Update to the UCC

The European Union made the decision to establish a single window for customs (or its official designation: “EU Single Window Environment for Customs”) in order to facilitate international trade, speed up the customs clearance process, and lower the likelihood of fraud. On 24 October 2022, the Council of the European Union enacted a new regulation that establishes the necessary framework for digital cooperation between customs and associated competent authorities (link to relevant regulation: pdf (europa.eu)). The final wording of this regulation can now be signed during the European Parliament’s November plenary and published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The regulation will enter into force on the third day following its publication and as of that date the Union Customs Code will be amended accordingly to reflect the wording of the regulation.

The regulation in principle aims for a 9 year period for the single customs system to become live, but – similar to other measures to digitalization of other EU customs procedures – this might potentially take longer. Nevertheless, a window has been opened.

Take away of new regulation

Smooth trade must be supported by effective customs clearance and procedures that safeguard the EU citizens, businesses and environment. Currently the lack of alignment between EU non-customs formalities and customs formalities leads to complex and burdensome reporting obligations for traders, inefficient goods clearance processes conducive to error and fraud, and additional costs for economic operators. Once the single customs system is fully deployed, businesses will not need to use various websites to submit paperwork to separate customs, regulatory and governmental authorities. Customs and other authorities will be able to automatically check that the items in question comply with EU regulations and that all relevant formalities have been fulfilled thanks to the single window environment.

The new regulations are anticipated to improve cross-border trade’s efficiency in the EU and will lessen the administrative load on businesses, especially by reducing wait times and making customs clearance easier and more automated.