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Nicole Looks

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For the third week, we continued our Annual Compliance Conference with key customs developments impacting on businesses today. Specifically, we discussed the reform of the Union Customs Code in the EU, key trending customs developments in EMEA, and different methods of driving significant financial savings in global supply chains. EU customs reform: biggest overhaul since 1968 Tuesday 14 May SPEAKERS: Nicole Looks (Partner, Amsterdam), Thomas Kukanza (Senior Trade Advisor, Brussels), Sylvain Guelton (Senior Associate, Brussels),…

On 15 November 2023, the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (“EPPO”) uncovered a EUR 200M customs and VAT fraud scheme. This is yet another case of the EPPO, launched in 1 June 2021, as the first new supra-national prosecution authority in the EU. The EPPO has the power to investigate, prosecute and bring to judgment crimes against the EU budget, such as fraud, corruption or serious cross border fraud. This can also include cases on circumvention of anti-dumping…

Next to the CBAM implementing regulation adopted by the European Commission on 17 August 2023 regarding the reporting rules applicable during the transitional phase of the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) (please find a previous alert by our team here), the European Commission released a set of new CBAM documents in October.  These are in chronological order: Application User Manual – CBAM Declarant Portal on 3 October 2023; New version of the CBAM Communication template…

The German Federal Ministry of Finance (BMF) issued new transfer pricing (“TP”) guidance on June 6, 2023 with customs implications. Last year, Germany’s highest tax court issued its decision in the Hamamatsu case, ruling that both upward and downward lump sum retroactive transfer pricing adjustments, which occur after the decisive moment for customs valuation purposes, have no relevance for the customs value which shall only reflect the “real economic value” at the time of importation…

In our blog post “The Hamamatsu TP/customs valuation case comes to a surprising conclusion” we summarized the final judgment of the German Federal Fiscal Court (Bundesfinanzhof; “BFH”) in the “Hamamatsu” case. The BFH had ruled that taxpayers cannot claim refund of import duties in case of lump-sum TP adjustments applied at the end of the fiscal year that result in a subsequent lump-sum decrease in resale prices and thus in an intercompany credit note for…

On 17 May 2023, the European Commission (the “Commission”) published a set of proposals that, according to the Commission, constitute the “most ambitious and comprehensive reform of the EU Customs Union since its establishment in 1968.” Please find our previous blogpost in which we anticipated the proposal here. The proposals now published aim to: Increase duty revenue; Avoid illicit and non-compliant products; Align the current customs framework with the current e-commerce landscape; and Uniformize the…

Hot on the heels of the German Federal Fiscal Court’s publication of its final decision in the Hamamatsu case (our blog on that here), UK Customs (HMRC) have today published updated guidance on the customs valuation of imports, replacing its previous guidance (Notice 252). What jumps out at first glance is a seeming change in policy with regards to the valuation of goods sold between related parties, with HMRC advising “you will not usually be…

Retroactive TP-adjustments – whether upwards or downwards – Highest German Court rules that they do not have an impact on the customs value. On 17 May 2022 (published end of September 2022) the German Federal Fiscal Court (or: Bundesfinanzhof. “BFH”) – which is the Highest court for tax related matters in Germany – gave its final judgement in the (in)famous Hamamatsu case. This proceeding is part of the referral to the European Court of Justice…

The Customs Expert Group of the European Commission’s DG TAXUD on ‘Import and Export formalities’ met on 16 March 2022. The minutes of the meeting have been released on 25 April 2022. Several topics were discussed, notably the following subjects: The new guidance on the Interpretation of Article 173 of the Union Customs Code (UCC) on the amendment of the customs declarations: in this guidance, it will be reminded that the customs declaration should reflect…

Representatives of the EU and New Zealand held negotiations from 14 to 31 March 2022, discussing most areas of the future free trade agreement between the jurisdictions. According to a two-pager published by the European Commission, EU’s request to be exempt from New Zealand’s import customs fees is the only outstanding element in the text as far as the topic “Trade in goods” is concerned. Various items remain open in respect of Rules of Origin…