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EC Welcomes Agreement On Modernised Customs Code

by Ulrika Lomas, for, Brussels

27 June 2007

The European Commission on Monday welcomed the political agreement reached by the EU Council of Ministers on a modernised Community Customs Code, which aims to simplify legislation and streamline customs process and procedures for the benefit of both customs authorities and traders.

The agreement now needs to be confirmed by the European Parliament in a second reading, which is expected to come in the next few months.

"In full respect with our "better regulation" and e-government strategies, the modernised Community Customs Code will provide fewer and simpler rules adapted to a modern electronic and paperless customs environment." announced László Kovács, Commissioner responsible for Taxation and Customs.

He continued:

"I am very pleased that, thanks to the efforts of the Austrian, Finnish and German Presidencies, we have been able to reach an agreement in the Council. I now encourage the European Parliament to start a second reading as soon as possible after the adoption of the common position by the Council, in order rapidly to reach a final decision."

Together with the electronic customs initiative, the modernised Customs Code forms part of the Commission's global reform process, aimed at creating a new electronic customs environment.

It will simplify customs legislation and streamline customs processes and procedures while, at the same time, the electronic customs initiative will provide for more convergence between the IT systems of the 27 customs administrations. As a result, traders will save money and time in their business transactions with customs.

The modernised Customs Code will:

  • Introduce the electronic lodging of customs declarations and accompanying documents as the rule;
  • Provide for the exchange of electronic information between the national customs and other competent authorities;
  • Promote the concept of "centralised clearance", under which authorised traders will be able to declare goods electronically and pay their customs duties at the place where they are established, irrespective of the Member State through which the goods will be brought into or out of the EU customs territory, or in which they will be consumed.
  • Offer bases for the development of the 'Single Window' and 'One-Stop-Shop' concepts, under which economic operators give information on goods to only one contact point ('Single Window' concept), even if the data should reach different administrations/agencies, so that controls on them for various purposes (customs, sanitary, etc) are performed at the same time and at the same place.

The present Community Customs Code, which codified the existing regulations and directives and harmonized the customs rules of the Member States in force in the 1980s, was adopted in 1992. Since then, only limited changes addressing specific problems have been made, which has meant that it has not kept pace with the radical changes to the environment in which Customs and traders operate, particularly in respect of the rapid and irreversible adoption of electronic data exchange.

TAGS: Italy

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