New European Union Regulation to Improve Security and Safety of Goods
Crossing EU Borders
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On February 23, 2005 the European Parliament approved a Regulation amending
the European Union (“EU”) customs code in order to improve the security
and safety related to goods crossing the EU borders. The Regulation is an
EU response to the global concern about protecting the international supply
chain from terrorism and will have an influence for all companies that play
a role in the international supply chain. The Regulation will enter into
force once the Presidents of the Council and Parliament sign the text. The
necessary implementing provisions that will arrange for the measures to
become effective will be published as soon as possible.
Although all EU Member States are currently very active in the fight
to prevent dangerous or defective goods from entering the EU, the measures
applied, the priorities and the investment in equipment and resources differ
from one Member State to another. In order to realize an EU approach to
new and existing threats, the introduction of new rules to meet international
concerns about security will take place via a common EU approach and not
by way of bilateral agreements between third countries and individual Member
States. With the new Regulation, security and safety controls by means of
the Regulation will be harmonized throughout the EU.
The Regulation includes a number of measures to tighten security around
goods crossing international borders. Amongst others a Community-wide computerized
system for risk management is introduced. In addition, new rules for the
electronic exchange of information between customs offices on the movements
of goods are established and, similar to the current practice in the U.S.,
traders will be required to provide the customs authorities with information
on the transported products prior to their import into or export from the
Briefly summarized, the main consequences of the new Regulation are:
- Introduction of electronic information exchange between customs administrations;
- Rationalization of customs controls, concentrating the controls relating
to safety and security alone at the place of entry or exit of goods into
the Community, while transferring the controls concerning fiscal matters
to the place where the trader is established;
- Traders will be required to provide customs authorities with information
on goods before they are imported into or exported from the European Union,
via electronic summary declarations;
- Reliable traders will be provided with special, user-friendly options;
- Introduction of risk selection criteria that will apply throughout
the Community and that will be supported by a coordinated computerized
With the implementation of the new Regulation, the European authorities
aim to establish a Community wide system of faster and more focused customs
controls that will benefit not only the customs authorities, but also the
public and the (legitimate) traders. One of the main goals of the new Regulation
is to speed up border processing for legitimate traders.
Provided specific conditions are met, companies can obtain the status
of “authorized economic operator” which will allow for special treatment
and simplification of administrative compliance obligations. If a company
obtains the authorized economic operator status, the simplifications and
special treatments will have to be applied by all EU Member States.
The new EU Regulation will have an impact on all companies working in
the international supply chain that do business with the EU. Companies involved
in EU trade are recommended to investigate the consequences for their business
and to take appropriate actions to ensure the status of authorized economic
operator will be obtained.
This Alert was written by
Erik de Bie and
Erik Zietse, in the Amsterdam
office. Please contact Mr. de Bie at +31 (0) 20 301 73 15, Mr. Zietse +31
(0) 20 301 74 05 or your Greenberg Traurig liaison if you have any questions
regarding the subject matter of this Alert.
© 2005 Greenberg Traurig
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