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1. Union Customs Code – some implications as of May 1, 2016

  • Intra-Union air and sea services

Pursuant to Article 136 UCC, the following activities will not apply to non-Union and Union goods temporarily leaving the customs territory of the Union during their transit by sea or air between two points in that territory, provided they are shipped directly without a stop outside the customs territory of the Union:

  • lodging of an entry summary declaration;
  • risk-analysis;
  • amendment and invalidation of an entry summary declaration;
  • declarations lodged instead of an entry summary declaration;
  • notification of arrival of a sea-going vessel or of an aircraft;
  • conveyance to appropriate place;
  • conveyance under special circumstances;
  • presentation of goods to customs;
  • unloading and examination of goods;
  • goods moved under transit;
  • goods in temporary storage;
  • temporary storage declaration;
  • amendment and invalidation of a temporary storage declaration;
  • conditions and responsibilities for the temporary storage of goods;
  • authorization for the operation of temporary storage facilities; and
  • end of temporary storage.

This is seen as lacking in the UCC legislation. However, at present it has been decided not to rectify this.

  • Re-export

Re-export will become mandatory as of May 1, 2016

  • Union / Non-Union goods – excise

Although the formalities on exit of goods can be performed at the office of export in the case of excise products, the goods have to be presented to the customs office of exit (Articles 329 – 332 Implementing Regulation).

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2. Transactional Delegated Act (TDA)

The draft Transactional Delegated Act for the Union Customs Code (UCC) was discussed in the European Parliament (EP) and the EU Council. It contains transitional rules and suspends certain UCC provisions pending the introduction of relevant IT systems under the UCC. The EP and Council have two months to scrutinize the draft Act, but may request a two-month extension.

The current final date for all relevant IT systems to be deployed or updated is set for the end of 2020.

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3. Canada and EU reach breakthrough on new approach on investment

The original CETA text of August 2014 has undergone a legal revision. As a result, the much debated CETA investment chapter has been profoundly revised, replacing the Investor to State Settlement approach. The CETA investment chapter moves away from an ad hoc arbitration system towards a permanent and institutionalized dispute settlement tribunal and appellate tribunal. The ultimate intention is to set up a permanent multilateral investment court. This significant change reflects the European Commission’s new approach on investment in trade to ensure fairness and objectivity. The new approach is embedded in the free trade agreement recently concluded with Vietnam and forms part of the recent European Commission’s TTIP proposal on investment.

The finalized text of CETA will now be translated into all the EU official languages and tabled with the European Parliament and Council for ratification purposes before the end of this year. If approved, CETA will be provisionally implemented during the course of next year.    

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4. Ombudsman urges the European Commission to conduct a comprehensive and participatory human rights impact assessment of the EU – Vietnam FTA

The EU has released the final version of the text of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement. It is expected that this FTA will not provisionally enter into force after 2017: https://www.meijburg.nl/nieuws/free-trade-agreement-between-the-eu-en-vietnam. However, on  February 26, 2016 the European Ombudsman concluded that the European Commission had failed to carry out a human rights impact assessment of the EU-Vietnam FTA.

It remains to been seen what the impact of this decision will be when the FTA is put to a vote in the European Parliament and the Council later this year and whether the European Commission will make such an impact assessment a standard practice prior to concluding FTAs.

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5. GSP beneficiary countries subject to product graduation as of 2017 through to 2020

Every three years the European Commission reviews the list of GSP sections for which unilateral tariff preferences are suspended for certain GSP beneficiary countries.

Please click on the following link for the Implementing Regulation of the European Commission suspending tariff preferences with regard to India (7 product categories), Indonesia (2 products categories), Kenya (1 product category) and Ukraine (2 product categories)  http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32016R0330&from=NL

In practice, only products originating in India and Indonesia will be affected, because Kenya concluded an EPA and Ukraine concluded a DCFTA ensuring alternative preferential duty access to the EU. Please note that products with ‘India’ as origin and which fall under Chapters 71 to 75 of the Harmonized System, will be suspended from tariff preferences as of 2017. 

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