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Customs policy governs the import and export rules, procedures and tariffs for all trade in goods. As a result, customs policy covers many issues such as product classification, removing unsafe products and tariffs (if any) to be paid for importing products.

BusinessEurope supports efforts aimed at reducing trade costs and simplifying and harmonising customs procedures between the EU and its trading partners. While tariffs are at an all-time low, the growing volume of trade in goods combined with production taking place in global value chains means that even removing low tariffs has a large impact on reducing trade costs. Nevertheless, non-tariff barriers such as quotas, licences and other issues presently form the biggest obstacle to a smooth low-cost international trading environment.

Tackling differences in customs regulation will benefit businesses of all sizes and in particular SMEs. Simplification and harmonisation of customs procedures will reduce administrative costs for companies and allow them to dedicate human resources to tasks that are critical for their business model. The Trade Facilitation Agreement reached by the WTO in December 2013 is an important step in this direction.

Internally, effective implementation of the Union Customs Code (UCC) should entail real simplification and cost benefits for companies. As top priorities we need workable rules of non-preferential origin, more tangible facilitation for trustworthy companies (authorised economic operators), no changes to customs valuation, and simpler and streamlined customs clearance procedures including centralised clearance and self-assessment. Only a successful and uniform implementation can effectively translate into less administrative burden and costs for companies, especially SMEs.


Position papers Date
World Customs Day: statement by members of the Trade Contact Group advising DG TAXUD 26/01/2023
Reform of the Union customs legislation - BusinessEurope's contribution to the public consultation 16/09/2022
Modernising the EU generalised system of preferences - a BusinessEurope position paper 01/03/2022
BusinessEurope’s priorities for EU customs policy 29/07/2020
Business federations call for the renewal of the Moratorium on Customs Duties on Electronic Transmissions 09/12/2019
European Commission proposal concerning rules of origin proof - BusinessEurope comments 27/03/2015
The Union Customs Code: Undermining or Strengthening EU Competitiveness? - Joint Statement by BusinessEurope and a number of European business federations 16/04/2013
Union Customs Code: BusinessEurope rejects multiple filing - BusinessEurope's position paper 15/04/2013
Benefits for the Authorised Economic Operator - a BusinessEurope position paper 06/09/2012
Proposal for a Union Customs Code - BusinessEurope comments 14/05/2012
Public letters Date
Working towards real advantages for Authorised Economic Operators - Multi-association letter to Dominik Schnichels 26/10/2021
Trade policy review - BusinessEurope contribution to the public consultation 13/11/2020
Impacts of COVID-19 in the area of customs - Letter from Markus J. Beyrer to EU Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni 08/04/2020
BusinessEurope's views on the Union Customs Code - Letter from Luisa Santos to Anna Maria Corazza Bildt MEP 20/06/2017
EU businesses call for a Union Customs Code that continues to support the global supply chain, economic recovery and innovation 16/09/2015
BusinessEurope position on non-preferential rules of origin - Letter from Markus J. Beyrer to Commissioner Pierre Moscovici 17/07/2015
Trilogue negotiations on the Union Customs Code - Letter from Adrian van den Hoven to Tom Hanney, Deputy Permanent Representative of Ireland 19/03/2013
Customs valuation - First sale - Letter from Philippe de Buck to Commissioner Algirdas Semeta 21/02/2012
Local clearance procedure - Letter from Philippe de Buck to Heinz Zourek 20/02/2012
Reports and studies Date
A trade strategy fit for the 21st century 29/04/2019
Brexit: the customs implications and solutions 12/06/2018
Press releases Date
Brexit: EU and UK must deliver good customs solutions 13/06/2018
Speeches Date
Annual meeting of French Customs Authorities, 5 June 2013, Brussels - Intervention by Adrian van den Hoven, BusinessEurope's Deputy Director General 05/06/2013


Elena Suárez Sánchez

Senior Adviser
+32 2 237 65 04
Last updated: 6 July 2016