EU Customs

New system for EU customs procedures launched

The EU launched a new pan-EU electronic system, making it easier for businesses to get permission to import goods and enabling them to offer consumers faster delivery at lower prices.

The new EU Customs Decision System (CDS) launched in October 2017 lets traders handle up to 22 different types of customs applications online through the EU Trader Portal. Access to the CDS is more secure than current procedures, and importers in all EU member states can use the same portal to exchange applications among all the relevant customs authorities. The new system is an early victory for the new Union Customs Code (UCC), which came into force in May 2016. Modern IT systems are at the heart of the new Code, helping customs systems to work efficiently and facilitate the flow of more than €3 trillion worth of goods in and out of the EU each year.

EU Customs Decisions System update 
EU Customs Decisions Business User Guide 
EU Trader Portal Application User Manual 
  
The transitional arrangements for applying for customs decisions became invalid on October 2, 2017. Economic operators must now introduce all new applications for customs decisions or authorizations electronically and according to the new UCC requirements. 

The European Commission and EU member states have designed a new “Customs Decisions System” for this purpose, based upon an IT architecture containing both national and EU common components. This central Customs Decisions System (CDS) is to be used for all applications and decisions which may have an impact in more than one member state, and for any subsequent event that may affect the original application or decision – such as annulment, suspension, revocation, or amendment. 

Some EU member states will also use CDS to manage their national customs decisions – those with only a national impact – while other member states will work with their national customs decisions system for this. The technical arrangements for the system are described in a new UCC implementing regulation, which is in the final stages of adoption. 

Economic operators looking to submit an application have to connect to the EU Trader Portal, a single electronic access point deployed at the EU level for accessing the Customs Decisions System. The EU Trader Portal uses the authentication solutions covered under the project “Uniform User Management & Digital Signature” (UUM&DS). In addition, member states may offer a national portal. 

Economic operators need an EORI number and the right assigned roles to access the system (customs decisions consultative profile, administrative profile, executive profile). To obtain an EORI number and role, economic operators need to contact the competent authority for EORI registration in the country where the customs decision application will be submitted. 

It is important for the applicant to define where the authorization should be valid. Two options:

  1. Single member state decisions (or national decisions) only affect and are valid in the member state addressed in the application. No other member states are involved.
  2. Multi–member state decisions potentially affect (can be valid) in several or all member states. The application must therefore indicate the relevant choice in the system’s mandatory “geographical validity” data field:
  • Code 1 = Application or authorization valid in all member states
  • Code 2 = Application or authorization limited to certain member states
  • Code 3 = Application or authorization limited to one member state

The member states in which the decision is to be valid must also be explicitly listed by the applicant. 

Traders should apply at the competent customs authority where the applicant’s main accounts for customs purposes are held or accessible and where at least part of the activities to be covered by the decision will be carried out. Depending on the member states addressed and the geographical validity, an Economic Operator (EO) will have to access either the EU trader portal or the national trader portal. Based on the selected option, the process to obtain an authorization will run either in the central CDS or in the respective, national decision systems.

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