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Taxation and Customs Union

The role of Customs Controls

Customs are involved in the implementation and enforcement of EU legislation on import and export from and to non-EU countries.

Previously, customs controls focussed more on the fiscal aspects of customs work, but in recent years, there has been an increasing emphasis on the importance of customs controls for purposes such as security, safety and protection of the environment.

This includes controls on:

  • The duties to be paid, and the correct description of the goods, their origin and value
  • Security and safety measures (smuggling, drugs, cigarettes, weapons, counterfeited products, fight against terrorism)
  • Compliance with environmental legislation
  • Compliance with Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) rules
  • Health requirements, veterinary, phytosanitary and quality regulations.

In addition, customs are also often supporting the work of other services such as police and immigration services.

Operating in a fast-moving environment

Customs controls must be quick, effective and based on modern risk management techniques in order not to disrupt trade flows in a fast-moving economy.

Effective controls, avoiding unnecessary delays or costs for economic operators is achieved through…

  • close co-operation with business, particularly when it comes to exchange of information.
  • the use of modern IT techniques and tools
  • highly specialised examination equipment
  • efficient risk management methods