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Customs Reform

The Customs Reform is a proposal on reforming the Union Customs Code, and on establishing an EU customs authority. When implemented, the Reform will alter the essential Union customs legislation.

In May 2023, the Commission published proposals for an EU Customs Reform aiming at faster and more efficient customs administrations in Member States. Establishing an EU customs authority and setting up an EU Customs Data Hub comprise the key proposals relating to the Reform.

In its entirety, the Reform is to be implemented in stages by the year 2038.

Key proposals of the Customs Reform

Have a closer look at the key proposals relating to the Customs Reform:
Please note that the planning of the Customs Reform is still ongoing, and many matters remain inconclusive. We will update our website as the legislation work progresses.

An EU customs authority would be a new EU organ that would bring together expertise and skills from different parts of the EU. It would also steer, coordinate and support national customs authorities. The EU customs authority would be established in 2026. However, it would begin full-time operations as of the start of 2028.

The new EU customs authority would improve risk management and customs controls in the EU. The customs authority would also maintain and develop the new Customs Data Hub that is to be established.

Moreover, the EU customs authority would have several other tasks, such as harmonising customs activities in the territory of the Union.

The EU Customs Data Hub would enable simplified customs procedures and enhanced customs controls. Over time, the Customs Data Hub would replace the current systems used by Member States. This would decrease operational costs by up to 2 billion euros per year.

The EU Customs Data Hub would ease and improve information exchange between various operators. For example, businesses would only need to use one portal for submitting customs data, and submit data on multiple consignments only once. It would also be possible to prioritise EU-level risks.

The Reform aims at electronic trade in a more modern form. The Reform would enable a specific customs clearance procedure for distance sales within electronic trade. This practice would simplify the current system and harmonise it with the VAT regulations regarding electronic trade.

With the reform, online shops instead of consumers would be responsible for all customs formalities and payments. Online shops would levy customs duties in connection with purchases, and forward them to the relevant Member States in the same way as they already do in terms of VAT.

At the same time, the current limit of 150 euros for exemption from customs duty would be removed, which means that also import duties would be levied for all goods.

A new Trust and Check Trader customer category would be established for economic operators, which would ease customs procedures. For example, operators would be able to release goods for circulation in the EU without any active measures from customs authorities. Furthermore, it would be sufficient that information that are not expected to change any time soon are submitted only once.

According to the proposal, only importers and exporters who meet strict conditions regarding reliability and transparency could apply for the Trust and Check status. Forwarders and customs representatives can apply for such an authorisation only under the condition that they accept full obligations as importers or exporters.

The EU Customs Data Hub would be deployed in stages as of early 2028.

The Data Hub would be applicable in the simplified procedure for electronic trade as of March 2028.

As for other imports and exports, operators would have access to the EU Customs Data Hub as of March 2032 when they so wish. Use of the Data Hub would become obligatory for all operators at the start of 2038.

Use of the declaration procedures based on current legislation would end in 2038 at the latest.

Comment on the Customs Reform

What do you think about the Customs Reform? You can share your opinion with us by submitting your comment in the Otakantaa.fi service.

We are now requesting comments regarding the establishment of the EU Customs Data Hub.
You can enter the otakantaa.fi service here (in Finnish).