Union Customs Code reform – a BusinessEurope position paper
- EU Customs are subject to increasing pressures from enormous e-commerce volumes to ever-growing non-financial measures. The UCC reform is therefore more urgent than ever. BusinessEurope fully supports this reform, which is crucially needed. Thus, we urge the Commission to work on an even shorter implementation timeframe than foreseen in its reform proposal, provided businesses are given at least 18 months lead time to prepare. Customs policy plays a major role in the competitiveness of European businesses, and ensuring the right balance between trade controls and the facilitation of legitimate trade is extremely important. Regular business consultation and pilot testing will be key requirements for a successful implementation ensuring that businesses are ready in time for implementation.
- BusinessEurope has requested the implementation of simplifications, including self-assessment, for Authorised Economic Operators for years. The Trust & Checked trader program should be foreseen in a much shorter timeframe. Before having the Trust & Checked trader scheme in place, real simplifications and trade facilitations, including self-assessment, should be implemented for the economic operators that currently hold the AEO status.
- The UCC reform should foresee the use of the latest available technology such as artificial intelligence for customs simplifications and trade facilitation. The security of data, especially business sensitive information, should be a key priority of the EU Customs Data Hub.
- The EU Customs Authority should not entail another layer of bureaucracy for businesses. The Authority should steer, coordinate, and support national customs authorities to ensure harmonized customs procedures, especially with regards to the implementation of the UCC across the EU.
- Going forward, many important details of the future UCC will be defined via delegated and implementing acts. It is very important that the European Commission taps into the expertise of business in order to get those details right. In particular, the customs legislation should build on the processes of businesses as much as possible to allow for the foreseen simplifications to take full effect. Continued consultation and engagement with businesses is key. A regular structured/formalised dialogue should be established, and appropriate consultations carried out with business e.g. through DG TAXUD’s Trade Contact Group.