The European Commission has welcomed the European Parliament's approval on 23rd February under the co-decision procedure of a Regulation amending the EU customs code so as to improve the security and safety of goods crossing Community borders. The Regulation, which is based on a Commission's proposal of July 2003 (see IP/03/1100), provides for the electronic exchange of information between customs offices on movements of goods; requires traders to provide customs authorities with information on goods prior to their import into or export from the European Union via electronic summary declarations; and introduces a Community-wide computerised system for risk management. At the same time it aims to speed up border processing for legitimate traders. The Regulation is an EU response to the global concern about protecting the international supply chain from terrorism.
"I am very pleased that the European Parliament and the Council have agreed to this Regulation providing better security not only for EU citizens but also for the EU's trading partners" said Taxation and Customs Commissioner László Kovács. "At the same time, the Regulation facilitates legitimate trade and protects the international competitiveness of EU exporters".
The Regulation amending the Community Customs Code includes a number of measures to tighten security around goods crossing international borders. Its system of faster and more focused controls will benefit equally custom authorities, the public and traders. It will:
- introduce electronic information exchange between customs administrations;
- rationalise customs controls, concentrating those relating to safety and security alone at the place of entry or exit of goods into the Community, while transferring those concerning fiscal matters to the place where the trader is established;
- require traders to provide customs authorities with information on goods before they are imported into or exported from the European Union, via electronic summary declarations;
- provide reliable traders with special, user-friendly options; and
- introduce risk selection criteria that will apply throughout the Community and that will be supported by a co-ordinated computerised system.
At present, while all Member States are active in working to prevent dangerous or defective goods from entering the EU, the measures applied, the priorities and the investment in equipment and resources differ from one Member State to another. The harmonisation of security controls through this Regulation will in particular allow a better response at Community level to new threats.
The Regulation will also mean that the tightening of the rules to meet international concerns about security will take place via a common EU approach and not by way of bilateral agreements between third countries and individual Member States that create level playing field problems for EU traders.
The Regulation will enter into force once the Presidents of the Council and Parliament sign the text.
For more information see:
See also MEMO/05/60