The European Parliament Wednesday adopted the Union Customs Code, a framework that provides new rules and procedures, and firms up Customs practices that had initially been implemented on a case-by-case basis.
The code now awaits adoption by the European Council. If that's granted, it will go into effect Nov. 1.
The new code also introduces steps to complete the transition to a paperless Customs infrastructure.
"The Customs Union is the quiet success story of the EU. For over 40 years, it has protected our citizens, safeguarded our businesses and facilitated the ever increasing trade flows in and out of the Union,” Algirdas Semeta, who is responsible for Customs within the European Commission, said in a statement. “The Union Customs Code, endorsed by the European Parliament today, will ensure that Customs continues its vital work, but in an even more efficient, cost-effective way — one which best meets the challenges of our modern economy. Special thanks must be extended to the rapporteur MEP Constance Le Grip for the excellent work to allow the timely adoption of these new rules for customs throughout Europe."
The Customs changes are a long time coming. The European Commission started looking into changing the rules in February 2012. - Jon Ross