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A paperless environment for Customs and Trade

The Commission intends to create a paperless environment for customs and trade in the European Community (EC). The proposed decision will give the go-ahead for the simultaneous development of interoperable customs systems. This will enable customs administrations to exchange information about the movement of goods entering or leaving the EC.


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].


This decision is intended to promote electronic customs in the EC.


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.


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.


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.


The Community Customs Code and its 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).


ActEntry into forceTransposition Deadline for Member StatesOfficial Journal
Decision 70/2008/EC15.2.2008-OJ L 23, 26.1.2008


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].

Last updated: 17.02.2009
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