Tag Archives: Customs harmonisation

1982 International Convention on the Harmonization of Frontier Controls of Goods

1982 International Convention on the Harmonization of Frontier Controls of Goods

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about 1982 International Convention on the Harmonization of Frontier Controls of Goods


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


1982 International Convention on the Harmonization of Frontier Controls of Goods

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EEC) No 1262/84 of 10 April 1984 concerning the conclusion of the International Convention on the Harmonization of Frontier Controls of Goods [Official Journal L 126 of 12.5.1984].


The EC is a party to the International Convention on the Harmonization of Frontier Controls of Goods signed in Geneva on 21 October 1982 in the framework of the United Nations. The Convention is intended to streamline administrative procedures and remove cross-border technical barriers.

It applies to all goods being imported or exported or in transit, when they are moved across one or more maritime, air or inland frontiers.

The Convention is part of the external trade policy, which is an area of exclusive Community competence.

Parties to the Convention are committed to streamlining administrative procedures at borders and reducing the number and duration of controls carried out by customs authorities. This commitment should be reflected in:

  • cooperation and coordination between customs and other services for monitoring goods;
  • the provision of qualified personnel with the necessary equipment at the place where the controls are to take place; official instructions to officers for acting in accordance with international agreements;
  • cooperation with the competent international bodies, in order to facilitate new multilateral or bilateral agreements;
  • arrangements for the joint control of goods and documents by neighbouring countries that share a border; opening hours of frontier posts, categories of goods, modes of transport and international customs transit procedures should correspond;
  • the exchange of information required for controls to be effective;
  • documents aligned on the United Nations Layout Key.

Goods in transit are to receive simple and speedy treatment when they are transported in conditions that provide adequate security. Controls may however be carried out if there is a threat to public safety.

Customs clearance for goods covered an international customs transit procedure is to be facilitated by an extension of the hours and the competence of existing customs posts.

Goods are subject to customs controls as described in Annex 1. These controls are to ensure compliance with the laws and regulations in force at borders. Other types of controls may also be carried out, also at points within the country.

Customs services are in charge of organising cooperation and coordination with other goods control services so as to expedite the passage of goods.

Instructions regarding these controls are to be found in the annexes below. They comprise:

  • medico-sanitary inspections carried out for the protection of the life and health of persons (Annex II);
  • veterinary inspections, applied to animals or animal products and their conditions of transport (Annex III);
  • phytosanitary inspections intended to prevent the spread and the introduction across national boundaries of pests of plants and plant products (Annex IV);
  • control of compliance of goods with national and international laws and regulations (Annex V);
  • quality control of goods to ensure that they correspond to the minimum international or national definitions of quality (Annex VI);
  • rules of procedure of the administrative committee for the Harmonisation Convention concerning the amendment procedure for the Convention (Annex VII).

Prohibitions or restrictions relating to importation, exportation, or transit remain applicable when they are imposed for reasons of public safety*. Emergency measures may also be introduced if necessary.

The Convention does not preclude the right of regional economic integration organisations to apply their own legislation at their internal frontiers. It enables preferences and financial facilities to be maintained, on condition that they do not reduce in any way the facilities deriving from this convention.

Disputes between the parties are to be settled by negotiation or by voluntary recourse to arbitration.

Key terms used in the act

  • Public safety: Defending public safety implies defending the safety and security of the public, morality, health, the environment, cultural heritage and industrial, commercial and intellectual property.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EEC) No 1262/84 1.6.1984 OJ L 126 of 12.5.1984

Related Acts


Annex 8 – Facilitating border crossing procedures for international road transport:

Council Decision 2009/161/EC of 25 September 2008 Approving on behalf of the Community Annex 8 to the International Convention on the Harmonisation of Frontier Controls of Goods.

The new Annex 8 to the International Convention on the Harmonisation of Frontier Controls of Goods entered into force on 20 May 2008.

The new measures aim at simplifying and coordinating administrative procedures dealing with the following aspects:

  • the granting of visas for professional drivers, by facilitating procedures and the exchange of information between professionals;
  • international transport operations, by speeding up border crossing procedures for goods, particularly for urgent consignments, such as live animals and perishable goods;
  • the technical control of road vehicles, by accepting the International Technical Inspection Certificate and the identification of ATP vehicles carrying perishable goods;
  • the acceptance of the International Vehicle Weight Certificate, aiming at avoiding repetitive weighing procedures at border crossings, apart from random checks or in the case of supposed irregularities. Weight measurement shall take place in the country of origin of international transport operations;
  • efficient border crossing points with suitable infrastructures.

The effective implementation of the Annex by the Contracting Parties will be monitored by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe who will produce a report every second year.


Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on official controls to be performed to ensure the verification of compliance with feed and food law, animal health and animal welfare rules [Official Journal L 165 of 30.04.2004].

Corrigendum to the Regulation [Official Journal L 191 of 28.05.2004].

The Regulation is intended to organise the official controls performed on animal feed and food in the framework of Community legislation.


EEC/UN ATP Agreement on the International Carriage of Perishable Foodstuffs and on the Special Equipment to be used for such Carriage (entry into force on 1 September 1970, amended on 7 November 2003).

International Convention on the Harmonization of Frontier Controls of Goods (entry into force 12 May 1984).

Modernised Community Customs Code

Modernised Community Customs Code

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Modernised Community Customs Code


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


Modernised Community Customs Code

Document or Iniciative

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 of 04.06.2008].


The Modernised Customs Code creates a new electronic customs environment. The new Code integrates the common customs procedures in the Member States while reinforcing convergence between the computerised systems of the 27 customs authorities. It will replace the 1992 Customs Community Code, once the necessary implementing provisions are adopted and made applicable, at the latest by 24 June 2013. In the interim period the existing code applies.

The Code’s provisions

The 2008 Modernised Customs Code covers:

  • general provisions on the scope of customs legislation, the mission of customs and the rights and obligations of persons with regard to customs legislation;
  • factors on the basis of which import and export duties and other measures in respect of trade in goods are applied (Common Customs Tariff, origin of goods, value for customs purposes);
  • customs debt * and guarantees of this debt;
  • customs treatment of goods brought into the customs territory of the Community;
  • rules on customs status, placing goods under a customs procedure, as well as verification, release * and disposal of goods;
  • release for free circulation and relief from export duties;
  • special customs procedures organised into four economic functions (transit, storage, specific use, processing);
  • customs treatment of goods leaving the customs territory of the Community (goods leaving the territory, export and re-export, relief from export duties);
  • the Customs Code Committee and procedures enabling the Commission to adopt the measures implementing the Code.

New provisions regarding the streamlining of customs procedures to facilitate trade and prevent new threats.

Thus through strengthening the common regulatory and operational framework of customs authorities, the Code introduces modern processes based on electronic techniques in order to:

  • guarantee as a general rule the simplification and uniform application of customs legislation;
  • improve customs controls, which are based primarily on a risk analysis as part of a common risk management * framework. Controls other than customs controls should, wherever possible, be performed at the same time as customs controls at a ‘one-stop-shop’;
  • facilitate clearance procedures, which will be fully computerised, will offer maximum simplifications and can be carried out centrally;
  • streamline current ‘economic and/or suspensive’ customs procedures , which have been reorganised into ‘special procedures’ enabling the transit (external and internal), storage (temporary storage, customs warehousing, free zones), specific use (temporary admission or end-use), and processing (inward or outward processing) of goods to better respond to the economic needs of the operators and to simplify access to them.

Following the 2003 Communication ‘A simple and paperless environment for customs and trade’, the use of information and communication technologies has become the rule.

Common information systems enable data exchange between customs authorities and compliance with data-protection provisions. In particular these systems are concerned with:

  • formalities carried out by economic operators *
  • customs procedures (centralised clearance in particular) and the registration/approval of economic operators (identification and registration of economic operators: EORI; granting of the status of authorised economic operator – ‘customs simplification’ and/or ‘security and safety’: AEO);
  • risk management through a common framework between the Commission and Member States. This will enable customs authorities to carry out controls based on national, Community and international analyses.

Common system of value added tax

The new legal framework will simplify customs procedures for trade in goods between parts of customs territory of the Community to which Council Directive 2006/112/EC on the common system of value added tax applies and parts to which it does not apply.


The Community Customs Code has been modernised following the expiry of the ECSC Treaty and the two successive enlargements of the European Union. Furthermore, it now conforms with the International Convention on the simplification and harmonisation of customs procedures, and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

Key terms of the act
  • Economic Operator: a person who, in the course of his business, is involved in activities covered by customs legislation.
  • Release of goods: the act whereby the customs authorities make goods available for the purposes specified for the customs procedure under which they are placed.
  • Risk: the likelihood of an event that may occur, with regard to the entry, exit, transit, transfer or end-use of goods moved between the customs territory of the Community and countries or territories outside that territory and to the presence of goods which do not have Community status, which would have any of the following results: it would prevent the correct application of Community or national measures; it would compromise the financial interests of the Community and its Member States; it would pose a threat to the security and safety of the Community and its residents, to human, animal or plant health, to the environment or to consumers.
  • Customs debt: the obligation on a person to pay the amount of import or export duty which applies to specific goods under the customs legislation in force.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No. 450/2008 [adoption: Co-decision COD/2005/0246]


OJ L 145 of 4.6.2008

Related Acts

Decision No. 70/2008/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 January 2008 on a paperless environment for customs and trade [Official Journal L23/21 of 26.1.2008].