22 July 2016
New Import Quotas are Opened and Tariffs Removed for Variety of Products
On 30 June 2016, two new Regulations were published in the EU’s Official Journal, providing potential new export opportunities for Hong Kong traders in respect of a variety of goods. One of the Regulations opens and provides for tariff quotas, while the other suspends customs duties. Both are applicable to a large number of agricultural and industrial items for import into the EU.
New Council Regulation 2016/1050 relates to autonomous tariff quotas. It amends Regulation 1388/2013, which is the framework Regulation opening autonomous tariff quotas.
The new Regulation explains the background first of all. It states that, in order to ensure the sufficient and uninterrupted supply of certain goods insufficiently produced in the EU, and to avoid disturbances on the market for certain agricultural and industrial products, autonomous tariff quotas were opened by Council Regulation 1388/2013. Products within those tariff quotas can be imported into the EU at reduced or zero duty rates.
The Regulation notes that it is necessary to open, with effect from 1 July 2016, tariff quotas at zero duty rates for an appropriate volume as regards nine new products. Hong Kong sellers may like to know that among the nine products, the following are included: certain chemicals including a pigment red colourant; an electronic item with a digital video output for connection to an LCD touch screen monitor with or without certain components and used in vehicles; and a number of components for motor bikes.
In addition, in certain cases, the existing autonomous tariff quotas of the EU need to be adapted. These include the following:
- In the case of one product, it is necessary to amend the product description for clarification purposes.
- In the case of three other products, the quota volumes need to be increased as such increase is in the interest of economic operators.
- Finally, in the case of one product, the autonomous tariff quotas will have to be closed with effect from 1 July 2016, as it is not in the EU’s interest to maintain the autonomous tariff quotas after that date.
Hong Kong traders are advised to carefully examine Council Regulation 2016/1050 in order to evaluate how its provisions may apply to them.
As the changes regarding the tariff quotas for the products concerned have to apply from 1 July 2016, the new Regulation entered into force as a matter of urgency on 30 June (the same day that it was published). The date of application, namely, 1 July 2016, applies across the EU, to all customs authorities, and to any economic operator interested in making use of the Regulation’s provisions.
Council Regulation 2016/1051, also published on 30 June 2016, suspends autonomous tariff duties for certain agricultural and industrial products. In doing so, it amends the framework Regulation 1387/2013, which suspends the autonomous Common Customs Tariff duties on several agricultural and industrial products.
The new Regulation states that it is in the interest of the EU to totally suspend the autonomous Common Customs Tariff duties on 140 products that are not currently listed in the Annex to Council Regulation 1387/2013. The products are thus added to the latter by means of this new Regulation.
The new Regulation further notes that it is no longer in the interest of the EU to maintain the suspension of autonomous Common Customs Tariff duties on 6 products that have hitherto been listed in Annex I to Regulation 1387/2013. Those products are thus deleted from that Annex.
In addition, it is deemed necessary to modify the conditions in respect of 46 suspensions that are currently listed in the Annex to Regulation 1387/2013 in order to take into account technical product developments, economic trends on the market and further scrutiny of classification, and to carry out linguistic adaptations. The modified conditions refer to changes of the product description, classification, duty rates or end-use requirement. Hong Kong traders should be aware that due to this, the suspensions in respect of which modifications are necessary have been deleted from the list of suspensions in the Annex to Regulation 1387/2013, and the modified suspensions have been inserted into that list.
Products mentioned on the list annexed to new Council Regulation 2016/1051, which can be imported duty free, include the following:
- Chinese water chestnuts, coconut water and preparations on the base of soya protein isolate as well as a vast number of chemicals,
- A type of leather for use in the manufacture of raw material for seat covers of motor vehicles,
- Electrochromic self-dimming inside rear-view mirrors for vehicles,
- Petrol engines for garden equipment,
- Different types of motor,
- LCD modules for use in vehicles,
- Circuit boards,
- Electrical sockets and plugs.
New Council Regulation 2016/1051 entered into force on the date of its publication in the Official Journal, and began to apply (except for one item) on 1 July 2016. For the one item, mentioned in Article 2, the date of application is 1 January 2016.
For specific product descriptions, including CN codes, Hong Kong traders are advised to examine the annexes of each of the two new Regulations mentioned above.