Monday, December 7, 2015

Freight Forwarding Agents and Traders Within Europe Must Prepare for Customs Changes Now

May 2016 Sees the Introduction of the Union Customs Code
Shipping News Feature
UK – EUROPE – It is now less than six months until the new Union Customs Code (UCC) comes into force, legislation which will have the potential to have a major impact on some freight forwarding agents and any businesses which trade between member states. There will be alterations regarding moving some goods across borders and initially there will have to be some transitional arrangements which will operate until 2020 when other alterations to current practices are finalised.

One of the main effects will be that traders are obliged to provide financial guarantees for the use of temporary storage, something which can only be waived if authorisation is granted by the EU member states involved. Full details for the UK are available here but there needs to be more updating of these by the European authorities before they can be fully understood. Certainly there are those in the logistics sector who are plainly unhappy with the potential new arrangements. International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) Secretary General Doug Brittin commented recently:

"It currently appears that the appropriate systems will not be in place to provide, handle, and maintain those authorisations. It looks as if it will be virtually impossible to apply for a new guarantee or a waiver in time. Discussions between Member States, Trade and Commission are still ongoing on how to resolve the situation in a pragmatic manner, and TIACA is closely engaged in that process. It is going to be important to stay as up to date as possible, and TIACA will be playing its part, both at discussion level with the regulators, and by keeping members in touch with changes as they come up,"

For their part the European Commission has produced an EU Customs Competency Framework but with the diverse national authorities involved it is becoming clear that the transitional regulations will be required as many are simply not ready for the full adoption of the UCC. Meanwhile TIACA will be featuring a dedicated workshop at its next year's Air Cargo Forum in Paris on 26 October 2016.

The main changes being implemented from 1 May 2016 will be:

• Mandatory guarantees for most special procedures and temporary storage (TS) – this only applies to new authorisations

• The ability to make some movements under TS rather than national transit or Electronic Transit System (ETS) – formerly New Computerised Transit System (NCTS)

• The removal of the earlier sales provisions relating to valuation (but there are some transitional arrangements)

• All communications between customs authorities and economic operators must be electronic