Conference on Customs co-operation at the EU's Eastern border, Muonio, Finland, 14-15 December 2006
A high-level Conference on customs co-operation at the Eastern border of the EU, organised by the European Commission and Finland, took place on 14 and 15 December 2006 in Muonio, Finnish Lapland. This conference represented a major step in enhancing co-operation between all customs administrations in the region. It also proved to be a key landmark in the process of aligning customs procedures and standards on the EU acquis. The Conference was financed by the Commission under the "Customs 2007" programme.
The Conference brought together the Directors General of Customs of the EU Member States, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine, as well as the European Commission. It was a follow up to the Conference on Customs and Cross-Border Cooperation held in Kiev in October 2005.
The Directors-General acknowledged the progress achieved by customs administrations in the region and encouraged its continuation. They also endorsed action plans charting the way ahead in terms of practical measures to be taken, in particular regarding the alignment of customs legislation and procedures on the basis of common standards in line with the best international and EU practices. This aims at reconciling safety and security, trade facilitation and the fight against fraud, as well as improving procedures and administrative capacity.
Two technical working groups, on trade facilitation and procedures, and on safety, security and the fight against fraud respectively, were established and mandated with the implementation of the action plans in preparation for the next high-level conference, which will take place in 2008.
On 23 November 2006 the Commission organised a conference for representatives of beneficiary countries of the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP). Around 60 countries and organisations attended.
The conference which took place in Brussels was opened by the Commissioner for Taxation and the Customs Union Kovács (see opening speech). It aimed at informing beneficiary countries about the state of play concerning the reform of GSP rules of origin and to hear their opinions on the main options before the Commission finalises its proposals.
Many participants made active contributions, which highlighted once again the need for change (see photo).
Conference on Customs Co-operation in South East Europe
The second high-level Conference on Customs Co-operation between countries of South-East Europe took place on 16-17 November in Naples, Italy.
The conference, funded under the EU "Customs 2007" programme, was a major step in enhancing co-operation between all customs administrations in the region in order to improve border security while facilitating legitimate trade.
The conference was jointly organised by the European Commission and Italy. It brought together the Directors general of Customs of Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey and the United Nations Interim Mission in Kosovo, as well as the European Commission.
The Naples meeting was a follow-up to the first conference held in 2004. Customs administrations of South-East Europe had since then introduced reforms in order to approximate their legislation and their procedures to EU standards.
The results of the work of the Conference are reflected in the following documents:
- Declaration of the Directors General
- Final conclusions of the working group on procedures and administrative capacity
- Final conclusions of the working group on the means to reconcile safety and security, trade facilitation and the fight against fraud
The objective of AIS is to allow customs offices involved in import procedures to exchange electronic messages related to the different stages of the operation and the various actors (traders, customs, and other governmental administrations). This aims at
- Providing all necessary information,
- Automating the administrative flow of the operation,
- Increasing the effectiveness of controls, and
- Accelerating the flow of goods.
The seminar will focus mainly on the first phase of AIS, which will cover the exchange of electronic pre-arrival declarations and risk information, based on Regulation (EC) No 648/2005. User requirements for the first phase will be discussed, as well as other issues to be considered for the development and introduction of AIS.
A high level seminar takes place on 1-3 March 2006 in Innsbruck to discuss a European strategy for the concept of a single window at EU level for international trade. The seminar is organised jointly by the European Commission and the Austrian EU presidency.
As an essential part of the Electronic Customs Initiative, the 'Single Window' should enable traders to submit all the documents required for the movement of goods across EU borders under customs and other legislation (agricultural, sanitary, veterinary, and environmental, for instance) only once as all the authorities and agencies involved in the process will have access to the information submitted. (lien vers page node 134)
The main objectives of the seminar include
- Getting a common understanding of the concept of a 'Single Window';
- Agreeing on a common approach for the implementation of the Single Window;
- Developing a Single Window strategy.
The Customs 2007 Project Group on Single European Authorisation (SEA) has been given a mandate to examine a common approach, in order to encourage the use of single authorisations under the current Council Regulation (EEC) No 2913/92 , not only for customs procedures with economic impact and end-use, but also at import and at export, including cases in which a customs procedure with economic impact is followed by release for free circulation.
The European Commission, together with the Austrian customs administration, is hosting a conference on Single European Authorisation as a follow up to the Helsinki Seminar on centralised clearance, to bring Member States, accession and candidate countries, trade, industry, freight forwarding and transport circles together with the European Commission, with the purpose of discussing the results of Project Group on SEA and clarifying the concept of single authorisation for simplified procedures.
The Project Group has worked on the following issues:
- to draft a proposal amending the Customs Code Implementing Provisions (CCIP), Commission Regulation (EEC) No 2454/93, introducing a definition of single authorisation for simplified procedures as well as the relevant application/authorisation consultation procedure;
- to create an application/authorisation form for simplified procedures, to be used both when only one (national authorisation) and more than one (single authorisation) Member State is involved;
- to draft a joint understanding on co-operation, to cover the exchange of information, the supervision of the procedure, the way of sharing the national part of own resources, etc;
- to draft guidance regarding guarantees, the control plan, VAT, statistics, prohibitions and restrictions, disputes and appeals, irregularities, the transfer of the perception costs (national share of own resources) to help the Member States to solve problems arising, particularly where different national laws apply at release for free circulation.
The results of the work of the Project Group are reflected in the following working documents:
- Single European Authorisation (TAXUD/1262/2005 ) + annex 1 + annex 2 + annex 3 );
- SEA/Guidance (TAXUD /1284/2005 );
- SEA/Collection costs (TAXUD/1285/2005 ).
- SEA Seminar Working Group Sessions (TAXUD/1402/2005 ).
The seminar will be conducted in the form of presentations, followed by detailed examination and discussion of selected topics by Working Groups; the main conclusions (TAXUD/1413/2006 ) achieved from the debates will be reported to the Plenary. You will find detailed information in the programme .