Extension of the UCC transitional period
This week was an important week for the implementation of the UCC. The European Court of Auditors published a report and recommendations concerning delays in the customs IT systems and several meetings were held in the European Parliament on the same topic. The IMCO Committee organised a workshop on 9 October during which CLECAT presented its views.
On 2 March 2018, the European Commission proposed an amendment to article 278 of the UCC, which enables customs authorities and economic operators to continue using, until 2025 at the latest, already existing systems for the completion of certain customs formalities. While most of the new or upgraded electronic systems that are necessary to apply the provisions of the UCC will be operational by 2020, some electronic systems may not be fully completed until 2025 (mainly ICS2).
CLECAT has welcomed this proposal, because first of all, it is just a matter of reality that certain systems will not be ready by 2021, whether or not the legislation is amended. Having no realistic end date would lead to more uncertainty for the private sector. Next to that the Members of CLECAT prefer good functioning and well implemented IT systems instead of hastily deployed and faulty systems, as these systems are crucial for duty and tax collection, protection of society and international trade. And lastly, every company will have to deal with the same IT implementations and especially SME’s do not have the same resources as the Commission or Member States to do so. So, having everything at once is an extremely heavy burden on the private sector. On the other hand, CLECAT would not want a further extension than what is currently proposed. At some point companies need to be able to actually make their own business decisions and invest in and improve their own systems rather than dealing with updates and changes from governments.
On 11 October, the IMCO committee of the European Parliament approved the draft report of Mr Selimovic on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 to prolong the transitional use of means other than the electronic data-processing techniques provided for in the Union Customs Code/ The report was adopted as amended, with 31 votes in favour, 3 against and 2 abstentions. The IMCO Committee accepted an extension of the transitional procedures carried on paper, before the achievement of a full changeover to electronic treatment of all customs transactions. IMCO also voted by the same majority in favour of opening interinstitutional negotiations.