The European Union’s new Union Customs Code, a major overhaul of existing EU customs legislation, took effect May 1. A series of articles examining some of the significant changes in the UCC in more detail is available here.
According to a European Commission press release, the UCC will streamline customs legislation and procedures across the EU, allowing traders to clear customs procedures more simply and quickly and offering them greater legal certainty and uniformity. The UCC will also introduce speedier customs procedures for compliant and trustworthy businesses and better protect consumers against goods that are illegal or do not comply with EU environmental, health and safety requirements. Further, the UCC will help complete the shift to a paperless and fully electronic and interoperable customs environment by creating new information technology systems that will provide fast and quality trade data and improve cooperation between national customs administrations.
The Commission states that the UCC should be fully implemented by the end of 2020. During the transitional period the new rules will apply by using existing IT systems and, in some cases, paper forms. Work to develop the new systems or upgrade existing ones has already begun.