UCC developments

What you need to know: changes under the UCC

The Union Customs Code (UCC) has come in effect on May 1, 2016. It brought about changes and new requirements. Here is an update and a useful overview for international traders.

Ah, we have finally reached the long awaited milestone: on May 1, 2016 – the UCC has officially taken effect. The end of 2020 marks the final deadline for all changes including applicable IT updates and system transitions in line with UCC provisions. And while this may seem far ahead, a number of new requirements must already be complied with since earlier this month.

Following my last update on the topic in October 2015 in this forum, I’d like to share some overviews and references that may be useful for businesses trading internationally.

At a glance: details of applicable UCC changes

We’ve prepared a convenient overview with more details on the applicable changes for all areas on our website – click here to view it at a glance.

With reference to system changes under the UCC, the European Commission offers more details online as part of the Multi-Annual Strategic plan (MASP) – see here.

The EU also published a new work program closely in line with the MASP on April 11, 2016. Its aim is to govern, plan, and manage the electronic UCC environment in a proper and staged manner as from May 1, 2016 until its full implementation on December 31, 2020.

New long-term supplier’s declaration requirements

I would like to briefly highlight some additional details for one of the new requirements in the area of origin of goods and preferences: It has been clarified just before the UCC effective date that long-term supplier’s declarations issued as from May 1, 2016 are only permissible for either the future or the past.

This means that from now on, two supplier’s declarations must be requested if the scope is to apply for both – future validity and goods that have already been delivered. It must be noted in this context that long-term supplier’s declarations cannot be issued retroactively for more than 12 months as from the date of issue. And for supplier’s declarations valid for the future, a maximum validity period of 24 months has been prescribed.

There is still a certain likelihood – or let’s say hope on the side of industry associations and Chambers of Commerce and Industry across the EU – that these regulations will be overturned or suspended. For now, however, these regulation have come in effect as of May 1, 2016.

  • For customers using ASSIST4 Origin & Preferences: new features and basic functionality to accommodate these latest long-term supplier’s declaration requirements in line with UCC updates are available in the May 2016 Feature Pack. Please contact our Support Teams if you have any questions or further needs.
  • For our wider readership – we will keep you posted on developments in our monthly newsletter.

Safety card: “right to be heard”? Not really…

The UCC lays down harmonized rules on decision-making by the Member States – and on the “right to be heard”. This right applies prior to adoption of a disadvantageous customs decision. In theory this sounds great, but unfortunately there are many exceptions. The right does not apply, for example, to Binding Tariff Information or Binding Origin Information Decisions.

It is also not applicable when:

  1. The application for a decision, including the application for registration and assignment of an EORI number, may not be accepted;
  2. The customs authorities notify the person who lodged the entry summary declaration for containerized maritime and air traffic, that the goods are not to be loaded;
  3. The decision concerns a notification to the applicant of a Commission decision as referred to in Article 116(3) of the Code; or
  4. An invalidation of an EORI number occurs.

Business impact: your views please.

Did you experience any operational impact of the UCC go-live and application of its Delegated Acts and Implementing Provisions on your global trade? We’re in close contact with our customer base and professional community on this topic – and will keep you posted on what we learn.

I am interested to hear your view and experience – and contact us if there is anything we can assist you with.