In addition to minor editorial amendments, the European Commission has made the following key changes to the Customs Valuation Compendium (the “Compendium”), which serves as useful guide for the customs valuation of goods imported into the EU. The Compendium is prepared primarily for local customs authorities of the various EU Member States, but is made publicly available for interested parties. The latest version was published in April 2024.

Customs valuation treatment of damaged or defective goods upon importation

  • Amendments have been made to Commentary No 2 to clarify that under Article 132 of the Union Customs Code Implementing Act (“UCC-IA“), customs valuation rules expressly allow the defective nature of goods to be taken into account by accepting an adjustment of the price paid or payable for the goods, provided that the adjustment is made within the terms of the sales contract entered into before the acceptance of the customs declaration or in accordance with a statutory obligation applicable to the goods.
  • Amendments made in Case Study A (transaction value in a warranty situation) to update the price adjustment period from ‘12 months from the date of acceptance of the declaration for entry into free circulation of the goods‘ to ‘three years from the date on which the customs debt was communicated to the debtor‘ (cf. CJEU C‑661/15 (X BV)).
  • Amendments made in Case Study B (the transaction value in a warranty (recalls)) to clarify that the price adjustment can be taken into account by customs authorities for the determination of the customs value under Article 70 of the Union Customs Code (“UCC“)  and Article 132 of the UCC-IA.

Customs valuation treatment of buying commissions

A new commentary, Commentary No 19, has been introduced to identify the customs valuation treatment of buying commissions. In particular, the updated Compendium clarifies that only bona fide buying commissions may be excluded from the customs value. Further, the burden of proof of the existence of genuine buying commissions rests with buyers/importers.

Customs valuation treatment of prototype cars and development services

A new commentary, Conclusion No 38, has been introduced to address the customs valuation treatment of prototype cars and development services provided by a producer in relation to the manufacturing of mass-produced cars. The commentary covers the customs valuation methodology to be used when importing prototype cars where there is no underlying sale at the time of import. On this point, the Commentary concludes that the importer may either use a secondary valuation method or import the goods, using the Transaction Value Method (Method 1) by means of a simplified customs declaration (i.e. a provisional value), effectively postponing a final determination of the customs value of the goods until a later date when it is known. Notably, the conclusion seems to imply that the application of the Transaction Value Method is optional. This is not, however, in line with the legislation which requires a strict hierarchy; only where the Transaction Value Method cannot be applied can an importer resort to a secondary valuation method. In this particular case, it is questionable whether the Transaction Value Method can be applied at all, since there is no sales transaction at the moment of importation, whereas Article 128 of the UCC-IA defines the transaction value as the sale occurring before the goods enter EU territory. Is the European Commission implying that a simplified declaration can be used to bypass the requirement for a sale before the goods enter EU territory in order to use the Transaction Value Method?

The commentary furthermore provides, as a general principle, that:

  • costs for development services carried out by a manufacturer are allocable to the customs values of the mass-produced cars that will be imported after the prototypes have been imported for testing purposes; and
  • the cost of production of the prototype (i.e. the respective cost of materials and manufacturing costs) are allocable to the customs values of the prototypes.   

The updated Compendium can be accessed here.


Jennifer is a Partner and head of Baker McKenzie's Customs & Excise Practice in London, and co-head of Baker McKenzie EMEA Customs group.


Yassine El Bojaddaini is a senior associate within the EMEA Customs Practice. He has ample experience on advising and representing multinationals in customs and tax related matters including restructurings, litigation and supply chain optimization.