Customs Duties to be modernised by the ECC

Alongside weightier matter like the correct length and shape of a banana, the EC Commission have been busy agreeing the final text for the Union Customs Code (UCC) [formally the Modernisation of the Customs Code  MCC], of goods and materials, which is now scheduled to enter into force on 1 November 2013.

This has been a major exercise for the commission, and should bring in some long awaited reliefs and harmonisation. For example, we expect guarantees for special procedures and the concepts of Centralised Clearance and Self-Assessment to be formally introduced; further simplification around AEO to be agreed, and the “First Sales for Export” concept to be maintained. 

EC policymakers will now turn their attention to the UCC implementing provisions, which will provide much needed detail on how new concepts and procedures will work in practice.  Overall, these measures are to be applauded but sadly it doesn’t look like the complicated world of customs duty will be made much simpler in the short term. There are myriad ways in which an incorrect classification can result in Duty being overpaid, and the complexities surrounding reliefs (especially regarding specific trade sectors) is a headache for all but the dedicated Duty Expert.

If you import goods from outside the EU then it’s almost inevitable that you pay some form of Customs Duty. Experience has shown that this is an area that many business people (and professionals) struggle to get to grips with so for a no-obligation review of your affairs contact your local Burgis & Bullock office on 0845 177 5500 or use the online form

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