(A) The common risk criteria and standards
The Commission has adopted a set of criteria to be applied in the Member States' risk analysis systems in order to continuously screen electronic advance cargo information for security and safety purposes. The criteria are set out in an implementing act based on the empowerment of Article 50(1) UCC, which is not public for obvious reasons.
The CRC are aimed primarily towards identifying high-risk consignments/goods that could have serious implications for the security and safety of the EU and its citizens and providing equivalent protection throughout the external frontier based on common risk analysis.
While in all other types of movements, the customs office where goods and declaration are presented is responsible for the processing of the declaration and for the risk analysis, customs at the first point of EU entry has a legal obligation to carry out the security and safety risk analysis on all the cargo regardless of the country of EU destination.
Consignments crossing the EU border are thus screened on the basis of those criteria 365 days a year.
(B) Priority Control Areas
Priority Control Areas (PCAs) are the key mechanism in the CRMF allowing the Union to designate specific areas to be treated as a priority for customs control. The identified areas are subjected to reinforced customs controls carried out in a co-ordinated manner based on common risk assessment criteria and real-time exchange of risk information.
Characteristics of Priority Control Areas
Priority areas may relate to any customs procedure, types of goods, traffic routes, modes of transport or economic operators.
The chosen areas are to be subject to increased levels of risk analysis and customs controls for a pre-determined limited period with a start and end date and possibility for interim review.
PCAs will have built-in assessment procedures and flexibility for Member States in order to ensure that the control action to be taken is not disproportionate or unduly disruptive in terms of the effect on trade flows within a Member State or a particular port or frontier point.
The Commission together with the Member States have organised PCAs on counterfeit medicine, drug precursors and the issues of valuation of textiles, smuggling of cigarettes and control of dual-use goods.
(C) The exchange of risk information
The Common Customs Risk Management System (CRMS) is designed to provide a fast and easy-to-use mechanism to exchange risk-related information directly amongst operational officials and risk analysis centres in all Member States.
It facilitates EU-wide customs intervention for the highest risks at the external frontier and inland and is thus an integral element in the development of a Union risk management framework. It consists of a form (Risk Information Form, called RIF) to be filled in on-line and instantly made available to all customs offices connected.
The RIF is an effective means of ensuring that a consistent level of customs control is applied at the external frontier of the Union in relation to identified new risks thereby offering the necessary level of protection to citizens and to the financial interests of the EU and MS while ensuring equivalent treatment of traders throughout the Union.
In summary, the system is a practical way to ensure that information about identified new and important risks is distributed as quickly as possible to operational customs offices in all Member States; this ensures that immediate measures can be taken across the whole EU to tackle such risks, establishes a level playing field for traders and combats diversion of dangerous, irregular or fraudulent trade.