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Union Customs Code instead of Modernised Customs Code

Regulation (EC) No 450/2008 of 23 April 2008 laying down the Community Customs Code (Modernised Customs Code) aimed at the adaptation of customs legislation to fit, but also to govern, the electronic environment for customs and trade. By doing so, it took the opportunity to carry out a major overhaul of the customs rules in order to make them simpler and better structured. This Regulation entered into force on 24 June 2008, but it is not yet applicable. It shall be applicable once its implementing provisions are in force and on 24 June 2013 at the latest.

The following reasons lead to the proposal to amend Regulation (EC) No 450/2008 (Modernised Customs Code or ‘MCC’) before it becomes applicable:

  • The implementation of a major part of the processes to be introduced depends on the definition and the development, by the Commission, the national customs administrations and the economic operators, of a wide range of electronic systems. This requires a complex set up of actions between the Member states, the trade community and the Commission, notably important investments in new EU wide IT systems and supporting activities as well as an unprecedented effort from the business community to operate according to new business models. It is now apparent that only a very limited number or even no new customs IT systems may be introduced in June 2013, the latest legal date for the implementation of the MCC.
  • A new task which intervened after the adoption of the Regulation (EC) No 450/2008 and is linked with the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty is the commitment made by the Commission to propose amendments to all basic acts in order to align them with the new provisions of the Lisbon Treaty concerning delegation of powers and the conferral of implementing powers before the end of the term of the Parliament.
  • This has an impact to the foreseen implementing provisions of the MCC which now have to be "split" between delegated acts and implementing acts in accordance with new empowerments in line with Articles 290 and 291 TFEU. Moreover, the "Community" Customs Code (Modernised Customs Code) has now to be renamed into "Union" Customs Code (UCC).
  • Finally, the joint work on the implementing provisions with Member States experts and trade representatives has also revealed the need to adjust some provisions of the MCC which are either no longer in line with changes introduced since 2008 to current customs legislation or have revealed (e.g. regarding the temporary storage of goods or a customs declaration through an entry of data in the declarant's records) difficult to implement through sound measures and workable business processes. The objective was nevertheless to limit such adjustments to what is absolutely necessary to ensure coherence in the processes.

Consequently the Commission found it was appropriate to proceed to a recast of Regulation (EC) No 450/2008 before its currently scheduled application, due to the following technical and procedural considerations:

  • the need to postpone the date of application of the MCC. That postponement shall be adopted before the ultimate deadline of 24 June 2013, currently laid down in Article 188(2) of the MCC Regulation for its application. It is appropriate to give administrations and economic operators adequate time to undertake the necessary investments and ensure a phased, binding but realistic implementation of electronic processes. The Commission will continue to work with all stakeholders with a view to ensuring that the new electronic processing environment will be operational at the latest by 31 December 2020. An agreed work programme and the Commission's proposal for the future FISCUS programme should provide the necessary support for this process;
  • the commitment to align the MCC on the requirements of the Lisbon Treaty, as regards the use by the Commission of either delegated or implementing powers to allow the MCC to be applied, in accordance with Articles 290 and 291 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and the new ‘Comitology’ Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 February 2011 laying down the rules and general principles concerning mechanisms for control by Member States of the Commission's exercise of implementing powers3;
  • the need to adjust some provisions that have proved difficult to implement; the text of the MCC needs to be adapted, where appropriate, to the outcome of the work on implementing processes and provisions, where it reveals a lack of adequacy between certain provisions of the code and the actual functioning of customs procedures (e.g. temporary storage) or where it takes into account the evolution since 2008 of legislation in other policy fields (e.g. transport safety and security).

Policy objectives remain those of the Regulation to be recast. All these reasons advocating for the recast of the former MCC were discussed with all parties involved, namely the Council (letter from Commissioner Semeta of 19 May 2011 to the Hungarian Presidency) and the European Parliament (letter from Commissioner Semeta of 19 May 2011 to the Chairman of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection), as well as with the economic operators in the Trade Contact Group and met their agreement. Support by the European Parliament in that respect is reflected in the 'Salvini Report' on the 'modernisation of customs in the internal market'.

Source: European Commission, 20-02-2012

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