Taxation and Customs Union

Customs security

Security aspects were first introduced into EU customs legislation in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in September 2001 in the United States.  

In 2005 the World Customs Organisation (WCO) adopted the SAFE Framework of Standards (SAFE) that introduced security measures for supply chains, including the requirement of advanced cargo data, security risk assessment, and an industry partnership programme, the so called Authorised Economic Operator or AEO. To date 169 WCO Members have signed a letter of intent to implement the standards of the WCO SAFE.

In the EU the Community Customs Code and the Customs Code Implementing Provisions were amended in 2005 and 2006 to include security aspects (Regulation (EC) 648/2005, 1875/2006). Main changes were the requirement to submit electronic data before the arrival of goods in the EU (the so called Entry Summary Declaration - ENS) and before the departure from the EU, the introduction of the Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) programme [link] and the establishment of a common risk analysis system.

After the Yemen Incident in October 2010 where a shipment containing improvised explosive devices was found onboard ofan air plane transiting the EU towards the US the focus of Customs Security shifted towards improving air cargo security. From the Customs perspective the objective is to use advanced electronic data for air cargo security purposes in order to identify high risk cargo before it will be loaded onboard of airplanes. The EU has conducted extensive work with the international partners (US, Canada, WCO, ICAO, UPU,) and stakeholders (IATA, TIACA, GEA, PostEurop, KPG) in the area of pre-loading advanced cargo information (PLACI). The results of this work are reflected in the provisions of the Union Customs Code and its Delegated and Implementing Acts. They will enter into force once the upgrade of the ICS (Import Control System) is operational.

The relevance of Customs Security has been underlined by global security concerns caused by recent terrorist incidents.  The “Punta Cana Resolution” adopted by the WCO Policy Commission in December 2015 encourages customs authorities to enhance security measures and advocates closer cooperation at national and international level and with other authorities.