your potential buyers, and do research to avoid any problems
  • Reasons to check applicable laws before you export goods:
    • Goods may be intercepted by Customs officials. There may also be fines or other liabilities associated with goods impounded or seized by Customs officials
    • You may be sued or prosecuted. Such liability may exist vis-à-vis the owners of trademarks, copyrights, or other rights (for example, if a European trademark owner were to attempt to assert rights in connection with the importation into Europe of legitimately manufactured goods that were intended for another market)
    • Visit the World Customs Organization - opens in new window or tab for more information about customs regulations around the world. You may also want to contact a specific country's embassy in Canada for guidance
  • High-value and volume transactions: If you plan to do substantial business with customers in other countries, or if you're dealing in higher dollar or highly regulated items, be sure to do careful research, and hire an expert if necessary to make sure that all transactions comply with all applicable laws. There's often paperwork that you must fill out when completing these transactions

The Canadian government has a number of resources to promote international trade and to help businesses of all sizes familiarize themselves with export regulations, and shipping companies offer special services to businesses that regularly ship goods overseas. For more information, visit:

Additional information for buyers

  • Items less than $20.00: As a general rule, if you purchase items on eBay valued less than $20.00, you shouldn't have any trouble importing them. While some items are generally not allowed for import (like narcotics, tainted food, or child pornography) or restricted (like alcohol, tobacco, or firearms), these items are usually banned on eBay anyway. There are a few exceptions, such as plants, food, automobiles, and certain cultural items, where an item might require licenses or special permits
  • Items more than $20.00: If you import items that cost more than $20.00 for personal use, you might have to pay a duty or tax on the item, even if the item is used. The amount of the duty, if any, depends on the type of the item and its value. Some items can be imported without paying any duty at all
  • Items for commercial use: If you import goods for a commercial purpose, you may have to deal with quotas, duty, and paperwork. Commercial goods (goods intended for resale) may have special entry requirements, and it's up to you to educate yourself on the laws to ensure you're in compliance
  • The Canadian government maintains a website on importing and exporting - opens in new window or tab to help educate buyers about the mechanics of importing, including potential duty rates

Why does eBay have this policy?

We encourage all sellers and buyers to comply with all governmental laws and regulations, both in Canada and abroad. Since the import and export of items are highly regulated by the Canadian government or may cause harm to eBay or our members, members should educate themselves on the laws governing the import and export of items prior to listing those items.

Important: This information is not intended to be legal advice. If you have any doubts about whether an item can be sold on eBay, we encourage you to consult an attorney.

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