Strategy for the evolution of the Customs Union

The European Commisison has launched last 1st april 2008 a new comunication related to the Strategy for the evolution of the Customs Union (COM2008 169 Final). The objective is to maintain the pivotal position of Customs as a modern, responsive partner to trade, protecting the fiscal, safety and security interests of the Community and cooperating with other government.

Common strategic objectives.

The Comunication establish five common objetives:

Protection: To protect society and the financial interests of the Community by:

  1. ensuring the correct and efficient collection of duties and taxes;
  2. applying effective measures against the movement of illicit, restricted and prohibited goods;
  3. further developing effective risk assessment to contribute to the fight against terrorist and criminal activity, including trade in illicit drugs, counterfeited and pirated goods;
  4. preventing, detecting and, within national frameworks, investigating and prosecuting for fraud or abuse of customs legislation;
  5. using mutual administrative assistance to ensure correct application of the law in customs and agricultural matters.

Competitiveness: To support the competitiveness of European companies by :

  1. modernising the environment and the working methods of customs (e.g. by foreseeing the use of systems-based approaches, increased harmonised working methods, etc.);
  2. implementing the paperless customs environment (electronic customs) and
  3. adopting a pro-active approach towards standards, by endorsing international standards such as those developed by the World

Customs Organization, where appropriate, and developing new EU standards, which could serve as a model world-wide.
Facilitation: To further facilitate legitimate trade by:

  1. designing and improving control systems which reduce the interference in the flow of goods as well as the administrative burden to the minimum necessary to achieve other public policy objectives such as security requirements and by
  2. providing facilitations to legitimate economic operators with a view to reducing compliance costs.

Control: To control and manage the supply chains used for the international movement of goods by:

  1. improving and strengthening effective checks at their optimum location (border or inland) in the supply chain;
  2. correctly and consistently implementing Community and national legislation relating to the control and movement of goods;
  3. enhancing effective and systematic sharing of risk information;
  4. giving consideration to the possibilities for sharing information with major trading partners in order to establish end-to-end control and management of the supply chain.

Cooperation: to maintain, develop and enhance good quality cooperation between the customs authorities of the Member States, between customs and other governmental agencies, and between customs and the business community by :

  1. deepening existing customs cooperation;
  2. coordinating action aimed at protecting the financial interest of the Community
  3. taking the lead in developing mechanisms to co-ordinate with other border-related agencies as seamlessly as possible (Single Window);
  4. improving the mechanisms for business co-operation and consultation.
  5. reinforcing international cooperation or mutual administrative assistance on customs issues through appropriate agreements with third countries and extend participation in international fora responsible for international law or decisions (such as embargoes, environmental agreements, IPR agreements, etc).

Common approach to develop new working methods and competences

What is the Customs Union of the European Union.

The Customs Union of the European Union (EU), celebrates 40 years on 1 July 2008. It is a foundation of the European Community. Since its creation, the Customs Union has been expanded both quantitatively - from 6 to 27 members, and qualitatively by becoming a Single Market. It has contributed to prosperity in Europe by facilitating trade both within the Union and with third countries.