Tag Archives: Simplification of formalities

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].

Transport under the TIR or ATA procedure

Transport under the TIR or ATA procedure

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Transport under the TIR or ATA procedure

Topics

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

Customs

Transport under the TIR or ATA procedure

acquis to take account of the provisions of the agreements regarding these two procedures.

Document or Iniciative

Commission Regulation (EEC) No 2454/93 of 2 July 1993 laying down provisions for the implementation of Council Regulation (EEC) No 2913/92 establishing the Community Customs Code.

Summary

This regulation brings together the provisions for implementing the Community Customs Code in a single text. Part II, Title II, Chapter 9 of this regulation contains the provisions which are applicable to transport under the TIR or ATA procedures. Any matter concerning the application of this regulation may be examined by the Community Customs Code Committee provided for in the Council Regulation on the Customs Code.

Common provisions

When goods are transported inside the Community under TIR or ATA procedures, the Community is considered as forming a single territory for the purposes of the transport operation. For the purposes of using ATA carnets as transit documents, ‘transit’ means the transport of goods from a customs office situated in the customs territory of the Community to another customs office situated within the same territory.

Where, in the course of transport from one point in the customs territory of the Community to another, goods pass through the territory of a third country, the controls and formalities associated with the TIR or ATA procedure are carried out at the points where the goods temporarily leave the customs territory of the Community and where they re-enter that territory. Goods transported under cover of TIR of ATA carnets within the territory of the Community are regarded as non-Community goods *, unless their Community status is duly established.

The TIR procedure

The TIR procedure is an international customs transit system that applies to the transport of goods without intermediate reloading, between a customs office of departure and a customs office of destination, provided that part of the journey is made by road. The procedure allows goods to be transported across international borders without the payment of the duties and taxes that would normally be due at importation or exportation. As the Community is considered as a single territory, the TIR procedure can only be used within the Community where the movement either starts or ends in a third country, or where the goods move between two or more Community countries via the territory of a third country.

Recipients of goods sent under cover of a TIR carnet, if they are established in the Community, may at their request be granted the status of authorised consignee, if they regularly receive goods under the TIR procedure, provided they have not committed any serious or repeated infringements of customs or tax legislation.

Application of the TIR Convention in the Community

Since 1 January 2009, TIR procedure is treated electronically in the Community. Discharge of the TIR procedure in the Community must be carried out by the customs office of entry or departure after they have received confirmation from the office of destination or exit that the operation was terminated within the time limit prescribed by the customs office or entry or departure. If, after the expiry of the time limit for the office of exit or destination to give the information that the operation was terminated, the competent authorities for discharge still have no proof that the TIR operation has been terminated, an enquiry procedure is initiated.

The procedure is initiated immediately if the discharge authorities are informed in advance that the TIR operation has not been terminated, or when they suspect as much. The enquiry procedure is also initiated if it transpires subsequently that proof of the termination of the TIR operation was falsified. If the competent office does not receive the information enabling it to discharge the operation, it informs the guaranteeing association concerned and the holder of the TIR carnet, within 28 days after the start of the enquiry procedure with the customs office of destination or exit when the TIR operation cannot be discharged.

When infringements or irregularities committed during transport under cover of a TIR carnet result in a Community customs debt, the Member State identified as competent to recover duties or impose penalties initiates the procedure for recovery from the debtor.

When a TIR operation is carried out on the customs territory of the Community, any guaranteeing association established in the Community may become liable for the payment of the secured amount of the customs debt relating to the goods concerned in the TIR operation up to a limit per TIR carnet of EUR 60 000 or the national currency equivalent thereof. The guaranteeing association established in the Member State competent for recovery is liable for payment of the secured amount of the customs debt.

Where customs authorities of a Member State decide to exclude a person from the TIR procedure under the provisions of Article 38 of the TIR Convention, this decision shall apply throughout the customs territory of the Community.

The ATA procedure

The ATA carnet is used for temporary importation, transit and temporary admission of goods designed for specific purposes, duty-free and tax-free (such as professional equipment for presentations or trade fairs, for example).

Where offences or irregularities are committed during a transport operation under cover of an ATA carnet in a given Member State, that Member State is identified as competent to recover any duties and impose penalties. Where it is not possible to determine in which territory the offence or irregularity was committed, it is deemed to have been committed in the Member State where it was detected unless proof to the contrary is provided.

Findings made by the competent authorities of the different Member States, in applying this regulation, have the same force throughout the customs territory of the Community. Where necessary, the competent authorities are required to communicate to one another all information relating to TIR or ATA consignments and to any offences or irregularities noted.

Key terms used in the act
  • Community goods refers to goods:
    • entirely obtained in the customs territory of the Community, without the addition of goods from non-member countries or territories which are not part of the customs territory of the Community;
    • from countries or territories not forming part of the customs territory of the Community which have been released for free circulation in a Member State;
    • obtained in the customs territory of the Community either from the goods referred to exclusively in the second indent or from the goods referred to in the first and second indents.
  • Non-Community goods: goods other than those defined as Community goods. Goods reintroduced into the customs territory of the Community after being exported outside that territory are also considered to be non-Community goods.

References

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

Regulation (EEC) No 2454/93

14.10.1993

OJ L 253, 11.10.1993

Successive amendments and corrections to Regulation (EC) No 2454/93 have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated version is for reference purposes only.

A simple and paperless environment for customs and trade

A simple and paperless environment for customs and trade

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about A simple and 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 simple and paperless environment for customs and trade

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee of 24 April 2003 – A simple and paperless environment for Customs and Trade [COM(2003) 452 final – Official Journal C 96 of 21.04.2004].

Summary

The e-Europe action plan sets the Member States a priority: to work online and be accessible electronically in order to improve the efficiency of customs procedures and controls. The aim of the customs union is to ensure a simplified and paperless environment for trade.

Member States currently use different IT solutions and have different approaches to the implementation of customs rules and procedures. Traders operating in more than one Member State have to comply with different conditions for electronic access to customs, which is costly and could jeopardise the functioning of the internal market. There is also a lack of common data requirements and differences in electronic communication between customs administrations. This situation is no longer tenable in an enlarged EU.

Using printed documents in customs procedures is not cost-effective and movements of goods across several Member States require common interfaces and databases. The Commission can act to ensure that the means for creating a simplified and paperless environment are provided and that interoperability between existing IT systems is achieved.

Customs authorities nowadays have to face additional challenges in carrying out their tasks, due to conflicting new requirements by traders and society. They have to manage a greater volume of goods crossing borders while bearing in mind the need to reduce costs and time limits. The authorities are also subject to more constraints concerning serious controls issues involving the environment, health and security.

Traditionally, the role of customs authorities is to collect customs and agricultural duties to contribute to the Community budget and to collect VAT and excise duties for Member States’ budgets. But customs plays a key role in monitoring and managing international trade, screening passengers and freight and guarding against dangerous and illegal activities.

Business expects more efficiency, better services and higher productivity from customs. Since customs administrations should facilitate trade transactions, business has an interest in forming a partnership with customs. Simple, predictable and uniform customs controls will ensure rapid deliveries. Traders also need a uniform Community regulatory framework and similar customs practices, thus putting economic operators on an equal footing. So that business can avoid losing time when launching products on the single market, a single point of entry is needed for customs declarations and other formalities for all requirements related to imports and exports. Lastly, there is a need for the burden of controls to be reduced and for legislation to be more coherent in order to facilitate trade, reduce errors and increase compliance.

The Communication therefore proposes to make procedures and controls more efficient by simplifying customs legislation and making better use of electronic tools in customs procedures.

Ensuring security in the movement of goods requires that risk-related data be shared in real time between the customs administrations of the Member States and between the administrations and other bodies such as the police and the veterinary authorities. This will enable customs authorities to decide on which consignments they will carry out physical checks at the border. To achieve this, the legislation must be simplified at Community level and information technology must be used to overcome the problems linked to differences in national laws. As regards simplifying legislation, the Communication stresses the following objectives:

  • to make electronic declarations and electronic exchange of data the rule;
  • to reduce and simplify customs procedures and regimes;
  • to align and adjust procedures to the needs of electronic processing, and extend their scope and use;
  • to redefine the role of inland and frontier customs offices;
  • to redefine the rights and responsibilities of trade and freight forwarders;
  • to introduce new tools and methods.

Such modernisation and simplification of customs legislation would reduce the cost for business and increase legal certainty for citizens.

In order to rationalise business processes, once the information requirements have been harmonised and standardised, the customs interface should be presented to the trader in each Member State in the same form. Customs authorities should be inter-linked so as to be able to act as if they were a single customs authority. Traders should be able to lodge their declarations and notifications directly with customs from their own IT system using a standard interface. Customs declarations and notifications should be made available to small and medium-sized traders on the internet. There will also be a need for solutions to ensure secure internet payment systems. It is important for traders to have a single access point for customs clearance and information systems. They will have to provide the data only once.

Related Acts

Implementing the Community Lisbon programme – Proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on a paperless environment for customs and trade [COM(2005) 609 final – Official Journal].

Council Resolution of 5 December 2003 on the creation of a simple and paperless environment for customs and trade [Official Journal C 305 of 16.12.2003].

Modernised Community Customs Code

Modernised Community Customs Code

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

Topics

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

Customs

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].

Summary

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.

Context

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.

References

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

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

24.6.2008

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].