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Security regulations for imports and exports

In April 2005, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union passed an amendment to the Customs Code (Regulation (EC) No 648/2005) with the objective of increasing security when importing and exporting goods into and out of the European Community. The details of this security amendment were regulated in the amendment to the Customs Code Implementing Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 1875/2006).

The objective is to harmonise customs controls and improve the protection of the EU’s external borders. The concept of the ‘secure supply chain’ will increasingly affect customs administrations and companies involved in the customs business.

The concept of the authorised economic operator (AEO) should simplify customs clearance for economic operators while also making it possible to implement customs controls more efficiently and in a more targeted manner and to tighten authorisation procedures for customs simplifications.

Security regulations

Since 1 July 2009, it has been obligatory to provide the customs authorities with security-related information on goods to be imported or exported into or out of the customs territory in good time. These ‘advance declarations’ must be provided in the form of summary import or export declarations or in the customs declarations before every import and every export.

Exception: the security regulations do not apply to trade in goods with Switzerland or Liechtenstein.

The changes described above sustainably influence the customs clearance procedure. Companies and customs administrations were required to prepare for the necessary changes before they came into force and these changes were considered when preparing the introduction of the Export Control System (ECS) and the Import Control System (ICS).

Furthermore, it should be noted that in the event of system failures (both of economic operators’ systems and customs administrations’ systems), Regulation (EC) No 312/2009 stipulates that new forms are to be used in which separate data fields for security-related information have been provided.

Further information is available at the European Commission website (Taxation and Customs Union).