Legal Briefing: European Union Advance Cargo Declaration Regime

The European Union Advance Cargo Declaration Regime, effective January 1st, 2011, will affect all freight imported into and exported out of Europe, as well as transhipment cargo.

EU regime is laid down in Regulation 648/2005, which was implemented by Regulation 1875/2006 and then amended by Regulation 312/2009. These regulations are all part of the Community Custom Code (CC) as laid down in Regulations 2913/92 and 2454/93 and therefore referred as Customs Code Implementation Provisions (CCIP). The aim of the regime is to ensure an equal level of protection through customs controls for all goods shipped into, out of or through the EU and appear to have some
elements in common with the US regime that was introduced following the terrorist attack of 9/11.

The aim of this legal bulletin is to provide a general overview of the regime and its scope, and answers to the most common questions that would assist Members in understanding the relevant issues on how the Regulation will be enforced.

General overview
In 2009, the European Commission adopted Regulation 312/2009 aiming at increased security for shipments entering or leaving the EU and with the intention of providing greater facilitation for compliant operators.

A better risk analysis for goods entering or leaving the EU has been introduced. For traders with a
status of Authorised Economic Operators, there would be some benefits in that less cargo information elements will need to be declared. The regulation requires customs authorities to exchange information electronically on imports and exports with an aim at informing each other on potential risks or (terrorist) threats.

Under the Regulation, with effect from 1 January 2011, any failure by an economic operation, such as a shipping company, to comply with the obligations laid down in the European Union Advance Cargo Declaration Regime will be subject to penalties imposed by the individual EU Member States according to the national legislation.

The EU Advance Cargo Declaration Regime creates a layer in addition to existing customs legislation, either laid down in the Community Custom Code or in application in accordance with national legislation.

The amendment to the Customs Code brought about by the new regulation covers four major changes:

  • It requires traders to provide customs
    authorities with information on goods prior to
    import into, export from, or transhipment via,
    the EU. This information, moreover, needs to be
    submitted electronically and within wellprescribed
    time limits.
  • It may provide traders with a status of
    Authorised Economic Operators with certain
  • It introduces a risk-assessment amongst EU
    Member States supported by computerised
    systems for goods entering, leaving or transiting
    EU customs territory.
  • It implements an EU database enabling the
    consultation of all national registration numbers

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