Taxation and customs union

Individual Projects

This section gives an overview of the major projects making up the electronic customs initiative, whose more detailed descriptions and schedules are to be found in the Multi-Annual Strategic Plan. The projects will serve the needs of businesses and/or customs administrations, complementing one another in their scope and purpose.

The Automated Import System and Automated Export System together with NCTS aim to ease the customs procedures (export, import and transport), avoiding duplication at EU level. The Single Electronic Access Point and Single Window will bring traders the benefits of the single market from a purely customs and a more general perspective respectively. The Authorised Economic Operator system will give reliable businesses a chance to benefit from simplifications in the security and safety area. The Economic Operators' Registration and Identification system will establish a unique system of registration and identification for economic operators in the EU. Single Authorisations for Simplified Procedures (if adopted) will use the European dimension to eliminate paperwork. Last but not least, the electronic customs initiative will be supported by information tools providing data in specific fields such as the EU Customs Information Portal . The Integrated Tariff Environment project, the Risk Management Framework and the Registered Exporters system will improve information availability in their respective areas.

 New Computerised Transit System (NCTS) - Security and Safety Aspects

NCTS, being the first and currently only fully computerised and operational customs system working in all Member States (as well as in EFTA countries - Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland) is to be updated in its features as required by Regulation (EC) 648/2005 and its implementing provisions. One of the main adjustments will be the incorporation of the data elements as required by the regulation.


The objective of this application (currently in the pilot phase) is to provide full control of the European leg of TIR movements and to facilitate the termination/discharge of TIR operations within the Community by replacing the return of Voucher No 2 with the sending of NCTS messages.

 Automated Import System

The objective of the Automated Import System is to ensure that import operations started in one Member State can be completed in another Member State without re-submission of the same information. This includes the exchange of electronic messages related to the different stages of the operations amongst the various actors (customs, traders and other governmental administrations). The first phase of the implementation, Import Control System, is aimed to provide for the handling of pre-arrival declarations (under security and safety amendment Regulation (EC) 648/2005) and the link of the information with risk analysis.

 Automated Export System (AES)

The objective of the Automated Export System is to ensure that export operations started in one Member State can be finalised in another Member State without re-submission of the same information. This includes the exchange of electronic messages related to the different stages of the operations amongst the various actors (customs, traders and other governmental administrations). This project was divided in 3 phases:

  • Export Control System (ECS) phase 1 - exit "fiscal" control - provides for the full control of the conclusion of export operations via the electronic exchange of export/exit information between customs offices of export and customs offices of exit, in particular where different Member States are involved. This replaces the current return of paper copy No. 3 of the export declaration (to enter into operation in January 2007 with the full availability in all Member States in July 2007);
  • ECS phase 2 - exit "security" control - provides for the electronic handling of exit summary declarations under the security amendment Regulation (EC) 648/2005 and will, inter alia, require additional information to be included in export declarations for safety and security purposes. It builds upon and keeps the functions of ECS Phase 1;
  • AES - full deployment - will build on and contain the functionalities of ECS Phases 1 and 2 and, in particular, will introduce the central clearance approach.

 Economic Operators' Registration and Identification system (EORI)

The objective of the Economic Operators' Registration and Identification System is to establish a unique system of registration and identification for economic operators in the EU as laid down in Regulation (EC) 312/2009.

The guidelines to ensure uniform implementation and a common understanding of the legislation concerning EORI have been prepared.

For further information related to specific EU Member States please contact the appointed contact points in the Member States

The previous version of the EORI Guidelines is available here

 Authorised Economic Operator (AEO)

Authorised economic operators (as defined in Regulation (EC) 648/2005) will benefit from facilitations with regard to customs controls relating to security and safety and/or from simplifications provided for in the implementing provisions to Regulation (EC) 648/2005. The implementing provisions will also specify the criteria for granting the status which will be recognised in all Member States.

The information and communication system supporting the concept of the Authorised Economic Operators will e.g. enable the national administrations of the Member States to grant AEO status (including online consultations) and will provide access to the list of the AEOs for business needs.

 Single Authorisations for Simplified Procedures

Under the proposed legal basis, the objective is to establish a single authorisation for simplified procedures in the EU where more than one customs administration is involved in the application of such an authorisation and to create an IT system to manage the demands, decisions and information flow related to the management of the single authorisations for simplified procedures.

 Registered Exporters established in third countries

The objective of the Registered Exporters system is to make available up to date and complete information on registered exporters established in third countries involved in the export of goods to the EU having a preferential tariff rate based upon compliance with the applicable preferential rules of origin. Registered Exporters are seen as known and trusted partners in a particular set of rules of origin.

The Commission is considering setting up a system to disseminate information concerning Registered Exporters which will be available throughout the EU for authorised users.

 Single Electronic Access Point

Single Electronic Access Points will allow traders to lodge their electronic pre-arrival/pre-departure, summary and full customs declarations via one single interface of their choice which connects their system with all Member States' customs systems. The data is automatically made available to any customs office responsible for the place at which goods have been, or are to be, presented, irrespective of the Member State concerned.

 Integrated Tariff Environment

The aim of the project is to improve interconnection between the already existing tariff related IT systems in order to achieve re-use of data and/or functionality of one system to another (e.g. descriptions of CN codes owned by the CN system are to be re-used by TARIC) and to harmonise the interfaces of the different inter-related tariff systems with the Member States without redundancy of data.

 Risk Management Framework (RMF)

The objective of the Risk Management Framework is to provide for the rapid, direct and secure exchange of risk information to support targeting of consignments for customs controls and for the Commission to be able to disseminate information concerning Community-wide threats.

The first phase of the RMF, the electronic Risk Information Form (RIF) system, was launched in April 2005. The second phase involves an upgrade of the RIF system to include new user requirements arising from the practical experience gained by the users of the system.

The next phase will involve enhancing the RIF system to permit the secure electronic transmission and management of common Community risk profiles, requiring mandatory control action by Member States. These risk profiles will relate to priority control areas as required under the new rules concerning a Community Risk Management Framework laid down in Regulation (EC) 648/2005 and the corresponding implementing provisions.

 EU Customs Information Portal

EU Customs Information Portal will enable economic operators to access information related to import/export requirements, as well as information on the operational status of movements through a customs information portal. Such a portal would mainly contain all relevant information about rules on the movement of goods across borders, and also relevant information from domains other than pure customs (e.g. agricultural, environmental and other legislation). Links will be provided to more detailed and/or national information featuring on the customs information portals of the national customs administrations.

 Single Window

The objective of Single Window (see below) is to enable economic operators to lodge electronically and once only all the information required by customs and non-customs legislation for EU cross-border movements of goods.

The envisaged national single windows will be connected to one another and will be supported by the Single Electronic Access Point (SEAP).

Single window at Community level

Annex I: Inventory of certificates listed in TARIC

Annex II: Inventory of existing electronic systems/documents and initiatives on electronic exchange of information, under Directorate General Taxation & Customs Union's competence

Annex III: Inventory of existing electronic systems/documents and initiatives related to customs procedures, under other Directorates General's competence

Annex IV: Scientific projects

Annex V: United Nations Economic Commission for Europe - The Single Window Concept

Annex VI: Presentations by participants of the inter-DG co-ordination group

Annex VII: Case studies: Information on Member States' and third countries' single window approach

Annex VIII: SITPRO - Single window and potential benefits to UK business

Annex IX : Web links