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Taxation and Customs Union

Pre Arrival / Pre Departure Declarations

In its Communication to the Council and the European Parliament amending the Community Customs Code (COM(2003) 452 of 24/07/2003) the European Commission proposed a number of measures designed to meet the need for safety and security in relation to goods crossing international borders, including requirements linked to the US Container Security Initiative (CSI), while, at the same time, remaining in step with the e-customs plans for the future. (see also Press Release IP/05/209 ).

These proposals were adopted by the European Parliament and Council as Regulation 648/2005 (OJ L 117, 4.5.2005, p.13).

Among other measures, the new Regulation requires traders to supply customs authorities with advance information on goods brought into, or out of, the customs territory of the European Community. This will provide for better risk analysis, but, at the same time, for quicker process and release upon arrival, resulting in a benefit for traders that should be equal to, if not exceed, any cost or disadvantage of providing information earlier than at present.

The measures will not apply, however, until the necessary implementing provisions have also come into force. These provisions which will define

  • the data elements to be included in the pre-arrival and pre-departure declarations;
  • the time limits for the provision of this information;
  • the rules for variations and exceptions to these limits; and
  • the framework for the exchange of risk information between Member States;

Discussions with Member States on the draft implementing provisions commenced in the Customs Code Committee in July 2005. The present state of those deliberations is reflected in the latest working version of the draft proposals and Annex relating to declaration data.

The Commission has undertaken, in a declaration to the European Parliament at the time of the adoption of the Regulation, that the business sector will be closely involved in the comitology decision-making procedure. Where particular matters are being addressed, different European trade federations have been and will be invited, on the basis of their expertise in the different subjects to be dealt with, to present their views directly to the Customs Code Committee.

It is anticipated that a 24 hour deadline for prior declaration will apply to goods brought into the customs territory of the EU by sea , where the voyage duration exceeds that period, but in most other cases, prior notification will probably need to be given just 2 hours, if electronic, or 4 hours if on paper, before the goods are brought into, or out of, the customs territory of the EU.

For goods leaving the Community under a customs procedure the customs declaration itself, including the required security related data, will be used as the pre-departure advice, so as not to place an additional burden on Community exporters.