What is the current situation with the introduction of common EU import and export customs regulations?
A series of detailed consultations concerning the review of common import and export customs procedures within the European Union (EU) have been taking place since the signing of the Lisbon Treaty in 2007.
These have concluded with the establishment of a base law, known as the Union Customs Code (UCC). This was duly published as EU Regulation No. 952/2013 and came into force on 30th October 2013. This regulation is due to be officially applied on 1st May 2016, by which date all secondary regulations and procedures should also be fully ready.
The EU Commission is now preparing all the necessary delegated and implementing acts and is fine-tuning/checking this work via a consultation process with Member States and trade associations.
How has FedEx been involved?
FedEx has been actively following all the legislative proposals and is participating via the European Express Association in the two detailed review rounds and debates which are currently taking place. These procedures have enabled us and other trade groups and stakeholders to submit comments to the Commission concerning the best ways in which the new regulations can be framed in order to facilitate foreign trade and import-export procedures. The Commission has in turn published its response to these views.
Face-to-face meetings have also been organised to facilitate feedback, though we think that the lack of combined meetings involving all stakeholders has weakened the ability of our trade group to make as significant an impact on the drafting of new legislation as we would have liked.
The consultation process will end in November 2014, following which the Commission plans to have all the delegated and implementing acts ready to enter into force by May 2015.
What about customs IT systems?
A detailed review of all customs IT systems is also being carried out to ensure that they take account of all the requirements of the new UCC legislation. Once again, FedEx is participating through our membership of the European Express Association. The Commission’s plan is to have all desired IT systems rolled out sequentially, with a complete implementation date no later than 31st December 2020.
How will the UCC affect your particular business?
Whatever your involvement with foreign trade, and whether you import or export goods or deal with in-transit shipments passing through EU member states, this new customs law will definitely have an impact upon the way you manage and clear your shipments through customs. We therefore strongly advise you to contact the relevant trade association for your business sector so as to benefit from their advice on the key impacts of the UCC legislation.