Global Trade News Alerts

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Belgian customs authorities: non-EU established entities cannot act as exporter (Box 2 in Export Declaration)

3 May 2019

On 3 April 2019, the Belgian customs authorities published an update on their interpretation of the UCC in the form of a Q&A. One of the biggest changes outlined in this update is the reference in box 2 for the definition of “exporter”.

EU-US: Businesses invited to submit input on potential areas for regulatory co-operation

10 April 2019

Divergent standards and conformity rules between nations leads to high adaptation costs for transatlantic trade stakeholders. The EU and the US have therefore agreed to negotiate an agreement on conformity assessment, together with draft negotiating directives. Hence, the aim is to facilitate trade by reducing administrative obstacles and costs and by increasing regulatory convergence. Interested parties have until 23 April 2019 to submit their input in order to make progress and identify solutions that will allow trade facilitation.

UK customs Brexit contingency measures

14 March 2019

On 13 March 2019, the UK government announced two trade measures in case the UK leaves the European Union without a deal:

  • A temporary import tariff schedule that would be in place for up to 12 months. This is a draft version subject to Parliamentary approval.
  • A unilateral, temporary approach to checks, processes and tariffs in Northern Ireland.

These trade measures will reduce the cross-border frictions for  goods imported into the UK and will mitigate the impact of a possible “hard Brexit” scenario.

Export Control System (ECS): Confirming exit of goods electronically

6 March 2019

Since 4 March 2019 and as a general principle, Belgian Customs Authorities have made it mandatory for terminal operators to submit the arrival confirmation, or the so-called “arrival at exit” message, electronically for most containers and ro-ro (Roll-on/Roll-off) shipments. In parallel, the Antwerp Regional Customs Authorities announced that they will no longer ask declarants to submit alternative proof of exit if the exit of goods from the EU was not automatically confirmed.

UK to Remain in Convention on simplifications of formalities in trade in goods after Brexit

20 February 2019

On 28 May 2018, the United Kingdom expressed its intention to accede to the Convention on a common transit procedure and the Convention on simplifications of formalities in trade in goods as a separate Contracting Party. The Joint Committee established by these conventions consequently invited the UK to accede to both Conventions. On 30 January 2019, the country deposited the respective instruments of accession.

As the UK is currently still a Contracting Party to the Conventions as an EU Member State, the country’s accession will only become effective from the date on which it is no longer subject to the Convention as EU Member State.

EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement: Entry into force on 1 February 2019

24 January 2019

In 2013, the European Commission began negotiations with Japan. Four years later, on 8 December 2017, these negotiations were finalised. The European Parliament then published its consent in December 2018.

The European Parliament confirmed on 11 January 2019 that the Agreement between the European Union and Japan will effectively enter into force on 1 February 2019.

Test yourself: Prepared for a “no-deal” Brexit?

17 January 2019

Recent political developments indicate the increasing likelihood of a “no-deal” (or “hard”) Brexit. If such a scenario occurs, Customs and VAT are areas that will be especially impacted.

Deloitte has created a self-analysis questionnaire which allows you to obtain some initial insights on the impact that Brexit might have on the Customs and VAT position of your company.

Brexit Readiness Update: the latest developments and more

16 January 2019

Political developments - Impact for global trade - EU Commission preparing Brexit Contingency Plan - Belgium preparing a Brexit emergency law - Market/industry developments - Helping you prepare for a “no-deal” Brexit - Brexit webinars

UK to Remain in Common Transit Convention after Brexit

7 January 2019

The UK government confirmed on 17 December 2018 that the country should remain in the Common Transit Convention (CTC) in its own right after Brexit. The UK is currently part of the CTC as an EU member state, but assures that it will continue benefiting from the convention after 30 March 2019, even in the event of a “no-deal” Brexit.

Customs Value (European Union): Domestic sales and transactions in a customs warehouse

19 December 2018

The fifth meeting of the European Commission’s Customs Expert Group on Customs Valuation took place in Brussels on 11 and 12 October 2018. 

One of the customs valuation topics discussed concerns the so-called domestic sale in relation to the sale for export. The domestic sale principle excludes sales transactions where both buyer and seller are established in the European Union (EU) from being regarded as a sale for export. This means that this sales transaction cannot be used as the transaction value. As the domestic sale is mentioned in a current Guidance Document by the European Commission but not in the Union Customs Code (UCC), it has been subject to criticism, especially because it introduced an unofficial term in a highly sensitive discussion. Consequently, the Customs Expert Group decided to remove the domestic sale principle from the updated Guidance Document on customs valuation. This may have an impact on the customs valuation of goods following transactions between EU established parties. 

Another discussed topic with potentially far-reaching consequences, from a customs valuation perspective, concerns the customs valuation in relation to sales in customs warehouses.

Likely changes to EU Legislation to tackle illicit trade of Cultural Goods

17 December 2018

Purchasing antiques and cultural objects from outside the EU may be subject to stricter conditions, so as to combat trafficking of illicit artworks, following progress made by the European Council on a draft regulation on the ‘Import of Cultural Goods’. On 7 November 2018, the European Council agreed a position on the draft regulation proposed by the EU Commission to prohibit the import and storage of cultural goods illegally exported from a non-EU country within the EU.

In the coming months, further inter-institutional negotiations amongst the three European institutions (European Parliament, Commission, and Council) will continue with the aim to reach an agreement on the proposed regulation.

EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement voted in EU Parliament

14 December 2018

On 12 December 2018, the EU Parliament voted the EU – Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

This vote follows a similar decision taken by Japan's National Diet, thus concluding the agreement’s parliamentary ratification by both partners. It paves the way for the agreement to enter into force on 1 February 2019.

Brexit Readiness Update: the latest developments and more

14 December 2018

CJEU confirms that the UK can unilaterally revoke Article 50 - Political developments - Growing importance of preparing for a “No-deal” Brexit - Upcoming Brexit webinars

Preparing for Brexit: Analyse the Customs and VAT impact with our free online questionnaire

8 November 2018

The UK will leave the European Union (EU) on 29 March 2019. Uncertainty remains on both whether agreement on the withdrawal terms will be reached, and the details of the future relationship. But we can say with some certainty that, whatever the outcome, Brexit will have a Customs and VAT impact for companies doing business in and/or with the UK.

In order to allow you to obtain some initial insights on the impact that Brexit might have on the Customs and VAT position of your company, Deloitte has created a self-analysis questionnaire.

New exporter of record definition

31 July 2018

With its 16 May 2018 regulation, the European Commission amended and corrected the Delegated Act to the Union Customs Code (UCC). In addition to other relatively minor changes, the new regulation amends the definition of ‘exporter’, in order to allow greater flexibility for business partners in their choice of person to act as exporter for customs purposes. The new definition will come into effect as of 31 July 2018.

Provisional anti-dumping measures imposed on electric bicycles originating in China

18 July 2018

On 18 July 2018, the European Commission imposed provisional anti-dumping duties of up to 83.6% on imports of electric bicycles (e-bikes) originating in China.

As of 19 July 2018, all imports of e-bikes originating in China entering into the EU to then be released for free circulation are subject to provisional anti-dumping duties, ranging from 21.8% to 83.6% of the net free-at-frontier price, depending on the manufacturer’s identity.

UK releases position paper on future relationship with the EU

17 July 2018

The UK government released a White Paper on 12 July 2018, setting out its proposal for a ‘principled and practical Brexit’. The White Paper covers the UK view on the future relationship with the EU, in particular:

1. The economic partnership

2. The security partnership

3. Cross-cutting and other cooperation

4. Institutional arrangements

The UK sees the economic and security partnerships as the core of the future relationship. According to the UK Prime Minister, in her introduction to the White Paper, the proposed approach respects both the UK’s and EU’s principles.

Both parties have set themselves a timeline to agree on the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement and the form of the future partnership by autumn 2018, in order to avoid the UK leaving the EU on 29 March 2019 with no transitional arrangements in place nor an agreed upon future partnership.

Use of REX system results in countries being denied GSP benefits

11 July 2018

The EU introduced origin of goods self-certification through the Registered Exporter System (REX) in 2010, to replace the  FORM system from 1 January 2017 onwards. Under the REX system, (registered) exporters can produce statements on origin themselves. The REX system is used for GSP origin certification and progressively in bilateral trade agreements (e.g. CETA). GSP beneficiary countries and territories had the possibility to notify the European Commission of their delayed use of the REX system, i.e. as of 1 January 2018 or 1 January 2019. A transition period is foreseen.

Brexit: EU Summit outcome

5 July 2018

At the European Council Meetings on 28-29 June 2018, the European ministers discussed the progress on Brexit negotiations. The Summit was the last joint gathering before the European Council meets again on 18 October 2018, repeatedly marked as the due date for an agreement by EU chief negotiator Barnier.

EU reacts to US tariff measures and imposes additional duties on certain goods originating in the US

3 July 2018

On 22 June 2018, the European Commission implemented tariff countermeasures on imports of goods of US origin pursuant to Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/724, which sets forth in Annex I a list of the goods of US origin subject to additional tariffs. When first announced, these measures had been expected to be implemented on 20 June 2018.

EU adopts tougher rules for trade defence legislation

5 June 2018

In the midst of growing challenges to global trade, and following the endorsement of the European Parliament, new rules will come into effect in the first half of June 2018 (after their publication in the Official Journal) to strengthen the EU’s anti-dumping and anti-subsidy legislation.

The new rules respond to a need, expressed by many stakeholders, to modernise the EU’s legislation to impose anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties. Tougher tools will allow the European Commission to impose higher tariffs and in a quicker manner.

EU imports of e-bikes originating in China become subject to customs registration

7 May 2018

On 3 May 2018, the European Commission published a regulation that subjects imports of electric bicycles originating in China to registration.

Registration has been requested by European e-bike manufacturers in the context of the dual anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations initiated on 20 October 2017 and 21 December 2017, respectively.

Brexit: political deal on movement of goods during transition period

28 March 2018

The EU and UK negotiators reached a political deal on parts of the legal text of the Withdrawal Agreement, covering citizens’ rights, the financial settlement, various other withdrawal issues, and the terms of a transition period, which would run to 31 December 2020. On 19 March 2018, the European Commission published a Draft Agreement on the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union (“EU”) and the European Atomic Energy Community (hereinafter the “Draft Agreement”). The Draft Agreement can be consulted via this link.

Note: The text upon which the negotiators have found an agreement is marked in green. In yellow the negotiators agreed on the policy objective. Text without mark-up indicates no agreement has yet been found between the negotiators.

There are still a number of open issues on which agreement must be reached, most notably in relation to the Irish border, before the Draft Agreement is finalised.  It must also then be ratified.

EU obtains temporary exemption from US tariffs on steel and aluminium and initiates its own safeguard

26 March 2018

On 23 March 2018, tariffs of 25% on imports of steel and 10% on imports of aluminium became effective in the US. Shipments of steel and aluminium from the EU into the US have been temporarily exempted from such measures through 30 April 2018, and EU leaders are engaged in negotiations to obtain a permanent exemption. On 26 March 2018, the EU mirrored the US measure by initiating a safeguard investigation that may result in tariffs or quotas on a broad range of steel products.

EU obtains temporary exemption from US tariffs on steel and aluminium and initiates its own safeguard

26 March 2018

On 23 March 2018, tariffs of 25% on imports of steel and 10% on imports of aluminium became effective in the US. Shipments of steel and aluminium from the EU into the US have been temporarily exempted from such measures through 30 April 2018, and EU leaders are engaged in negotiations to obtain a permanent exemption. On 26 March 2018, the EU mirrored the US measure by initiating a safeguard investigation that may result in tariffs or quotas on a broad range of steel products.

EU safeguard investigation initiated on Indica rice originating in Cambodia and Myanmar

19 March 2018

On 16 March 2018, the European Commission initiated a safeguard investigation on Indica rice originating in Cambodia and Myanmar, upon a request lodged by Italy.

Compulsory excise duty exemption on energy products used for cogeneration of heat and electricity

9 March 2018

On 7 March 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued a judgment (Case C-31/17 – Cristal Union) relating to the compulsory tax exemption for energy products used for electricity production, even when these products are used in a cogeneration unit.

US Announces Steel and Aluminium Tariffs Effective 23 March 2018

9 March 2018

On 8 March 2018, President Trump issued two proclamations formally implementing new tariffs on imports of steel and aluminium into the US. The President cited the reason for the tariffs as the threat to national security posed by declining steel and aluminium industries, stating that such decline was “weakening our internal economy” and leaving the US “at risk of becoming completely reliant on foreign producers.” These tariffs are based on the recommendations stemming from two investigations conducted by the US Department of Commerce under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1862) that concluded in January 2018.

EU publishes guidance on Brexit consequences for Customs and VAT

15 February 2018

In a 29 January 2018 press release, the Council announced a second set of supplementing negotiating directives detailing the EU27 (EU member state gathering without the UK) position regarding a transition period in relation to Brexit. These directives present a transition period that could not last beyond 31 December 2020.

Then on 30 January 2018, the EU Commission published a document giving businesses an early warning regarding key Customs and VAT challenges that they will need to tackle the moment the United Kingdom would no longer be a Member of the European Union. Unless a transitional period is agreed upon between the EU and the UK, the EU Customs and VAT rules will no longer apply in the UK from 30 March 2019.

Using transfer prices for customs valuation: update on CJEU Hamamatsu Judgment

6 February 2018

On 20 December 2017, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued its judgment in the Hamamatsu Photonics Deutschland GmbH case (hereafter referred to as ‘Hamamatsu’) with respect to customs valuation in relation to transfer pricing adjustments.

Hamamatsu is part of a group of companies that have concluded an advance pricing agreement. Hamamatsu purchased imported goods from its parent company in accordance with said advance pricing agreement. Based on the transfer pricing method (Residual Profit Split Method), each company within the concern was allocated a profit to generate a minimum rate of return. Depending on whether the actual profit falls outside of the anticipated margin, the result is adjusted to the margin’s upper and/or lower limit, resulting in subsequent credit or debit notes (so-called transfer pricing adjustments).

Imports of tyres for buses and lorries originating in China subject to registration

5 February 2018

On 2 February 2018, a Regulation was published in the EU Official Journal, subjecting imports of tyres for busses and lorries originating in China to registration.

The surveillance measure has been requested in the context of the dual anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations, initiated by the European Commission on 11 August 2017 and 24 October 2017 respectively.

EU initiates anti-subsidy probe on Biodiesel originating in Argentina

2 February 2018

On 31 January 2018, the European Commission initiated an anti-subsidy investigation on biodiesel originating in Argentina (Notice).

The product subject to this investigation is fatty-acid mono-alkyl esters and/or paraffinic gasoils obtained from synthesis and/or hydro-treatment, of non-fossil origin, commonly known as biodiesel.

Expiry review initiated on anti-dumping measures applicable to imports of tube and pipe fittings with specific origins

30 January 2018

On 27 January 2018, the European Commission initiated an investigation related to the expiry of anti-dumping measures applicable on imports of tube and pipe fittings originating in Turkey, Russia, Korea and Malaysia (Notice).

U.S. Administration to impose safeguard tariffs on washing machines and solar panels

24 January 2018

On 22 January 2018, the U.S. Administration announced President Trump’s approval of safeguard tariffs on imported residential washing machines, as well as solar cells and modules. 

New EU Conflict minerals regulation: implications and lessons learnt from the Dodd-Frank Act in the US

15 January 2018

On 17 May 2017, the EU Parliament and EU Council adopted new import regulation on ‘Conflict Minerals’ under Regulation 2017/821. Through the raw materials covered under the EU ‘Conflict Minerals’ Regulation, (tin, tantalum and tungsten, their ores, and gold), companies importing the minerals used in producing mobile phones, technology, automotive products, as well as jewellery or medical devices, will especially be impacted. 

Expected Anti-Dumping and Anti-Subsidy probes to start in Steel and Aluminium Sectors

12 January 2018

The steel and aluminium industry worldwide is under intense pressure. The global overcapacity fuelled by China’s 50% share in the world’s production gives rise to continued disruption in the international marketplace by increased exports, depressing prices and a subsequent increase in trade barriers and remedies.

The battle around steel and aluminium trade defence mechanisms escalated over the past days with aggressive US-led trade actions and unprecedented multiple investigations in Europe.

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