EU Customs Developments: December 2015

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EU Customs Policy -

Union Customs Code Developments – Key Provisions Published -

On 29 December 2015, the Implementing and Delegated Acts for the Union Customs Code (UCC) were published in the EU’s Official Journal as Commission Implementing Regulation 2015/2447 and Commission Delegated Regulation 2015/2446, respectively. As planned, the UCC will start to apply on 1 May 2016 and formally repeal the current EU Customs Code (Regulation 2913/92) and its Implementing Provisions (Regulation 2454/93) on that date.

The UCC and its accompanying rules should lead to an entirely paperless customs environment with modern IT systems by 2020, but key changes will already take effect on 1 May 2016. For example, more detailed and product-specific rules will be applied to determine non-preferential origin of a product. Binding Tariff Information (BTI) will also become binding on the holder. In addition, unless a company can benefit from a special transitional provision, it will no longer be able to use an earlier sale in a chain of transactions under the new customs valuation rules. At the same time, more royalties and licence fees are set to become dutiable, as the Member States’ customs authorities are likely to follow the UCC provisions to the letter, unless and until clear guidance is made available to them by the Commission (see below). There will also be changes to the so-called “special procedures” (e.g. the inward processing procedure will be merged with processing under customs control) in May 2016. Importantly, for new authorisations to use certain simplifications or procedures, the provision of a guarantee will become mandatory; at present, the Member States have discretion in deciding whether or not to require a guarantee in certain cases. As and when the necessary IT systems are up and running, certain opportunities will become available, including self-assessment and centralised clearance. Under the UCC, compliance with criteria for Authorised Economic Operators (AEO) will be required in new circumstances, so that, in effect, companies will need to look into this in order to retain access to procedures for which they do not currently have to demonstrate AEO criteria compliance.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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