EC PROPOSES CUSTOMS STRATEGY
The European Commission has outlined a new strategy for customs in the European Union.
In a “communication” policy paper adopted by the EC on customs union, the Brussels-based agency highlighted orientations for actions in five main areas to enable customs administrations to meet their present and future challenges. The challenges include the enlargement of the EU, the growth in e-commerce-related traffic and the increasing amount of fraud.
The five main areas noted by the EC are: continuing the simplification and the rationalization of the customs legislation; improving the operational implementation of the legislation; improving the service to business; deepening training activities for both customs and economic operators; and promoting international co-operation.
“Many of these points depend upon the computerization of existing operations,” a spokesman for the EC said. “The major, usually long term, investments required at national and Community level for successful computerization activities require close co-operation and long term planning.”
As part of the changing environment faced by customs, the EC cited businesses requirements for faster service, given that, for example, a container is processed at Rotterdam harbour every 6 seconds and traffic is on the increase. It also mentioned that in 1999, customs authorities stopped more than 25 million counterfeit or pirated items with an estimated value of 780 million euro ($730 million) at the EU’s external borders.