Recently Integration Point held a webcast on the European Union’s (EU) Union Customs Code (UCC) and what organizations need to know now that we are almost one year away from implementation.  The presenters were from the United Kingdom’s HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) team that has been working on the UCC. During the webcast there were several questions that we were not able to answer due to time. The panel agreed to provide answers to those questions to be posted here.  Today’s post is our last in this series and covers general questions asked about the UCC.

Previous Q&A posts dealt with the following topics and links are provided to those posts as well.

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

Will HMRC be issuing UCC public notices before 1st May 2016?­

All relevant public notices will be updated prior to 1 May 2016.


How different would this be Union Customs Code from the Harmonized tariff code from the World Trade Organization? The first 6 digit numbers are valid worldwide, so how would this change?

The UCC is a piece of legislation, whereas the Harmonised tariff code is a trade facilitation standard which categorises goods through a series of numbered codes recognised on a global scale

The aim of the EU, in writing up the legislation for the Union Customs Code, was to primarily deliver a piece of legislation to address and cope with the processing of electronic based customs declarations and notifications. One of the key elements within declarations is the identification of goods. This in the past has been through the submission of a description of goods, supported by a tariff nomenclature reference in the form of a Harmonised System, recognised on a global basis.

The legal provisions which are being amalgamated into the UCC include declarations for imports, exports and transit purposes. The legislation also addresses the identification of goods for import and export risk identification purposes. Where there is a need to establish and classify goods to confirm liability for Customs Debts, the granularity and precision of HS codes is greater within customs fiscal declarations. Dependent on the particular legal requirements, HS codes for the purposes of risk targeting may be reduced e.g. to the first 6 digits of the HS code.

The EU Data Integration and Harmonisation Committee have committed to full alignment, wherever possible to the data standards of the World Customs Organisation Data Model. This globally accepted data model adopts, as a key principle, the use of HS Codes.



What are your thoughts on the timing of when the single authorisation for imports will be available?

We don’t fully understanding the question but the European Commission have indicated that Centralised Clearance (CC) for Imports and Exports will be implemented once the IT systems to support CC are delivered. The IT systems are currently scheduled to be delivered in 2020.


With the integration of IT systems will there still be a requirement to keep paper records?

The UCC requires that all communications between customs authorities and economic operators must be electronic. The UCC does not dictate how an economic operator must keep their records. Although the UCC and its supporting legislation are designed with an electronic environment in mind, there is no mandatory requirement for electronic record keeping.