Category Archives: Customs

The Customs Union, characterised by an absence of internal borders, is an essential foundation of the European Union (EU) which applies to all trade of goods (Article 28 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). The customs duties on imports and exports, as well as charges having equivalent effect between Member States, are forbidden. At external borders, the Common Customs Tariff, along with the Integrated Tariff (TARIC), is applied to goods from third countries. Goods moving freely within the Union comply with the rules of the internal market and with certain provisions of the Common Commercial Policy. In addition, instruments such as the Community Customs Code ensure that Member States’ customs authorities apply the standards uniformly.
The Customs Union, initiated by the Treaty of Rome in 1957, was established on 1 July 1968. Its mechanisms have essentially evolved to adapt to new technologies and to ensure greater security, particularly with regard to protection against counterfeiting and piracy.

Customs Cooperation

Customs Cooperation

Overview

The contribution of taxation and customs policies to the Lisbon StrategyArchives
Strategy for the evolution of the Customs Union
Strategy for the Customs Union
Customs 2013 (2008-2013)
Action programme: Customs 2007 (2003-2007)Archives
The role of customs in the integrated management of external borders
Enhancing police and customs cooperation in the European Union
Customs response to latest trends in counterfeiting and piracy
European anti-counterfeiting and anti-piracy plan
Money laundering: prevention through customs cooperation

Cooperation between customs administrations

Convention on the use of information technology for customs purposes (CIS)
CIS system
A simple and paperless environment for customs and trade
A paperless environment for Customs and Trade
Convention on mutual assistance and cooperation between customs administrations (Naples II)

Community statistics

External trade: statistics relating to non-member countries

Customs Controls and Formalities

Customs Controls and Formalities

Customs Controls and Formalities Contents

Community customs code

Modernised Community Customs Code
Provisions implementing the Community Customs Code
Transport under the TIR or ATA procedure
Combined Nomenclature, Common Customs Tariff and Integrated Tariff
Combined Nomenclature, Common Customs Tariff and Integrated Tariff of the European Communities (Taric)

Customs checks and exemptions at internal and external borders

Elimination of controls at frontiers in road and inland waterway transport
Elimination of controls and formalities applicable to baggage
Abolition of internal frontier controls for means of transport registered in a non-Community country
Exemptions for travellers
EU customs relief system
Community transit: action plan (1997)Archives

Pan-Euro-Mediterranean system of cumulation of origin

Pan-Euro-Mediterranean system of cumulation of origin

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Pan-Euro-Mediterranean system of cumulation of origin

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Customs

Pan-Euro-Mediterranean system of cumulation of origin

Proposal

Proposal for a Council Decision on the signature of the regional convention on pan-Euro-Mediterranean preferential rules of origin [COM(2010) 168 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Proposal for a Council Decision on the conclusion of the regional convention on pan-Euro-Mediterranean preferential rules of origin [COM(2010) 172 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The draft convention lays down rules allowing the origin of goods traded under free trade agreements in the pan-Euro-Mediterranean zone to be determined. It is necessary to ascertain the origin of goods in order to apply tariff preferences, i.e. reducing or removing customs duties or taxes of equivalent effect.

The contracting parties to this Convention are the following:

  • the European Union;
  • the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) States, which are Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein;
  • signatories to the Barcelona declaration, namely Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, and Palestine;
  • the Faroe Islands;
  • the participants in the European Union Stabilization and Association Process.

Originating products

Goods are considered as products originating in the pan-Euro-Mediterranean cumulation zone if they are:

  • wholly obtained in the territory of a Contracting Party to the Convention;
  • composed of materials originating in countries that are not signatories to the Convention (non-originating materials), but which have been sufficiently processed in the territory of a Contracting Party to the Convention. Annex II of Appendix I to the Convention presents the criteria for sufficient processing for each product category;
  • imported from the European Economic Area (EEA) and exported to another Contracting Party to the Convention.

Pan-Euro-Mediterranean cumulation of origin

If three Contracting Parties to the Convention are bound by a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), they may apply a system of diagonal cumulation of origin. Products that have obtained originating status in one of the countries in the pan-euro-Mediterranean cumulation zone may be added to products originating from any other country in the zone without losing their originating status within that zone.

Cumulation of origin is subject to certain conditions:

  • the existence of a preferential trade agreement in accordance with the GATT;
  • compliance with the rules of the Convention;
  • publication of a notice in the Official Journal of the EU (C series) on compliance with the implementing conditions for cumulation.

Furthermore, a total cumulation of origin may be applied within the EEA (i.e. EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) and for trade between the EU, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. As regards the EEA, products traded between these countries shall be considered to have originated from the same territory.

Products originating in third countries

In order to manufacture * their products, the Contracting Parties to the Convention may use non-originating materials, which shall generally be subject to customs duties.

Proof of origin

Exporters must be able to present movement certificates EUR.1 or EUR-MED to the customs authorities of the importing countries. Such certificates shall be issued by the customs authorities of the exporting country.

Approved exporters may also issue an invoice declaration or an invoice declaration EUR-MED.

If goods are in transit in a free zone and they are handled for reasons other than those designed to prevent their deterioration, a new movement certificate must be issued.

Joint Committee

The management and implementation of the Convention shall be overseen by a Committee composed of representatives of all of the Contracting Parties.

Key terms
  • Manufacture: any kind of working or processing, including assembly or specific operations.

References And Procedure

Proposal Official Journal Procedure

COM(2010) 168

Non-legislative NLE(2010) 0092

COM(2010) 172

Non-legislative NLE(2010) 0093

A paperless environment for Customs and Trade

A paperless environment for Customs and Trade

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about A paperless environment for Customs and Trade

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Customs

A paperless environment for Customs and Trade

Document or Iniciative

Decision No 70/2008/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 15 January 2008 on a paperless environment for customs and trade [Official Journal L 23/21 of 26.1.2008].

Summary

This decision is intended to promote electronic customs in the EC.

Objectives

Following the Commission’s 2003 communication on creating a simple and paperless environment for customs and trade, the Commission is proposing to set up secure, integrated, interoperable and accessible electronic customs systems.

Customs systems supply pan-European e-government services which facilitate imports and exports, by reducing costs and coordinating procedures. They also provide for the exchange of data between the customs administrations of the Member States, traders and the Commission. Supply chain logistics and customs processes are thereby improved and facilitated.

Measures

If the objectives set out in the decision are to be met, it will be necessary to:

  • harmonise the exchange of information;
  • review customs processes with a view to optimising their efficiency and effectiveness;
  • offer traders a wide range of electronic customs services.

The Commission’s role

The Commission will coordinate:

  • the setting-up, testing, operation, and maintenance of the Community components of the computerised systems;
  • the systems and services set out in this proposal with other projects concerning e-government services;
  • the parallel development of national and Community elements;
  • automatic customs services and single window services at a Community level;
  • the completion of the tasks allocated to it under the multiannual strategic plan;
  • training needs.

The Commission will monitor progress with regard to the Customs Policy Group. In addition, the Commission will initiate regular consultations with the economic stakeholders concerned.

Role of the Member States

The Member States will ensure the following:

  • the setting-up, testing, operation, and maintenance of the national components of the computerised systems;
  • the coordination of the systems and services provided for in this decision with other relevant projects relating to e-government at national level;
  • the completion of the tasks allocated to them under the multiannual strategic plan;
  • the promotion and implementation at national level of electronic customs services and single window services;
  • training for officials.

Timetable for automated customs services

The decision contains a list of systems and databases and sets out the timetable for their implementation. It makes provision for single window services within six years.

Financing

The action programme for customs in the Community (Customs 2007) covers the sharing of financing for the IT projects, based on their Community or national character. Cost-sharing models shall be developed by the Member States.

BACKGROUND

The implementing measures have been updated several times. They were last updated by Regulation (EC) No 450/2008, which provides for the use of information and communication technologies by the customs administrations.

This decision is connected with the initiative on the interoperable delivery of pan-European e-government services to public administrations, businesses and citizens (IDABC); it also follows directly on from the e-Europe programme and the e-Government programme (government on-line services).

References

Act Entry into force Transposition Deadline for Member States Official Journal
Decision 70/2008/EC 15.2.2008 OJ L 23, 26.1.2008

Related Acts

Regulation (EC) No 450/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2008 laying down the Community Customs Code (Modernised Customs Code) [Official Journal L 145, 4.6.2008].

Convention on a common transit procedure

Convention on a common transit procedure

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Convention on a common transit procedure

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Customs

Convention on a common transit procedure

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 87/415/EEC of 15 June 1987 concerning the conclusion of a Convention between the European Community, the Republic of Austria, the Republic of Finland, the Republic of Iceland, the Kingdom of Norway, the Kingdom of Sweden and the Swiss Confederation on a common transit procedure [See amending acts].

Summary

Customs transit is a customs procedure that facilitates the transport of goods:

  • between two points in the customs territory;
  • between two points in the customs territory, via a different customs territory;
  • between two or more different customs territories.

The system allows temporary suspension of the tariffs, taxes and commercial policy measures applicable to imports. It allows customs clearance formalities to be carried out at destination rather than at the point of entry into the customs territory.

For the EC, customs transit enables goods to move under the transit procedure from their point of entry into the EC to their place of customs clearance, where the customs and national taxation obligations are dealt with.

Common transit

The Convention on a common transit procedure was set up in 1987. After the 1995 and 2004 enlargements of the EU, the contracting parties are now as follows:

  • the EC;
  • Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Romania (‘ EFTA countries ‘ for the Convention).

Amending provisions on the common transit procedure are adopted by the EC-EFTA Joint Committee.

The common transit procedure is not compulsory. The TIR procedure or the export procedure may be used instead.

The common transit procedure closely resembles the Community transit procedure in its rules and procedures, which are almost identical. The Community transit procedure is based on the Community Customs Code and its Implementing provisions.

T1 and T2 procedures

A T1 * or T2 * procedure is used for goods moving between the EC and EFTA countries, according to their customs status.

The 2001 reforms

In 2001, major changes were made to the Convention on the common transit procedure. These are intended to make the transit procedures more resistant to fraud during the transit operations, in order to:

  • protect the financial interests of the contracting parties more effectively;
  • simplify the administrative formalities for traders, easing the movement of goods.
Key terms used in the act
  • The T1 procedure concerns the movement of non-EU goods when customs duties or other import taxes are involved.
  • The T2 procedure concerns the movement of EU goods.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 87/415/EEC 20.05.1987 OJ L 226 of 13.08.1987
Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EEC) No 1811/88 30.06.1988 OJ L 162 of 29.06.1988
Regulation (EEC) No 2011/89 14.07.1989 OJ L 200 of 13.07.1989
Regulation (EEC) No 664/91 22.03.1991 OJ L 075 of 21.03.1991
Decision No 1/91 EEC/EFTA 01.01.1993 OJ L 402 of 31.12.1992
Decision No 2/92 EEC/EFTA 01.01.1993 OJ L 402 of 31.12.1992
Decision No 1/93 EEC/EFTA 01.01.1994 OJ L 012 of 15.01.1994
Decision No 2/93 EEC/EFTA 01.01.1994 OJ L 012 of 15.01.1994
Decision No 1/94 EEC/EFTA 01.01.1995 OJ L 371 of 31.12.1994
Decision No 2/94 EEC/EFTA 01.01.1995 OJ L 371 of 31.12.1994
Decision No 3/94 EEC/EFTA 01.04.1995 OJ L 371 of 31.12.1994
Decision No 4/94 EEC/EFTA 01.01.1995 OJ L 371 of 31.12.1994
Decision No 3/95 EC/EFTA 01.01.1996 OJ L 117 of 14.05.1996
Decision No 1/96 EC/EFTA 05.07.1996 OJ L 226 of 07.09.1996
Decision No 2/96 EC/EFTA 05.07.1996 OJ L 226 of 07.09.1996
Decision No 3/96 EC/EFTA 01.03.1997 OJ L 043 of 14.02.1997
Decision No 4/96 EC/EFTA 01.01.1997 OJ L 043 of 14.02.1997
Decision No 2/97 EC/EFTA 01.10.1997 OJ L 238 of 29.08.1997
Decision No 3/97 EC/EFTA 01.10.1997 OJ L 238 of 29.08.1997
Decision No 4/97 EC/EFTA 01.02.1998 OJ L 005 of 09.01.1998
Decision No 1/1999 EC/EFTA 31.03.1999 OJ L 065 of 12.03.1999
Decision No 2/99 EC/EFTA 31.03.1999 OJ L 119 of 07.05.1999
Decision No 1/2000 EC/EFTA 20.12.2000 OJ L 009 of 12.01.2001
Decision No 1/2001 EC/EFTA 07.06.2001 OJ L 165 of 21.06.2001
Decision No 2/2002 EC/EFTA 27.11.2002 OJ L 004 of 09.01.2003
Decision No 1/2005 EC/EFTA 17.06.2005 OJ L 189 of 21.07.2005
Decision No 2/2005 EC/EFTA 17.06.2005 OJ L 189 of 21.07.2005
Decision No 3/2005 EC/EFTA 17.06.2005 OJ L 189 of 21.07.2005
Decision No 4/2005 EC/EFTA 15.08.2005 OJ L 225 of 31.08.2005
Decision No 5/2005 EC/EFTA 04.10.2005 OJ L 269 of 14.10.2005
Decision No 6/2005 EC/EFTA 04.10.2005 OJ L 324 of 10.12.2005
Decision No 1/2006 EC/EFTA 25.10.2006 OJ L 357 of 15.12.2006
Decision No 1/2007 EC/EFTA 1.1.2007 OJ L 145 of 7.6.2007

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 20 March 2003, “Implementation of the New Computerised Transit System (NCTS)” [COM(2003) 125 final – not published in the Official Journal].

In 2000, the new computerised transit system (NCTS) was launched under the Community’s Customs 2000 programme. The system concerns the computerisation of Community transit procedures. It serves as a tool to manage and control the transit system. It is intended to:

  • increase the efficiency and effectiveness of transit procedures;
  • improve both the prevention and the detection of fraud;
  • accelerate and render secure transactions carried out under a transit procedure.

EFTA countries that are party to the Convention on a common transit procedure are also committed to implementing the NCTS.

Council Resolution of 21 June 1999 on the reform of customs transit systems [OJ C 193 of 09.07.1999].

Communication of 30 April 1997 to the European Parliament and the Council “Action plan for transit in Europe – A new customs policy”, COM(97) 188 final and OJ C 176 of 10.6.1997].

The aim of this Communication is to reform customs transit systems.

Council Resolution of 23 November 1995 on the computerisation of customs transit systems [OJ C 327 of 07.12.1995].

Community transit: action plan

Community transit: action plan

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Community transit: action plan

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Customs

Community transit: action plan (1997)

1) Objective

To conduct a thoroughgoing, balanced and realistic reform of customs transit systems in the face of a rise in fraud.

2) Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council: Action plan for transit in Europe – a new customs policy [COM(97) 188 final – Official Journal C 176 of 10.06.1997]

3) Summary

Customs transit is one of the cornerstones of European integration and an issue of vital interest to European businesses. It enables goods to move much more freely and makes customs clearance formalities much more accessible by providing for the temporary suspension of duties and taxes normally applied to imported goods moving inside the Community (Community transit), or between the Community and its EFTA and Visegrad partner countries (Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary) under the Common Transit Convention, or among the 64 States that are (in 2003) contracting parties to the TIR Convention.

Access to the common transit system is a key component in the pre-accession strategies for Central and East European countries defined following the Europe (Association) Agreements and the Commission’s White Paper on the subject. Four Visegrad countries have already joined the system, which gives them a practical framework for preparing their future accession to the European Union. Only a reformed and computerised customs transit system can provide that assurance.

In recent years transit fraud has become a considerable drain on the Community and national budgets and has led to illegal trafficking on the European market in untaxed and totally uncontrolled goods, jeopardising not only the competitiveness of European businesses but the health and safety of our citizens.

The swift and irresistible growth of trade in recent years, particularly with Central and Eastern Europe, has drawn criminals’ attention to the profits to be made from a system which offers ease of access not matched by prevention and control measures.

The revenue lost to the Community and national budgets has been estimated by the Commission, on the basis of Member States’ reports of fraud cases to do with transit, at some ECU 1.27 billion over the seven years 1990 to 1996, including ECU 485 million in conventional own resources and 784 million in national taxes.

Fraud on this scale is not simply a fiscal problem; it causes economic damage and may even pose health threats: directly or indirectly it interferes with honest traders’ operations and the facilities they are offered, and by supplying the market illicitly it not only competes unfairly with legal products, but may jeopardise consumer health and safety.

All parties agree that the present transit systems are plagued by problems:

  • failures by both administrators and users to comply with existing rules and obligations;
  • the lack of concerted action by and coordination of the many administrations and offices involved and poor exploitation of existing arrangements for cooperation;
  • the existence of different, ill-fitting systems, arising from the different legal frameworks and decision-making systems, which make the whole both complex and inflexible;
  • failure to adapt the rules and procedures to allow them to deal swiftly, reliably and flexibly with large numbers of highly varied transit operations;
  • failure to use available data, combined with a lack of complete and reliable information on the real economic and administrative impact of transit and on the operations themselves.

These weaknesses in the transit system and the various malfunctions to which they gave rise have led to mounting customs and fiscal debts.

The action plan hinges on a number of key concepts:

  • a simple and coherent system, which can be easily understood and applied by operators and customs officials;
  • a system run using up-to-date procedures and tools for cooperation, relying on computerisation and electronic data interchange,
  • a system that can cope with a wide range of operations and situations,
  • a system that incorporates coordinated fraud prevention and coverage of the sums actually at risk in its procedures;
  • a system managed and evaluated with the aid of a proper reporting system, for both general and operational purposes.

This set of objectives must of course be translated into various initiatives applied not only to transit but to general customs policy and practice.

Bearing in mind that a single customs code would appear to imply a single customs service, it is important that the 15 customs administrations function as if they were one, as proposed in the Customs 2000 programme.

The Community needs a criminal policy to help it establish proof, have cases pursued in a coordinated fashion, bring serious fraud cases, particularly those involving criminal organisations, before the criminal courts, and impose effective, proportionate and deterrent penalties on the organisers. The Commission’s role should be to inform, assist, coordinate and push for action, so as to fulfil the duty given to it by Article 280 of the EC Treaty.

This would require the Member States to ratify the Convention on the protection of the European Communities’ financial interests, and the relevant protocols on combating corruption of national civil servants and judicial cooperation in criminal cases. The policy to tackle fraud should enable an appropriate Europe-wide legal framework for the protection of European financial interests to be established in the longer term.

In the short term it is vital to boost detection, improve the exchange of information and act on it more effectively, by putting into practice new legal instruments such as Council Regulation (EC) No 515/97 on mutual assistance between the administrative authorities, Council Regulation (Euratom, EC) No 2185/96 concerning on-the-spot checks and inspections carried out by the Commission, Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2988/95 on the protection of the European Communities’ financial interests, which sets out administrative measures and penalties for irregularities with regard to Community law, and the Convention on the customs information system (CIS) on using computer technology for customs purposes.

The main objectives of the action plan are as follows:

  • boosting cooperation between customs administrations;
  • checking that the rules are applied correctly and uniformly;
  • establishing a partnership between customs and operators to respond to transit users’ needs;
  • integrating European customs systems;
  • ensuring that international transit systems are compatible;
  • introducing a new tool which will be the key to transit reform: the new computerised transit system (NCTS).

The action plan contains a series of measures for achieving these objectives:

  • management of the transit procedure to restore confidence and ensure that the facilities granted to operators and the constraints imposed on them correspond to the degree of risk attached to their operations in practice;
  • supervision of transit operations, with all players in the procedures accepting their respective responsibilities; for customs administrations, that means using and developing administrative cooperation arrangements to the full;
  • fraud detection, law enforcement and coordinated checks, relying on more effective security measures and a common risk management policy, targeting of checks, the setting-up of Community-wide mechanisms to detect fraud and irregularities, and the development of a legal framework conducive to stepping up law enforcement;
  • sound financial management of transit, which demands appropriate guarantees for the sums at stake, tailored to the operator’s reliability and the risks of the operation, as well as effective mechanisms for recovering any sums ultimately owing, in the first instance from the persons who cause the customs or tax debts to be incurred;
  • uniform application of the rules, which entails developing practical tools for training and the implementation of legislation and controls, conducting effective checks to ensure that the rules are applied, and setting up a system of administrative customs penalties;
  • effective monitoring and continuous evaluation of the transit systems and their reform.

The Commission’s action plan paves the way for a thoroughgoing reform of the transit systems and establishes the terms of reference for future initiatives.

4) Implementing Measures

5) Follow-Up Work

Council Resolution of 23 November 1995 on the computerisation of customs transit systems [Official Journal C327 of 07.12.1995].

In this resolution the Council gives absolute priority to computerising the transit systems.

Council Resolution of 21.6.1999 on the reform of the customs transit systems [Official Journal C193 of 09.07.1999].

In this resolution the Council calls on the Commission to continue reform of the transit systems.

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament: Implementation of the New Computerised Transit System (NCTS) [COM(2003) 125 – Not published in the Official Journal].

This Communication gives an overview of progress with implementing the new computerised transit system (NCTS) in the Member States of the EU, the contracting parties to the Common Transit Convention (Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia) and the accession candidate countries.

Exemptions for travellers

Exemptions for travellers

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Exemptions for travellers

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Customs

Exemptions for travellers

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 2007/74/EC of 20 December 2007 on the exemption from value added tax and excise duty of goods imported by persons travelling from third countries.

Summary

This Directive establishes the maximum amount of money and the maximum quantities of alcohol and/or tobacco that persons travelling from non-member countries may import into the European Union (EU) without paying customs duty, VAT or excise duty. The goods in question must not be being imported for commercial purposes.

Scope

The system applies to goods imported in the personal luggage of persons travelling from countries or territories where the harmonised rules on VAT and excise duty do not apply.

The exemptions are applied on the basis of monetary thresholds or quantitative limits for goods that travellers from third countries are allowed to import tax-free into the EU.

Monetary thresholds

The Commission is proposing that the Member States exempt imports of goods with a value of not more than EUR 300 per person (EUR 430 for people travelling by air or sea) from VAT and excise duty.

Member States may limit the monetary threshold for travellers under 15 years of age, but a minimum EUR 150 applies regardless of the type of transport used.

Member States may choose not to levy VAT or excise duty on imports of goods by a traveller when the amount of the tax to be levied is EUR 10 or below. For the purposes of applying the monetary thresholds, the value of an individual item may not be split up. In addition, Member States may lower the monetary thresholds and the quantitative limits for travellers whose place of residence is in a border area, frontier workers and the crews of means of transport used in international travel.

Quantitative limits for tobacco

Member States are to exempt imports of tobacco products subject to the following maximum or minimum quantitative limits:

  • 200 cigarettes or 40 cigarettes;
  • 100 cigarillos or 20 cigarillos;
  • 50 cigars or 10 cigars;
  • 250 g smoking tobacco or 50 g smoking tobacco.

Member States may chose to distinguish between air travellers and other travellers by not applying the lower quantitative limits.

Quantitative limits for alcohol

Member States are to exempt imports of types of alcohol and alcoholic beverage, subject to the following quantitative limits:

  • a total of 1 litre of alcohol and alcoholic beverages of an alcoholic strength exceeding 22% vol. or undenatured ethyl alcohol of 80% vol. and over;
  • a total of 2 litres of alcohol and alcoholic beverages of an alcoholic strength not exceeding 22% vol.

Exemptions for tobacco and alcohol do not apply to travellers under 17 years of age.

In 2012, and every four years thereafter, the European Commission is to send the Council a report on the implementation of the Directive.

Background

As from 1 December 2008, this Directive repeals Directive 69/169/EEC.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 2007/74/EC 29.12.2007
Applicable as of 1.12.2008
1.12.2008 OJ L 346 of 29.12.2007

Convention on the use of information technology for customs purposes

Convention on the use of information technology for customs purposes

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Convention on the use of information technology for customs purposes

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Customs

Convention on the use of information technology for customs purposes (CIS)

Document or Iniciative

Council Act 95/C316/02 of 26 July 1995 drawing up the Convention on the use of information technology for customs purposes.

Summary

The Member State’s customs authorities will set up and maintain a joint automated information system for customs purposes, hereinafter referred to as the “Customs Information System” (CIS).

The Customs Information System will consist of a central database facility accessible via terminals in each Member State. It will contain only the data, including personal data, necessary to achieve its aim, in the following categories:

  • commodities;
  • means of transport;
  • businesses;
  • persons;
  • fraud trends;
  • availability of expertise.

The Member States will determine the items to be included in the Customs Information System relating to each of the three last categories to the extent that this is necessary to achieve the aim of the system. No items of personal data will be included in the last two categories.
Personal data will be confined to:

  • name, maiden name, forenames and alias;
  • date and place of birth;
  • nationality;
  • sex;
  • any particular objective and permanent physical characteristics;
  • reason for inclusion of data;
  • suggested action;
  • warning code indicating any history of being armed, violent or escaping.

Under no circumstances may personal data listed in Article 6, first sentence, of the Council of Europe Convention for the Protection of Individuals with Regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data signed at Strasbourg on 28 January 1981 (the Strasbourg Convention) be included.

Direct access to data included in the Customs Information System is reserved exclusively for the national authorities designated by each Member State. These national authorities will be customs administrations, but may also include other authorities competent under the laws, regulations and procedures of the Member State in question to act in order to achieve the aim of the Convention.

Member States may only use data from the Customs Information System to achieve the Convention’s aim; however, they may use it for administrative or other purposes with the prior authorisation of and subject to any conditions imposed by the Member State which entered it in the system. Such use must be in accordance with the laws, regulations and procedures of the Member State which seeks to use it and must take into account Principle 5.5 of Recommendation R (87) 15 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe dated 17 September 1987.

Inclusion of data in the Customs Information System will be governed by the laws, regulations and procedures of the supplying Member State except where the Convention lays down more stringent provisions.

Each Member State will designate a competent customs administration to have national responsibility for the Customs Information System.

That administration will be responsible for the correct operation of the System within the Member State and will take the measures necessary to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Convention.

Only the supplying Member State will have the right to amend, supplement, correct or delete data which it has included in the Customs Information System.

Data entered in the Customs Information System will be kept only for the time necessary to achieve the purpose for which it was entered. The need for its retention will be reviewed at least once a year by the supplying Member State.

Each Member State intending to receive personal data from the Customs Information System or include it in the system must adopt national legislation sufficient to achieve a level of protection of personal data at least equivalent to that resulting from the principles of the 1981 Strasbourg Convention by the time the CIS Convention enters into force.

The rights of persons with regard to personal data in the Customs Information System, in particular their right of access, will be exercised in accordance with the laws, regulations and procedures of the Member States in which such rights are invoked.

A committee consisting of representatives from the Member State’s customs administrations will be set up. It will adopt its rules of procedure unanimously.

Each Member State will designate a national supervisory authority or authorities responsible for personal data protection to carry out independent supervision of such data entered in the Customs Information System.

A Joint Supervisory Authority will be set up. It will comprise two representatives from each Member State drawn from the respective independent national supervisory authority or authorities.

All administrative measures necessary to maintain security will be taken either by the Member States’ authorities or by the committee referred to in point 12, respectively for the terminals installed in the Member States and for the Customs Information System and the terminals located on the same premises as the System.

Each Member State will be responsible for the accuracy, currency and lawfulness of data it has entered in the Customs Information System. It will also be responsible for complying with Article 5 of the 1981 Strasbourg Convention.

The CIS convention will be adopted by Member States in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements.

Member States will notify the Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union (EU) of the completion of their constitutional requirements for adopting the Convention.

The Secretary-General of the Council of the EU will act as depository for the convention.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Council Act, 95/C 316/02 After ratification OJ C 316 of 27.11.1995

Related Acts

Agreement on provisional application between certain Member States of the European Union of the Convention drawn up on the basis of Article K.3 of the Treaty on European Union on the use of information technology for customs purposes [Official Journal C 316 of 27.11.1995]

Council Decision of 17 October 2000 establishing a secretariat for the joint supervisory data-protection bodies set up by the Convention on the Establishment of a European Police Office (Europol Convention), the Convention on the Use of Information Technology for Customs Purposes and the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement on the gradual abolition of checks at the common borders (Schengen Convention)[Official Journal L 271 of 24.10.2000]

Council Decision of 17 October 2000 establishing a secretariat for the joint supervisory data-protection bodies set up by the Convention on the Use of Information Technology for Customs Purposes [Official Journal L 271 of 24.10.2000]

Protocol drawn up on the basis of Article K.3 of the Treaty on European Union, on the interpretation, by way of preliminary rulings, by the Court of Justice of the European Communities of the Convention on the use of information technology for customs purposes – Declaration concerning the simultaneous adoption of the Convention on the use of information technology for customs purposes and the Protocol on the interpretation by way of preliminary rulings, by the Court of Justice of the European Communities, of that Convention – Declaration made pursuant to Article 2 [Official Journal C 151 of 20.05.1997]

On 29 November 1996 the Council adopted an act drawing up, on the basis of Article K.3 (now Article 31) of the Treaty of the European Union, the Protocol on the interpretation, by way of preliminary rulings, by the Court of Justice to the European Communities of the Convention on the use of information technology for customs purposes.

Council Act of 12 March 1999 drawing up, on the basis of Article K.3 of the Treaty on European Union, the Protocol on the scope of the laundering of proceeds in the Convention on the use of information technology for customs purposes and the inclusion of the registration number of the means of transport in the Convention [Official Journal C 91 of 31.03.1999]

On 12 March 1999 the Council adopted a second Protocol on the scope of the laundering of proceeds in the Convention on the use of information technology for customs purposes and the inclusion of the registration number of the means of transport in the Convention.
The aim is to widen the concept of the laundering of proceeds and add the data category “registration number of the means of transport” to the Customs Information System.

Protocol on the customs files identification database: Council act of 8 May 2003 drawing up a Protocol amending, as regards the creation of a customs files identification database, the Convention on the use of information technology for customs purposes [Official Journal C 139 of 13.06.2003]

Implementing the conclusions of the Tampere European Council of 15 and 16 October 1999 and in accordance with the 2001 strategy for the customs union, this protocol provides for the creation of a special database called the “customs files identification database”, which will enable Member State authorities responsible for customs investigations to exchange information on investigations carried out on persons or businesses in other Member States.

Convention on mutual assistance and cooperation between customs administrations

Convention on mutual assistance and cooperation between customs administrations

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Convention on mutual assistance and cooperation between customs administrations

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Customs

Convention on mutual assistance and cooperation between customs administrations (Naples II)

To regulate particular forms of cooperation involving cross-border actions for the prevention, investigation and prosecution of certain infringements of both the national legislation of Member States and Community customs regulations.

2) Document or Iniciative

Council Act 98/C 24/01 of 18 December 1997 drawing up, on the basis of Article K3 of the Treaty on European Union, the Convention on mutual assistance and cooperation between customs administrations [Official Journal C 24 of 23.01.1998].

3) Summary

The Member States of the European Union will provide each other with mutual assistance and will cooperate with one another through their customs administrations, with a view to (Art.1):

  • preventing and detecting infringements of national customs provisions, and
  • prosecuting and punishing infringements of Community and national customs provisions.

The Convention does not affect the provisions applicable regarding mutual assistance in criminal matters between judicial authorities, or more favourable provisions in bilateral or multilateral agreements between Member States governing customs cooperation.

The customs authorities will apply the Convention within the limits of the powers conferred upon them under national provisions (Art. 2).

Definitions (Art. 4)

  • national customs provisions;
  • Community customs provisions;
  • infringements;
  • mutual assistance;
  • applicant authority;
  • requested authority;
  • customs administrations;
  • personal data;
  • cross-border cooperation.

Member States will appoint in their customs authorities a central unit (coordinating unit). It will be responsible for receiving all applications for mutual assistance under the Convention and for coordinating mutual assistance (Art. 5).

Member States may make agreements between themselves on the exchange of liaison officers for limited or unlimited periods, and on mutually-agreed conditions (Art. 6).

In order to provide the assistance required under this Agreement, the requested authority or the competent authority which it has addressed will proceed as though it were acting on its own account or at the request of another authority in its own Member State.

The requested authority will extend this assistance to all circumstances of the infringement which have any recognisable bearing on the subject of the request for assistance without this requiring any additional request (Art. 8).

Requests for assistance must always be made in writing and include the following information:

  • the applicant authority making the request;
  • the measure requested;
  • the object of, and the reason for, the request;
  • the laws, rules and other legal provisions involved;
  • indications as exact and comprehensive as possible on the natural or legal persons being the target of the investigations;
  • a summary of the relevant facts (Art. 9).

At the request of the applicant authority, the requested authority will communicate to it all information which may enable it to prevent, detect and prosecute infringements (Art. 10).

The requested authority will at the request of the applicant authority carry out, or arrange to have carried out, appropriate enquiries concerning operations which constitute, or appear to the applicant authority to constitute, infringements (Art. 12).

The competent authorities of each Member State will, as laid down in the Convention, subject to any limitations imposed by national law, provide assistance to the competent authorities of the other Member States without prior request (Art. 15).

Customs administrations will engage in cross-border cooperation in accordance with the Convention. They will provide each other with the necessary assistance in terms of staff and organisational support. Requests for cooperation will, as a rule, take the form of requests for assistance in accordance with paragraph 7 (Art. 19).

Cross-border cooperation may be permitted for the prevention, investigation and prosecution of infringements in the following cases (Art. 19):

  • illicit traffic in drugs and psychotropic substances (external aspects, internal aspects), weapons, munitions, explosive materials, cultural goods, dangerous and toxic waste, nuclear material or materials or equipment intended for the manufacture of atomic, biological and/or chemical weapons (prohibited goods);
  • trade in substances listed in Tables I and II of the United Nations Convention against illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and intended for the illegal manufacture of drugs (precursor substances);
  • illegal cross-border commercial trade in taxable goods to evade tax or to obtain unauthorised State payments in connection with the import or export of goods, where the extent of the trade and the related risk to taxes and subsidies is such that the potential financial cost to the budget of the European Communities or the Member States is considerable (combating fraud);
  • any other trade in goods prohibited by Community or national rules.

Officers of the customs administration of one of the Member States pursuing in their country an individual observed in the act of committing one of the infringements referred to in Article 19(2) which could give rise to extradition, or participating in such an infringement, will be authorised to continue pursuit in the territory of another Member State without prior authorisation where, given the particular urgency of the situation, it was not possible to notify the competent authorities of the other Member State prior to entry into that territory or where these authorities have been unable to reach the scene in time to take the pursuit.

The pursuing officers will, not later than when they cross the border, contact the competent authorities of the Member State in whose territory the pursuit is to take place. The pursuit will cease as soon as the Member State in whose territory the pursuit is taking place so requests.

The pursuit will be carried out in accordance with the procedures defined in the Convention (Art. 20).

Officers of the customs administration of one of the Member States who are keeping under observation in their country persons in respect of whom there are serious grounds for believing that they are involved in one of the infringements referred to in paragraph 11 (Article 19(2) of the Convention) will be authorised to continue their observation in the territory of another Member State where the latter has authorised cross-border observation in response to a request for assistance which has previously been submitted. Conditions may be attached to the authorisation (Art. 21).

Each Member State will undertake to ensure that, at the request of another Member State, controlled deliveries may be permitted on its territory in the framework of criminal investigations into extraditable offences (Art. 22).

By mutual agreement, the authorities of several Member States may set up a joint special investigation team based in a Member State and comprising officers with the relevant specialisations who will have the following tasks (Art. 24):

  • implementation of difficult and demanding investigations;
  • coordination of joint activities.

Joint special investigation teams will operate under the general conditions laid down in the Convention (Art. 24).

When information is exchanged, the customs administrations will take into account in each specific case the requirements for the protection of personal data. They will respect the relevant provisions of the Convention of the Council of Europe of 28 January 1981 for the protection of individuals with regard to automatic processing of personal data and the provisions of the Convention concerning the use of information technology for customs purposes (Art. 25).

The Court of Justice of the European Communities will have jurisdiction:

  • to rule on any dispute between Member States regarding the interpretation or the application of the Convention whenever it has proved impossible for the dispute to be settled by the Council within six months of its being referred to the Council by one of its members;
  • to rule on any dispute between Member States and the Commission concerning the interpretation or application of the Convention which it has proved impossible to settle through negotiation;
  • to give preliminary rulings on the interpretation of the Convention (Art. 26).

The customs administrations will take account, in each specific case of exchange of information, of the requirements of investigation secrecy (Art. 27).

The Convention will apply to the territories of the Member States as referred to in Article 3(1) of Council Regulation (EEC) No 2913/92 of 12 October 1992 establishing the Community Customs Code and Regulation (EC) No 82/97 amending Regulation (EEC) 2913/92 (Art. 31).

The Convention will be open to accession by any State that becomes a Member State of the European Union.

The Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union will act as depository of the Convention (Art. 35).

The Convention will enter into force 90 days after the notification of the completion of the constitutional procedures for its adoption by all the Member States of the European Union. Any Member State may declare that this Convention will apply to its relations with Member States that have made the same declaration (Art. 32). From its entry into force, the Naples II Convention repeals the Naples Convention of 1967.

4) Implementing Measures

To date, the following Member States have ratified the Naples II Convention: Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom have already decided to implement the Convention in their relations with Member States that have made the same declaration.

5) Follow-Up Work

Explanatory Report on the Convention drawn up on the basis of Article K.3 of the Treaty on European Union, on mutual assistance and cooperation between customs administrations [Official Journal C 189 of 17.06.1998].

On 28 May 1998 the Council approved an Explanatory Report on the Convention drawn up with comment on every article.

Abolition of internal frontier controls for means of transport registered in a non-Community country

Abolition of internal frontier controls for means of transport registered in a non-Community country

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Abolition of internal frontier controls for means of transport registered in a non-Community country

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Customs

Abolition of internal frontier controls for means of transport registered in a non-Community country

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EEC) No 3912/92 of 17 December 1992 on controls carried out within the Community in the field of road and inland waterway transport in respect of means of transport registered or put into circulation in a third country.

Summary

This Regulation applies to controls carried out within the Community by the Member States in the field of road and inland waterway transport in respect of means of transport registered or put into circulation in a non-Community country.

The provisions of the Regulation do not affect the right of Member States to perform controls when means of transport from third countries enter their territory in order to make sure that they are authorised to circulate on their territory or to pass through it.

The above-mentioned controls are no longer carried out as frontier controls at the Community’s internal frontiers but only as part of the controls normally carried out by Member States in their territory.

The Member States are to take all measures needed to institute cooperation between their respective competent authorities.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EEC) No 3912/92 1.1.1993 OJ L 395 of 31.12.1992

Related Acts

Council Regulation (EEC) No 3925/91 of 19 December 1991 concerning the elimination of controls and formalities applicable to the cabin and hold baggage of persons taking an intra-Community flight and the baggage of persons making an intra-Community sea crossing [Official Journal L 374 of.12.1991].

Council Regulation (EEC) No 4060/89 of 21 December 1989 on the elimination of controls performed at the frontiers of Member States in the field of road and inland waterway transport [Official Journal L 390 of.12.1989].