Tag Archives: Free circulation of goods

Free movement of goods: general framework

Free movement of goods: general framework

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Free movement of goods: general framework

Topics

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

Internal market > Free movement of goods: general framework

Free movement of goods: general framework

The free movement of goods is one of the freedoms of the single market of the European Union. Since January 1993, controls on the movement of goods within the internal market have been abolished and the European Union is now a single territory without internal frontiers.
The abolition of customs tariffs promotes intra-Community trade, which accounts for a large part of the total imports and exports of the Member States.
Articles 28 and 29 of the Treaty establishing the European Community prohibit import and export restrictions between all Member States. However, if there is a threat to public health or the environment, Member States may restrict the free movement of goods.

General Principles

  • A new boost to trade in goods
  • Accreditation and market surveillance
  • The mutual recognition principle in the single market
  • Internal Market Problem Solving System (SOLVIT network)
  • National technical regulations and free movement of goods

Restrictions on the free movement of goods

  • Removal of certain obstacles to trade: rapid intervention mechanism
  • Notification of national measures derogating from the principle of the free movement of goods

Statistics

  • European statistics
  • Intrastat system – statistics relating to the trading of goods between Member States
  • Statistics on tourism
  • European Statistical Advisory Committee
  • European Statistical Governance Advisory Board
  • Production of Community statistics
  • EDICOM Programme

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].

Croatia – Internal market

Croatia – Internal market

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Croatia – Internal market

Topics

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

Internal market > Single Market for Goods > Single market for goods: external dimension

Croatia – Internal market

acquis) and, more specifically, the priorities identified jointly by the Commission and the candidate countries in the analytical assessment (or ‘screening’) of the EU’s political and legislative acquis. Each year, the Commission reviews the progress made by candidates and evaluates the efforts required before their accession. This monitoring is the subject of annual reports presented to the Council and the European Parliament.

Document or Iniciative

Commission Report [COM(2010) 660 final – SEC(2010) 1326 – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The 2010 Report presents the improvements made in terms of the free movement of goods, workers, services and capital. These improvements have particularly taken place in coordinating social security systems, the recognition of vocational qualifications, postal services and the protection of intellectual property. Effort is required with regard to product safety, security of payment systems and combating money laundering. Progress has also been made in the development of the Customs Union.

EUROPEAN UNION ACQUIS (according to the Commission’s words)

The principle of the free movement of goods implies that products must be traded freely from one part of the Union to another. In a number of sectors, this general principle is complemented by a harmonised regulatory framework, following the “old approach” (imposing precise product specifications) or the “new approach” (imposing general product requirements). The harmonised European product legislation, which has to be transposed, represents the largest part of the acquis under this chapter. In addition, sufficient administrative capacity to notify the restrictions to trade and to apply horizontal and procedural measures in areas such as standardisation, certification, accreditation, metrology and market surveillance is essential.

The acquis in respect of the free movement of workers states that citizens of an EU Member State have the right to work in another Member State. EU migrant workers must be treated in the same manner as national workers with regard to working conditions, social benefits and tax allowances. The acquis also provides a mechanism for coordinating national social security provisions for those tax contributors and their families who move to another Member State.

Member States are required to remove all restrictions with regard to the free movement of services. Member States must ensure that the right of establishment and the freedom to provide services anywhere in the EU is not hampered by national legislation. In some sectors, the acquis prescribes harmonised rules which must be respected if the internal market is to function; this concerns mainly the financial sector (banking, insurance, investment services and securities markets). Financial institutions may carry out their activities throughout the European Union according to the principle of ‘home country control’ by opening branches or by providing cross-border services. The acquis also provides harmonised rules for some specific professions (craftsmen, traders, farmers, commercial agents), for certain information society services, and matters relating to personal data protection.

Member States must remove all restrictions on the free movement of capital between themselves, within the European Union, but also with third countries (with some exceptions) and adopt EU rules applicable to cross-border payments and to credit transfers concerning transferable securities. The money laundering and financing of terrorism directives require banks and other economic operators to identify their clients and be aware of certain operations, particularly in the case of cash transactions for high-value items. In order to tackle financial crime, it is essential that administrative and enforcement capacities are put in place, particularly by establishing cooperation between those authorities responsible for surveillance, implementing law and carrying out criminal proceedings.

The acquis on public procurement covers the general principles of transparency, equal treatment, free competition and non-discrimination. In addition, specific Community rules apply to the coordination and granting of public works, supplies and services contracts for traditional contracting entities and specific sectors. The acquis also defines the rules relating to the court procedures and means of action available. Its implementation requires specialised bodies.

The acquis relating to intellectual property rights defines the harmonised rules for the legal protection of copyright and related rights. Specific provisions are applicable to the protection of databases, data processing programmes, topographies of semi-conductors, satellite broadcasting and cable retransmission. In the field of intellectual property rights, the acquis details harmonised rules for the legal protection of trademarks and designs. Other specific provisions apply to biotechnological inventions and to pharmaceutical and phytopharmaceutical products. The acquis also establishes a Community trademark system and a Community design system.

The acquis on company law includes rules applicable to the constitution, registration, merger and division of companies. In the field of financial information, the acquis specifies the rules to be complied with regarding the presentation of consolidated annual accounts and provides simplified rules for small and medium-sized enterprises, in particular. The application of international accounting standards is obligatory for certain entities of public interest. Furthermore, the acquis also includes provisions relating to the approval, professional integrity and independence of persons responsible for legal controls.

The Customs union
acquis consists almost exclusively of legislation which is directly binding on the Member States. It includes the Community’s Customs Code and its implementing provisions; the Combined Nomenclature, Common Customs Tariff and provisions on tariff classification, customs duty relief, duty suspensions and certain tariff quotas; and other provisions such as those on customs control of counterfeit and pirated goods, drugs precursors and the export of cultural goods and on mutual administrative assistance in customs matters and transit. Member States must also have the required implementing capacities, particularly connectivity with the EU’s computerised customs systems. Customs authorities must also have sufficient capacity for implementation and compliance with the specific provisions established in related fields of the acquis, such as foreign trade.

 EVALUATION (according to the Commission’s words)

Good progress has been made in the field of free movement of goods and alignment with the acquis in this chapter is well advanced. However, further efforts are necessary, particularly on conformity assessment, metrology and market surveillance. Croatia needs to complete alignment with the acquis and to strengthen implementation capacity.

Good progress can be reported in the area of free movement of workers, and a satisfactory level of legal alignment has been achieved. Additional efforts are needed to strengthen, in particular, the coordination of social security systems.

Progress has been made in the field of right of establishment and freedom to provide services, in particular on mutual recognition of professional qualifications and on postal services. Overall alignment with the acquis is satisfactory. Increased efforts are required to complete alignment, in particular in the area of mutual recognition of professional qualifications and to transpose the Services Directive. Work on improving administrative capacity needs to be continued.

Further progress has been made in aligning with the acquis in the field of free movement of capital. Continued efforts are needed to complete liberalisation of capital movements and to consolidate the enforcement of anti-money laundering legislation.

Good progress has been made with regard to customs union. Croatia’s customs legislation is aligned with the acquis to a very large extent. Croatia has continued to make progress in the area of IT, notably in interconnectivity. Further progress towards removing the last discrepancies in Croatia’s legislation, implementing the Anti-Corruption Strategy and preparing for IT interconnectivity is required.

Related Acts

Commission Report [COM(2009) 533 final – SEC(2009) 1333 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Commission Report [COM(2008) 674 final – SEC(2008) 2694 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

The 2008 report highlighted the progress made in the free movement of goods and capital. Freedom of movement for workers was however not yet in line with the Union rules on access to the labour market, whilst obstacles still hampered the right of establishment and freedom to provide services.

Commission Report [COM(2007) 663 final – SEC(2007) 1431 – Not published in the Official Journal].
In its 2007 report, the Commission noted some progress with regard to the free movement of goods, workers, capital and services, and the right of establishment. It advised that efforts to align legislation with the acquis should be continued.

Commission Report [COM(2006) 649 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The 2006 report stated that limited progress had been made with regard to customs union, public procurement, right of establishment, financial services, intellectual property and the free movement of capital. Croatia would need to invest a lot more effort into aligning its legislation with the Community acquis on the free movement of goods, workers, services and capital.

Commission Report [COM(2005) 561 final – SEC(2005) 1424 – Not published in the Official Journal].
The 2005 report pointed out that, in spite of the efforts made in 2004, there were still several barriers to the free movement of goods in Croatia. There had been very limited progress as regards the free movement of workers, services and capital.

Commission Opinion [COM(2004) 257 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
In its 2004 report, the Commission pointed out that the key elements of the Community acquis covering the free movement of goods were not yet in place. Considerable delays had been noted with respect to the free movement of workers. The Commission considered additional efforts to be urgently required in the area of the free movement of services and capital.