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Taxation and Customs Union

The modernized Community Customs Code

The Commission intends to modernize and simplify customs rules and processes and has made public this intention in its Communication to the Council and the European Parliament on a simple and paperless environment for customs and trade ( COM (2003) 452 of 24/07/2003).

The main reasons for simplifying customs legislation are: reducing costs to business by easier access to the rules and a more uniform application of them, creating a level playing field for economic operators throughout the EU, increasing legal certainty for citizens (better regulation), and allowing traders fully to benefit from the possibilities offered by IT procedures in the Single Market.

The draft modernized Customs Code incorporates the security-related amendments to the Customs Code (including pre-arrival and pre-departure declarations), which will shortly be adopted by the Council and the Parliament. For more details on the pending amendments to the Customs Code, please consult our web-site.

It will be noted that, in some cases, further changes have been made to these amendments in the draft modernized Code, either in order to provide for a common terminology or to take account of the fact that the modernized Customs Code will enter into force at a time when the most urgent IT-based solutions will already have been, or are shortly to be, introduced.

Revision 3 of the draft modernized Customs Code was the subject of a public consultation during July and August 2004. The numerous comments received from various economic operators, Member States, and third countries have been taken into account for drafting a new version in so far as they were in accordance with objectives of the proposed modernization of the Customs Code (see tabulated responses by the Commission to the various comments and the updated explanatory introduction ).

For a better understanding of the background and the strategic objectives of some of the changes, the Multi-annual Strategic Plan , describing the strategy of eCustoms, is published as well. The detailed rules for the application of the modernized Code will be the subject of the implementing provisions, which have yet to be laid down, Traders, national administrations and other interested parties will be consulted on the draft implementing provisions once they are available.

The attached questionnaire (also available in Word format) has been created in order to give all interested parties a final opportunity to submit comments on how the implementation of the modernized Customs Code will impact your business .

The deadline for sending back the questionnaire to address below (preferably in electronic form) is 31 January 2005.

The Commission department responsible for the Customs Code is:

European Commission
Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union
Customs Policy, Customs Legislation and control of the application of Community law
B-1049 Brussels

taxud-c3atec [dot] europa [dot] eu (taxud-c3[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu)