Recently, Integration Point hosted a webcast on the Union Customs Code (UCC) and the upcoming changes in the European Union.   The presenter, Mr. Walter Van der Meiren, Brokerage Division Manager, Europe Region, for UPS, shared a great deal of information about the UCC, the changes forthcoming and how companies can prepare for these changes.  There were several questions submitted that we did not have time to cover, and Mr. Van der Meiren has agreed to answer those here.  Our first post discussed the timing of the changes and how a company can prepare.  Today’s questions deal with the changes to some of the programs and what’s still in review.

If you missed the live webcast, you can view it on-demand here.

Q. What is the timing to get more details on Self-Assessment, Single Window, Transit, and Export that are currently being review in workgroups?

A. Currently the Implementing Provisions, being the Implementing and Delegated acts, are being reviewed with the Member States and Trade. This happens in 2 review cycles. The first one – to which you referred - ended in July (and that gives us a good overview of where we are), the second one will end by the end of the year. Both member states and trade have submitted comments, questions and changes. The Member States have submitted 6000 comments, Trade about 1000. The goal is to finalize the complete Delegating Acts & Implementing Acts by mid next year.

Parallel to these review cycles there are workshops on simplifications taking place between the Commission, Member States and trade experts. I, for instance, am invited to join the Customs 2020 high-level seminar on the future of electronic customs with special focus on single window implementation in the customs union that will take place in October 2014. The purpose of these workshops is to define the business processes and translate them into delegated and implementing acts. The implementation of the simplifications will be dictated by the timing of the supporting EDI systems, as laid out in the UCC work program.


Q. Are points like last sale concluded or still being reviewed/under discussion?

A. The race is not run, but this is a discussion that has been going on for years.  Neither trade nor the member states that effectively use the first sale principle and want to keep it were able to convince the commission. We have had a lot of meetings with the commission, with John Malone and other experts, and they will keep their position. Yes, there will be another review cycle, and yes, we are putting in comments, but it is going to be very hard to make the Commission change their point of view.


Q. What will the transit simplification look like?

A. Customs’ processes for air transit movements take place in a very tight and limited time window. NCTS is not the proper platform to process this high number of movements. That is why the Modernized Customs code with article 233 foresaw the authorisation to make a simplified transit declaration with a reduced data set.

Currently, there are workshops on transit taking place, and the purpose is to make a proposal that allows an airline which holds the status of AEO (C) or meets the criteria to obtain the status of art 38.2 (a) UCC may be authorised to use a single manifest transmitted by data exchange systems as a transit declaration if it operates a significant number of flights or voyages between the Member States.


Q. Is there a possibility that new AEO benefits will be added?  

A. Certainly. Existing today are the Waive of Guarantees and less controls, although that last one is also very country dependent.

Further requests could be:

  • Waiver of entry summary declarations and pre-departure declarations, or the use of a “Global declaration” instead of individual entry summary declarations in the import sector or individual pre-departure declarations in the export sector
  • Simplifications in relation with the application of simplified procedures (e.g. an AEO fulfils in general the requirements of the “Local Customs Clearance” and the special form of “Entry in the accounts at participant’s accounting department without notification is regarded as release”)
  • Declaration of the customs procedure at the end of the month, after release (advantage: neither customs administration nor the declarant would have the additional workload they have today in relation with a correction of the customs procedure)


Q. The ‘de minimis value’ for import duties is 150 Euro, the VAT remains in most member states at 22 Euro. Will that change?

A. It is not impossible, and it would make sense. The question is – what are the collection costs, and do they outweigh the gains from the collected duties?

However, as today, we work with different thresholds for duty and for VAT, what would be perfectly possible is to simplify the customs declaration for shipments with a transactional value of 150 Euro, by, for instance, using a generic Harmonized Tariff code, which corresponds with the applicable VAT percentage. This would significantly speed up and simplify customs clearance.


Stay tuned to Global Trade News for more Question & Answer from the UCC webcast with Mr. Van der Meiren.