VAT and Customs Commentary 1-2016

New Union Customs Code


As we reported in our bulletin in January 2016, the publication of the provisions implementing the Union Customs Code (UCC) in December 2015 enables it to be fully applicable from May 1 2016.

Moreover, the recent publication of the transitional provisions and of the Commission’s work program relating to the development and deployment of the new electronic systems completes the legislative framework for the UCC to be phased in between next May 1 and December 31, 2020.
The Commission is currently preparing some interpretative guidelines which will contribute to the uniform interpretation of the UCC’s new provisions by all the member states, with uniformity being one of the basic tenets of the new customs legislation.
Aside from the changes derived from the new UCC in relation to the use of new technology for the communication, exchange and storage of information, which will entail a progressive modification of the procedures used in this area, the main changes included in the UCC to the rules on foreign trade transactions, coming into force on May 1, 2016, are described below.
Note that our comments are not an exhaustive list of all the changes in the UCC and its implementing provisions, but simply an indication of those we consider might have a more widespread effect on foreign trade operators.

  • 1. Decisions relating to the application of customs legislation
  • 2. Definition of exporter
  • 3. Customs value
  • 4. Special arrangements
  • 5. Customs procedures
  • 6. Binding tariff and binding origin information (BTI and BOI decisions)
  • 7. Collection
  • 8. Authorised economic operator (AEO)
  • 9. Transitional provisions


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