What is it?
The Customs Union, characterised by an absence of internal borders, is an essential foundation of the European Union that applies to all trade in goods. Customs duties on imports and exports, as well as charges having equivalent effect between member states, are forbidden. At the external borders, the Common Customs Tariff, along with the Integrated Tariff, is applied to goods from third countries. The engineering industry relies significantly on imported inputs for the manufacture of our products. A well-functioning customs system is therefore of the highest importance for our companies.
Why is it important?
Until recently, the role of customs consisted primarily of collecting customs duties and indirect taxes at import. Numerous developments, including enlargement of the EU, the development of e-commerce and the threat of terrorist attacks, have altered the environment in which customs operate. Some non-compliant products enter the European market through its borders. Customs controls are key to ensure fair competition in Europe. Orgalime monitors developments in the EU customs environment in order to secure the interests of our companies. We understand that the competitiveness of our industry greatly depends on its ability to trade on the immediate availability of imported components for the manufacture of its products, and the EU customs system should be free of unnecessary barriers.
While Orgalime fully supports the objective of simplifying and modernising customs legislation and procedures in the EU and worldwide, we are concerned by the practical changes brought about by the Delegated Act linked to the Union Customs Code. Orgalime believes that a Union Customs Code that would simplify the customs procedure and would cut costs to business should be the aim of legislator, and only then would visibly benefit companies. Regarding some provisions of the Union Customs Code, i.e. rules of origin determination, we fear that introducing new European ‘list rules’ for determining the non-preferential origin of products under the Implementing Provisions of the Modernised (Union) Customs Code would result in unacceptable bureaucratic burdens for companies, as well as for national customs authorities. Furthermore, in Orgalime’s view, in order to guarantee that the EU’s economy can compete in a global context, it is essential that the customs system can smoothly exchange information and is provided with a range of interfaces with the trade, based on commonly used technology.
How we’ve been engaged
In the past, Orgalime has issued position papers on the reform of the Community Customs Code as well as on the modernisation of the European customs environment. We have also been providing our input to the Commission on the non-preferential rules of origin. Orgalime has participated in meetings with Commission officials and MEPs involved in the reform of the customs environment, and continues to monitor recent developments.