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Food industry

Export Refunds Management

Refund certificates management

The refund certificate system for Non Annex I goods entered into force on 1 March 2000. From that date the granting of export refunds on Non Annex I goods became conditional, other than in the case of small exporters, on the production of a valid refund certificate. The aim of the refund certificate system is to ensure that the EU complies with its obligations under international agreements to limit the payment of export refunds in respect of Non Annex I goods.

The refund certificate system enables exporters of Non Annex I goods to know in advance if their exports are eligible for a refund compatible with the EU's commitments, or where this can no longer be the case to be informed thereof sufficiently in advance. The issue of a refund certificate makes it possible to monitor refund applications and to guarantee that refunds can be paid to certificate holders up to the amount stated on the certificate, provided that the certificate holder complies with the other conditions for refunds laid down in the EU rules. The issue of a refund certificate obliges the holder to apply for refunds to the amount for which the refund certificate has been issued on goods exported during the validity period of the refund certificate. To ensure compliance with this obligation, applicants for refund certificates are required to lodge a security equal to 10% of the amount applied for.

Refund certificates issued for a single budget period may be applied for separately in six tranches. Applications for certificates may be submitted at the latest on:

  • (a) 7 September for certificates for use from 1 October;
  • (b) 7 November for certificates for use from 1 December;
  • (c) 7 January for certificates for use from 1 February;
  • (d) 7 March for certificates for use from 1 April;
  • (e) 7 May for certificates for use from 1 June;
  • (f) 7 July for certificates for use from 1 August.

Operators may submit an application for a refund certificate only for the tranche corresponding to the first closing date, as set out under points (a) to (f), following the date of submission. Where applications to a tranche exceed the amounts available under that tranche a reduction coefficient is applied to applications.

Exporters of processed agricultural products can submit applications for refund certificates, during the period defined in Article 29 of Commission Regulation 578/2010. In accordance with Article 30 of Commission Regulation 578/2010, Member States must notify the Commission of the total amounts of refunds applied for. Based on this information, the Commission is able to set a reduction coefficient in order to honor the international agreements in relation to the available budget.

If no reduction coefficient is applied, applications for refund certificates for any amount remained available for that tranche may be lodged on a weekly basis up to the closing date of the next period.

Small exporters

An annual reserve of € 80 million has been set aside for "small exporters".

This was initially set up for "small exporters" who did not hold a refund certificate since the beginning of the budget period in question and on the date of export. However, since the middle of 2008, each exporter is exempt from the requirement to be in possession of a valid refund certificate on the date of export in order to claim export refunds if the applications for export refunds under this regime in the budget year in question do not exceed €200.000. If an exporter exceeds the €200.000 threshold in a budget period he will not be paid refunds on the excess, except under cover of a refund certificate.

Inward Processing Regime

Where there is a forecasted shortfall between the demand for Non Annex I Export Refunds and the amounts available for payment of those refunds, there is provision for a system of admission of certain quantities of certain agricultural products under inward processing arrangements without prior examination of the economic conditions, to bridge the shortfall.

The quantities of basic products available under this provision are determined with the aid of a supply balance. This supply balance is drawn up by the Commission based on a comparison between available funds and the forecast refund requirements - account being taken of the situation on the Community market for the commodities concerned, so as to ensure prudent management. These quantities are subject to review at regular intervals in order to take account of developments in economic and regulatory factors. The total quantities available under this scheme are to be published no later than 30 September of each year.

These quantities are allocated by way of Inward Processing (IP) Certificates. Applications for IP certificates are limited to those operators who are titular holder of a valid refund certificate or who were the titular holders of a refund certificate in the previous budget period. However, operators who were granted a refund from the small exporter's reserve during the current or previous budget period may also apply.

IP certificates are valid until the end of the third month following that in which they are applied for. On presentation during its period of validity of an IP certificate or an extract therefrom, an operator may make a single application to the customs authority in a Member State for authorization to use inward processing arrangements for a quantity of basic products less than or equal to the quantity referred to in the certificate (the economic conditions referred to in Article 117(c) of regulation (EEC) No 2913/92 shall be deemed to have been met).

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