Implementing Risk management in the EU
The development of risk management policy needs to be based on a number of common elements viz.
- Existence of an adequate risk management capability in all MS and candidate countries supported by the necessary IT infrastructure
- Method for communicating, exchanging and accessing risk information
- Common approach to the prioritisation of risk and the associated customs action most appropriate
- The link between risk rating and trade facilitation measures e.g. authorised trader programmes
Supported by the Customs 2007 programme, a project group is established consisting of delegates from the participating countries customs administrations and the Commission.
It is proposed that a project group should now carry out a "risk-mapping" exercise. The mapping exercise is a means to ensure that all Member States and Candidate countries are aware of the essential elements needed to underpin a Community approach to risk management and will help establish current best practice to the benefit of all.
Post-clearance audit control is identified as a priority under the Customs 2007 Decision Article 4b of Decision 253/2003/EC of 11 February 2003.
Post-clearance audit is a method of controlling economic operators through examination of their accounts and records. It should also be seen as trade facilitation if it is used to simplify clearance procedures.
Several proposals for initiatives by Member States on the subject of audit have been submitted under the Customs 2007 programme and relate to issues such as improved control methods, continuing the work on standards for the different kind of controls, exchange of experience and best working practices, and improving the existing controls at every point of the customs territory.
Regarding the proposals submitted the following key issues have been identified for possible examination:
- Common definition of audit
- Role of risk-analyses in audit
- Develop and apply best working practises
- Develop a common EU approach to audit
- Establish and use of common standards
- Co-operation between audit teams of different participating countries and exchange of information
In order to achieve a co-ordinated approach in the application of audit as a control method, a project group has been established to examine and analyse the issues related to audit. The aim of this project is to develop the essential elements needed to carry out a post clearance audit in order to ensure it provides a basis in practical terms for a common approach and to list minimal standards to be met to obtain recognition within the Community. This project group will report back to the Working Methods Group with an action plan and timetable for possible further actions under the Customs 2007 programme.
Under the Customs 2002 programme the Commission and Member States developed and tested in practice a common approach to the risk assessment and accreditation of economic operators.
The model that was developed and tested in a pilot action is called COMPACT which forms the basis for further examination by the EU Member States on how a common approach to the risk assessment of economic operators can be implemented in practice.
A key element of this model is a comprehensive catalogue of risk indicatorswhich presents a detailed list of questions in distinct risk areas which can be used to measure the threat of non-compliance with EU Community (and National) legislation.
Together with the participating countries, the European Commission is considering how to move forward the results of the pilot action within the framework of the Customs 2007 programme.
Objective of the use of the RIF
The purpose of the RIF is to exchange risk information dealing with routine control concerns. A RIF should raise the awareness of the offices concerned with regard to a potential irregularity. A RIF can be prepared following a finding of an irregularity (for example a misdeclaration or finding of counterfeit or undeclared CITES goods). The RIF could give information on the technique used to find the irregularity, for example the result of a physical examination or a classification decision.
The RIF is aimed at being a simple and easy to use form which can be exchanged rapidly directly between customs offices. The RIF can be used to support targeting and risk analysis in a simple and effective manner at the external frontier.
Several pilot actions have been carried out in partnership between the Commission and the EU Member States on the distribution of the RIF.
An example of the use of the RIF is the dissemination by the Commission to all Member States and Candidate Countries risk analysis centres, information regarding the protection measures relating to avian influenza in Thailand. EU customs have been given detailed information to include in their risk assessment strategies to support their controls in the fight against the possible illegal importation of prohibited poultry products from Thailand.