EU Customs Code fully comes into force

On 1 May 2016, the final provisions of the regulation (EU) n. 952/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council, laying down the Union Customs Code (“UCC”), came into force. UCC reflects a move towards a more modern customs environment for EU countries, making European business more competitive and advancing the EU Strategy for growth and jobs.

Under the final provisions of UCC to enter into force (e.g. Article 163), supporting documents required for the application of the provisions governing the customs procedure for which the goods are declared will not have to be provided in every procedure. These documents must merely be in the declarant’s possession and at the disposal of the customs authorities when the customs declaration is lodged. Furthermore, supporting documents need to be provided to the customs office only where required by EU law or for the purposes of the customs control.

Member States are required to adopt all the necessary measures to comply with the UCC by 1 May 2019. As regards the new system for a centralized clearance for both the import and export of goods, it will be fully operational only when the necessary EU IT systems are introduced by the end of 2020.

With the full implementation of the UCC, the reform of the customs sector started in 2013 may be considered completed. The reform is aimed at streamlining customs legislation and procedures across the EU, offering greater legal certainty and uniformity to businesses and increased clarity for customs officials, simplifying customs rules and procedures to make customs transactions more efficient and modern, completing the shift to a paperless and fully electronic and interoperable customs environment and introducing more speedy customs procedures for compliant and trustworthy businesses.

The Italian customs authority responsible for the implementation of the UCC, Agenzia delle Dogane e dei Monopoli, has issued more information on the implementation in Italy of the UCC with its Circolare n. 8/D of 19 April 2016 (only available in Italian).