Community Customs Code
The Community Customs Code compiles the rules, arrangements and procedures applicable to goods traded between the European Community (EC) and non-member countries. The Code is a single act covering the scope, definitions, basic provisions and content of Community customs law
The Community Customs Code codifies Community customs law. It replaces a great many acts of law, thereby increasing transparency. It lays down the scope of customs provisions and the basic definitions.
The Code's provisions
The Community Customs Code entered into force in 1992 (it has applied since 1 January 1994) and mainly concerns:
- general provisions on people's rights and obligations with regard to customs legislation (right of representation, information *, etc.);
- the basic provisions governing trade in goods. These include import and export duties, customs value *, the EC's customs tariff, the tariff classification of goods and their origin;
- the provisions governing the introduction of goods into the EC's customs territory. These cover the presentation of goods to customs, the customs declaration *, the obligation to assign goods a customs-approved treatment or use, and temporary storage;
- non-Community goods which are moved under a transit procedure;
- customs-approved treatment or use. The Code describes the placing of goods under customs procedures, release for free circulation, transit, customs warehousing *, inward * and outward * processing, processing under customs control *, temporary admission and export;
- introduction of goods into a free zone or free warehouse *, re-export, destruction of goods and their abandonment to the exchequer.
Amendments in 1997 and 1999
Amendments adopted in 1997 simplified the Code to make its implementation in the Member States more efficient. They concern the customs debt and control of free zones, and the simplification of formalities surrounding the customs declaration.
The amendments introduced in 1999 chiefly concern customs transit. They clarify and improve the rules on discharging the transit procedure and the responsibilities of those authorised to use the procedure. They also cover financial guarantees and procedures for recovering debts arising from Community transit operations.
Amendments in 2000
The 2000 amending act introduced measures aimed at:
- introducing procedures for preventing fraud;
- simplifying and rationalising customs rules and procedures;
- facilitating the use of electronically submitted declarations;
- facilitating the use of the procedures for inward processing, processing under customs control, temporary admission and free zones;
- defining a new concept of protecting "good faith" for those importing goods under preferential conditions.
Customs and security
The 2005 amendments are aimed at tightening security requirements for movements of goods across international frontiers. Economic operators are now required to provide the customs authorities with details of goods before they are imported into the EU or exported from it. This will entail the setting up of a one-stop shop for importers and exporters.
The new concept of approved economic operator (AEO) simplifies trade. The Member States may grant AEO status to any economic operator meeting common criteria. These criteria concern control systems, financial solvency and the operator's track record in complying with the rules.
The Member States are required to use risk-analysis methods. Uniform Community criteria have been introduced for identifying risks for control purposes. The machinery is based on computerised systems.
In November 2005 the Commission adopted a proposal aimed at modernising the Community Customs Code. This proposal is part of the implementation of the Lisbon Strategy. It is aimed at simplifying the legislation and administrative procedures governing imports and exports. Facilitating customs operations in this way reduces costs. In addition, the Commission proposes:
- streamlining structures and making terminology more consistent;
- streamlining the system of customs guarantees;
- extending the use of single authorisations (whereby an authorisation issued by one Member State on completion of a procedure would be valid throughout the Community).
The tighter security requirements follow up two communications published by the Commission in 2003. They are the communications on " a simple and paperless environment for customs and trade" and on " the role of customs in the integrated management of external borders ".
|Key terms used in the act|
|Act||Entry into force||Deadline for transposition in the Member States||Official Journal|
|Regulation (EEC) No 2913/92||22.10.1992||-||OJ L 302 of 19.10.1992|
|Amending act(s)||Entry into force||Deadline for transposition in the Member States||Official Journal|
|Regulation (EC) No 82/97||01.01.1997||-||OJ L 17 of 21.01.1997|
|Regulation (EC) No 955/1999||10.05.1999||-||OJ L 119 of 07.05.1999|
|Regulation (EC) No 2700/2000||19.12.2000||-||OJ L 311 of 12.12.2000|
|Regulation (EC) No 648/2005||11.05.2005||-||OJ L 117 of 04.05.2005|
|Regulation (EC) No 1791/2006||1.1.2007||-||OJ L 363 of 20.12.2006|
For further information, please consult the website of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union