27 May 2016
Commission Adopts Measure Correcting Union Customs Code’s Transitional Regime
On 11 May 2016, the Official Journal of the European Union published Commission Delegated Regulation 2016/698 of 8 April 2016 (the UCC Correcting Transitional Act). Hong Kong businesses exporting their goods to the EU may recall that the new Union Customs Code (UCC) entered into force on 1 May 2016.
The UCC provides for a shift to a paperless and fully electronic environment, in which new IT systems link the EU Member States’ customs administrations (see: Business Alert-EU, Issue 9/2016). However, it came to light that the new IT systems would not be operational by 1 May 2016. This would have led to a legal vacuum, as the UCC’s provisions would only function with the use of the new IT systems, which were not quite functioning in reality.
In anticipation of such a vacuum, the European Commission had already adopted Delegated Regulation 2016/341 (UCC Transitional Delegated Act), which extended the period during which existing IT systems, or paper-forms, are still allowed in EU customs procedures. Full implementation of the UCC, including via the new IT systems, is intended to be completed by 2020. Thereupon, the UCC Transitional Delegated Act’s transitional rules will come to an end, and the transformation to a harmonised and fully electronic system should be completed.
Nonetheless, following the adoption of the UCC Transitional Delegated Act, certain inconsistencies with the systems set up by that Act, have been identified. In particular, it was detected that three of the forms annexed to the Act included references to procedures which have ceased to exist. Furthermore, certain forms had been omitted by mistake. As a result, the European Commission adopted the UCC Correcting Transitional Act on 8 April 2016, in order to rectify these shortcomings, and enhance legal clarity.
The UCC Correcting Transitional Act, which was published on 11 May 2016, prescribes that the erroneous forms annexed to the UCC Transitional Delegated Act, shall be replaced by the forms set out in its Annex. As a result, the following forms are replaced:
- ‘Application for authorisation to use simplified declaration and entry in the declarant's records’;
- ‘Application for authorisation to use simplifications, Continuation form — IMPORT’; and,
- ‘Explanatory notes to the different boxes of the application form’.
Moreover, the UCC Correcting Transitional Act adds the forms which had initially been omitted, namely:
- ‘Application for authorisation to use simplifications, Continuation form – EXPORT’;
- ‘Authorisation to use simplifications’;
- ‘Authorisation to use simplifications, Continuation form – IMPORT; and,
- ‘Authorisation to use simplifications, Continuation form – EXPORT’.
The forms provided for in the UCC Correcting Transitional Act apply as of 1 May 2016, in order to enable the smooth application of the UCC.
Hong Kong traders wishing to consult the full text of the above-mentioned Acts, can click on the following links:
UCC Transitional Delegated Act
UCC Correcting Transitional Act