Regulation (EC) No 450/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2008 laying down the Community Customs Code (Modernised Customs Code)

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I (Acts adopted under the EC Treaty/Euratom Treaty whose publication is obligatory) REGULATIONS REGULATION (EC) No 450/2008 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 23 April 2008 laying down the Community Customs Code (Modernised Customs Code) THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community, and in particular Articles 26, 95, 133 and 135 thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the Commission,

Having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee (1),

Acting in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 251 of the Treaty (2),

Whereas:

(1) The Community is based upon a customs union. It is advisable, in the interests both of economic operators and of the customs authorities in the Community, to assemble current customs legislation in a Community Customs Code (hereinafter referred to as the Code). Based on the concept of an internal market, the Code should contain the general rules and procedures which ensure the implementation of the tariff and other common policy measures introduced at Community level in connection with trade in goods between the Community and countries or territories outside the customs territory of the Community, taking into account the requirements of those common policies. Customs legislation should be better aligned on the provisions relating to the collection of import charges without change to the scope of the tax provisions in force.

(2) In accordance with the Communication from the Commission concerning the protection of the Community's financial interests and the Action Plan for 2004-2005, it is appropriate to adapt the legal framework for the protection of the financial interests of the Community.

(3) Council Regulation (EEC) No 2913/92 of 12 October 1992 establishing the Community Customs Code (3) was based upon integration of the customs procedures applied separately in the respective Member States during the 1980s.

That Regulation has been repeatedly and substantially amended since its introduction, in order to address specific problems such as the protection of good faith or the taking into account of security requirements. Further amendments to the Code are necessary as a consequence of the important legal changes which have occurred in recent years, at both Community and international level, such as the expiry of the Treaty establishing the European Coal and Steel Community and the entry into force of the 2003 and 2005 Acts of Accession, as well as the Amendment to the International Convention on the simplification and harmonisation of customs procedures (hereinafter referred to as the revised Kyoto Convention), the accession of the Community to which was approved by Council Decision 2003/231/EC (4). The time has now come to streamline customs procedures and to take into account the fact that electronic declarations and processing are the rule and paper-based declarations and processing the exception. For all of these reasons, further amendment of the present Code is not sufficient and a complete overhaul is necessary.

(1) OJ C 309, 16.12.2006, p. 22.

(2) Opinion of the European Parliament of 12 December 2006, Council Common Position of 15 October 2007 (OJ C 298 E, 11.12.2007, p. 1) and Position of the European Parliament of 19 February 2008.

(3) OJ L 302, 19.10.1992, p. 1. Regulation as last amended by Regulation (EC) No 1791/2006 (OJ L 363, 20.12.2006, p. 1).

(4) OJ L 86, 3.4.2003, p. 21. Decision as amended by Decision 2004/485/EC (OJ L 162, 30.4.2004, p. 113).

4.6.2008 EN Official Journal of the European Union L 145/1 (4) It is appropriate to introduce in the Code a legal framework for the application of certain provisions of the customs legislation to trade in goods between parts of the customs territory to which the provisions of Council Directive 2006/112/EC of 28 November 2006 on the common system of value added tax (1) apply and parts of that territory where those provisions do not apply, or to trade between parts where those provisions do not apply. Considering the fact that the goods concerned are Community goods and the fiscal nature of the measures at stake in this intra-Community trade, it is justifiable to introduce, through implementing measures, appropriate simplifications to the customs formalities to be applied to those goods.

(5) The facilitation of legitimate trade and the fight against fraud require simple, rapid and standard customs procedures and processes. It is therefore appropriate, in line with the Communication from the Commission on a simple and paperless environment for customs and trade, to simplify customs legislation, to allow the use of modern tools and technology and to promote further the uniform application of customs legislation and modernised approaches to customs control, thus helping to ensure the basis for efficient and simple clearance procedures. Customs procedures should be merged or aligned and the number of procedures reduced to those that are economically justified, with a view to increasing the competitiveness of business.

(6) The completion of the internal market, the reduction of barriers to international trade and investment and the reinforced need to ensure security and safety at the external borders of the Community have transformed the role of customs authorities giving them a leading role within the supply chain and, in their monitoring and management of international trade, making them a catalyst to the competitiveness of countries and companies. Customs legislation should therefore reflect the new economic reality and the new role and mission of customs authorities.

(7) The use of information and communication technologies, as laid down in the future Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on a paperless environment for customs and trade, is a key element in ensuring trade facilitation and, at the same time, the effectiveness of customs controls, thus reducing costs for business and risk for society. It is therefore necessary to establish in the Code the legal framework within which that Decision can be implemented, in particular the legal principle that all customs and trade transactions are to be handled electronically and that information and communication systems for customs operations are to offer, in each Member State, the same facilities to economic operators.

(8) Such use of information and communication technologies should be accompanied by harmonised and standardised application of customs controls by the Member States, to ensure an equivalent level of customs control throughout the Community so as not to give rise to anti-competitive behaviour at the various Community entry and exit points.

(9) In the interests of facilitating business, while at the same time providing for the proper levels of control of goods brought into or out of the customs territory of the Community, it is desirable that the information provided by economic operators be shared, taking account of the relevant data-protection provisions, between customs authorities and with other agencies involved in that control, such as police, border guards, veterinary and environmental authorities, and that controls by the various authorities be harmonised, so that the economic operator need give the information only once and that goods are controlled by those authorities at the same time and at the same place.

(10) In the interests of facilitating certain types of business, all persons should continue to have the right to appoint a representative in their dealings with the customs authorities.

However, it should no longer be possible for that right of representation to be reserved under a law laid down by one of the Member States. Furthermore, a customs representative who complies with the criteria for the granting of the status of authorised economic operator, should be entitled to provide his services in a Member State other than the one where he is established.

(11) Compliant and trustworthy economic operators should, as `authorised economic operators', be able to take maximum advantage of widespread use of simplification and, taking account of security and safety aspects, benefit from reduced levels of customs control. They may thus enjoy the status of `customs simplification' authorised economic operator or the status of `security and safety' authorised economic operator. They may be granted one or other status, or both together.

(12) All decisions, that is to say, official acts by the customs authorities pertaining to customs legislation and having legal effect on one or more persons, including binding information issued by those authorities, should be covered by the same rules. Any such decisions should be valid throughout the Community and should be capable of being annulled, amended except where otherwise stipulated, or revoked where they do not conform to the customs legislation or its interpretation.

(13) In accordance with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, it is necessary, in addition to the right of appeal against any decision taken by the customs authorities, to provide for the right of every person to be heard before any decision is taken which would adversely affect him.

(14) The streamlining of customs procedures within an electronic environment requires the sharing of responsibilities between the customs authorities of different Member States. It is necessary to ensure an appropriate level of effective, dissuasive and proportionate sanctions throughout the internal market.

(1) OJ L 347, 11.12.2006, p. 1. Directive as last amended by Directive 2008/8/EC (OJ L 44, 20.2.2008, p. 11).

L 145/2 EN Official Journal of the European Union 4.6.2008 (15) In order to secure a balance between, on the one hand, the need for customs authorities to ensure the correct application of customs legislation and, on the other, the right of economic operators to be treated fairly, the customs authorities should be granted extensive...

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