European Union publishes new Union Customs Code

On 9 October 2013, the European Union (EU) adopted the Union Customs Code (“UCC”), which was published in the EU Official Journal the following day. It will on 1 June 2016 replace the current Community Customs Code as the new EU framework legislation in the area of customs which the 28 EU Member States must apply (with some room for Member State discretion). The UCC is intended to achieve greater legal certainty for businesses as well as increased clarity for customs officials throughout the EU. The UCC also seeks to improve and simplify customs rules and procedures, harmonise decision-making procedures further, and lead to more efficient customs transactions. The UCC consolidates a number of important rules and practices which, until now, have been applied on a case by case basis.

The improvements introduced by the UCC include measures to complete the transition to a paperless/electronic customs environment, and provisions to expand and reinforce customs procedures for Authorised Economic Operators (“AEOs”), including centralised clearance.

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