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EuropeParliament adopts its position on major reform of EU Customs Code |...

Parliament adopts its position on major reform of EU Customs Code | News

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The EU Customs Code needs a thorough revamp due to the exponential growth of e-commerce and many new product standards, bans, obligations and sanctions the EU has put in place in recent years. The reform introduces new tools and puts in place simpler processes to help customs authorities to work more efficiently and focus on checking the riskiest goods, shipments and traders.

New approach to e-commerce

Consumers order more and more goods from third countries online. These goods do not necessarily meet the EU’s safety or environmental standards and legal norms. Additionally, approximately 65% of parcels entering the EU are deliberately undervalued, which leads to a significant loss in revenue.

The new regulation places a bigger responsibility on web platforms, which would be obliged to submit information to EU customs authorities within one day about purchased goods to be shipped to the EU. This leads to a better overview of incoming shipments and enables customs authorities to target their checks, focusing on goods and traders that might not comply with EU norms.

Simpler procedures for trusted partners

Companies and traders who agree to go through rigorous preliminary checks and controls would gain more freedoms in their dealings with customs authorities later. The most trustworthy companies would get a trusted trader status and could then operate with minimal checks and paperwork. This in turn would enable customs agents to focus on riskier businesses and shipments instead.

New digital solutions

The reform establishes a new IT platform called EU DataHub as the main working tool for all European customs authorities. Businesses would find it easier to communicate with and submit information to authorities. Customs authorities would be able to analyse data more accurately, including with the help of AI, to help them check suspicious inconsistencies, potential tax fraud and risks related to certain companies or goods, for example.

Quote

Rapporteur, Deirdre Clune (EPP, IE), said: “There is a critical need for a revised EU customs system. Not only must it guarantee the safety and compliance of goods entering the EU, but it must also function with utmost efficiency for businesses operating within the single market. The proposed Customs Data Hub is a vital step forward, but its swift implementation, alongside other key reforms, is essential to meet growing challenges.”

Next steps

Parliament’s first reading position was adopted with 486 votes in favour to 19 against and 97 abstentions. The file will be followed up by the new Parliament after the 6-9 June European elections.

Background

The Commission presented the proposal to reform the EU Customs Code in May 2023. The package contains three separate legal acts: the main regulation that establishes the EU Customs Code and the EU Customs Authority, a Council regulation on simplified tariff treatment for the distance sales and elimination of the customs duty relief threshold and a Council directive on a special scheme for distance sales of goods imported from third countries and import VAT. Parliament is a co-legislator on the first one.

In adopting its position, Parliament is responding to citizens’ expectations for the EU to reduce bureaucracy, combat counterfeiting and unfair competition and consolidate the Single Market, as expressed in proposals 12(17), 12(18) and 12(20) of the conclusions of the Conference on the Future of Europe.

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