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Agreement with Canada

All breaches of customs legislation are prejudicial to the economic, fiscal, social, cultural and commercial interests of the Member States of the European Union (EC) and of Canada. The EU and Canada have undertaken to develop customs cooperation of the widest possible scope. The two parties have concluded an Agreement covering all matters relating to the application of customs legislation and have also provided for the possibility of expanding its scope

ACT

Council Decision 98/18/EC of 27 November 1997 concerning the conclusion of the Agreement between the European Community and Canada on customs cooperation and mutual assistance in customs matters.

SUMMARY

The aim of the Agreement is to improve cooperation between the administrative authorities responsible for applying customs legislation *. The parties undertake to increase the level of customs cooperation, in particular by simplifying and harmonising their procedures.

Customs cooperation

The parties undertake to develop customs cooperation by:

  • simplifying and harmonising their customs procedures;
  • examining means of solving customs-related problems;
  • exchanging personnel;
  • computerising customs procedures and formalities.

Mutual administrative assistance

The parties undertake to assist each other, either on request or on their own initiative. They exchange all appropriate information that helps to ensure the proper application of customs legislation and the prevention and combating of any breach of such legislation. To achieve this, they communicate to each other any new customs law enforcement techniques, and any new trends and means of committing breaches of customs legislation. The customs authorities also provide each other with information on operations, completed or planned, which appear to constitute a breach of customs legislation in the territory of the other contracting party.

Assistance on request

The requested authority * informs the applicant authority * of the customs legislation and procedures applicable in its territory and relevant to inquiries relating to a breach of customs legislation. Such information may relate to the lawfulness of procedures for exporting and importing goods between the two contracting parties and to the customs procedure applied.

The Agreement also provides for special surveillance, which may be maintained over persons who have committed a breach of customs legislation or who are suspected of doing so. Such surveillance may also be applied to goods giving rise to illicit trafficking, and on the means of transport and premises used to this end.

Spontaneous assistance

One of the two parties may supply information on its own initiative in serious cases that could involve substantial damage to the economy, public health, public security or any other vital interest of the other contracting party.

Formal aspects and exceptions to assistance

Requests must be made in writing, except in urgent cases where oral requests may be made, confirmed in writing thereafter. Requests must contain data on the applicant customs authority, the measure requested, the object of and the reason for the request, the legislation involved and the persons who are the target of the investigation.

The requested party may refuse to provide assistance if to do so would be likely to prejudice the sovereignty, public policy, security or other essential interest of one of the parties. The obligation to provide assistance may also be postponed on the ground that it interferes with an ongoing investigation, prosecution or proceeding.

The Agreement contains confidentiality clauses in relation to the information supplied. A high level of protection is given to personal data.

The Agreement provides for the establishment of a Joint Customs Cooperation Committee that sees to the proper functioning of this Agreement and examines all issues arising from its application.

Key terms used in the act
  • Customs legislation: for the European Community, customs legislation includes all legal provisions governing the import, export, transit of goods and their placing under any customs procedure, including measures of prohibition, restriction and control. In Canada, the definition of customs legislation is wider. It includes all statutory and regulatory provisions in this area, the administration and enforcement of which are specifically charged to the customs authority, in other words the competent sections of the Departments of National Revenue, and any regulations adopted by the customs authority under its statutory powers.
  • Requested authority: means the competent customs authority that receives a request for assistance.
  • Applicant authority: means the competent customs authority that makes a request for assistance.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Decision 98/18/EC27.11.1997-Official Journal L 007 of 13.01.1998
Last updated: 29.08.2007

See also

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