Pre-arrival electronic information of EU and Customs Union

An Expert's View about Customs Procedures in Ukraine

Posted on: 30 Jun 2013

Since 01.01.2011 in the European Union (EU Directive No. 273/2009) and 17.06.2012 at the territory of the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan (Customs Union Commission Decision of 09.12.2011 No. 899) mandatory requirement of preliminary informing (pre-arrival declaration) on the import and transit of goods and vehicles entered into force.

If cargo arrives at the customs without pre-arrival information preliminary sent to the electronic database of the customs authorities of the importing country, the carrier will have a limited time (no more than two hours in the Customs Union) for preparation of the necessary documents in paper and electronic forms on his own or through customs brokers, whose services are several times overpriced at checkpoints.

Furthermore, the carrier will face more thorough inspection of the vehicle with the use of the risk management system, as well as possible demurrage of the vehicle at the border. The EU legislation requires even returning vehicle back to the external frontier of the EU if preliminary information submitted with delay.

As of today customs clearance of goods without preliminary electronic information is not carried out.

Appropriate preliminary informing of customs authorities in the EU and the Customs Union on future import of goods allows not only formally comply with the legal requirements and obtain the required identification number of transportation in advance, but, no less important, provides carrier and subjects of foreign economic activity with a number of advantages:
- clearance time at the border point is reduced at least by 2 hours;
- expenditures for customs clearance are significantly decreased;
- possibility of subjective influence of customs official on the decision regarding customs transit permission at the checkpoint is reduced;
- the carrier is given priority for customs clearance at the border;
- avoidance of certain forms of customs control of goods and undesired demurrages;
- electronic pre-arrival declaration / informing could also be used as electronic copy of transit declaration.

Depending on the country of import (transit) of the goods, but not later than 4 hours before the scheduled arrival time of vehicle at the customs office, you have provide us with the following information and electronic copies of the documents:
- commercial and transport documents (CMR, TIR Carnet account, the export declaration for the goods, the certificate of origin, packing list, etc.);
- vehicle documents;
- personal identification document of the representative of carrier (driver);
- information about the gross weight of goods as well as about the amount and quantity of goods in additional units of measurement by each Harmonized System code (unless specified in the documents);
- name, quantity, cost of goods (unless specified in the documents);
- destination of goods (unless specified in the documents);
- scheduled time and place of arrival of goods at the customs territory of the EU or the Customs Union.

Our staff will file all the necessary documents to the customs authorities system and will inform the obtained electronic identification number of preliminary information (identification number of transportation) to the driver.

Below we provide analytical overview of the legal framework governing the issues of preliminary electronic informing of customs authorities and peculiarities of the procedure in the European Union and the Customs Union:

In order to strengthen security of international trade, provide more oriented customs control, accelerate procedure on assessment of the risks associated with the movement of goods across the border, in most countries, the customs authorities require preliminary informing about the import or transit of goods and vehicles through their territory.

The International Convention on the Simplification and Harmonization of Customs Procedures (Kyoto Convention, 1999) stipulates the requirement to use preliminary information and to lodge it electronically. The World Customs Organization considers the use of preliminary information in customs procedures as indicator of the development level of customs service in particular state.

As of today international standards of mandatory pre-arrival informing of the Customs are used in the U.S.A, since 2011 in the European Union, and since the second half of 2012 - at the territory of the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation.

Peculiarities of preliminary declaration in the EU

Mandatory requirement of the European Union on preliminary submission of electronic information about the imported cargo to the customs authorities has entered into force on 1 January 2011 (according to the EU Directive number 273/2009) for all modes of transport.

For this purpose, so-called entry summary declaration (ENS) on goods imported into the customs territory of the EU should be filed to the customs authorities of the importing country (first customs of entry) through a pan-European Import Control System (ICS).

The responsibility for submission of the declaration rests with the person actually bringing goods into the customs territory of the EU, or a person assuming responsibility for the carriage of the goods into the customs territory of the European Union (i.e. the Carrier).

Except the carrier the declaration might be filed (lodged) by any other person hired by the carrier (the trustee, agent, brokerage firm, or consignee) and which has all the necessary information about the cargo, as well as access to the system of electronic declaration in the appropriate EU country.

ENS is not required when transporting electrical energy, goods entering by pipeline, letters and postal consignments, goods contained in travelers' personal luggage, goods for which an oral customs declaration is permitted etc.

The volume of necessary information and time limits for the lodging of declaration vary according to the transportation mode carrying the goods: in the case of transportation by road - not less than 1 hour before the actual arrival at the customs office of entry into the EU, in the case of rail transport - 2 hours before the arrival, air transportation - before the actual departure of the aircraft (long flights - at least 4 hours before the arrival of the aircraft in the EU).

The information contained in the ENS, is not divided into mandatory and optional, and should be filled in full. ENS should include the following information:
1. The number of goods (pieces);
2. Unique number of transportation;
3. Transport document number;
4. Fright forwarder;
5. The person lodging the entry summary declaration;
6. Consignee;
7. Carrier;
8. The vehicle on which goods are moving across the border;
9. The code of the first place of arrival of goods at the customs territory of the EU;
10. Date and time of arrival of the goods into the first place of arrival of goods at the customs territory of the EU;
11. Codes of states on the route of vehicle;
12. Mode of transport at the border;
13. Place of loading;
14. Code of unloading place;
15. Description of the goods;
16. Packaging;
17. Quantity of packs;
18. Container number, if the goods are in a container;
19. Number of goods;
20. Code of goods under the Commodity Nomenclature;
21. Net weight (in kg);
22. Code of method of payment ща transport charges;
23. Product code under UN Dangerous Goods List, if any;
24. Seal number;
25. Date of declaration;
26. Signature or authentication of the person lodging declaration;
27. Other specific information.

To file ENS, you need to connect electronic declaration system in the EU by entering into agreement with the customs service of one of Member States and obtaining electronic signature. There is an important detail - to conclude the agreement on connection to the system of electronic declaration, you should be registered legal entity of a member state of the EU, or to find a partner in the EU, which is already connected to the system, and who is able to lodge preliminary information on the import of goods, assuring it by own electronic signature.

If the goods submitted to customs authorities were not previously declared, then entry summary declaration should be immediately filed by the person actually importing goods or by the person who is responsible for bringing goods into the customs territory of the European Union. EU legislation provides for returning vehicles out of the EU in the case preliminary information is вудфнув.

EU customs law provides an optional possibility of declaring "security data" in the transit application under TIR-EPD system, if:
1) goods are brought into the customs area of the EU under transit procedure;
2) exchange of transit data occurs by means of information technologies and computer networks;
3) data contains all the elements required to entry summary declaration.

The possibility to lodge transit application with "security data" in the TIR-EPD system release from the obligation to send the entry summary declaration into the ICS. The decision of which system to choose belongs to the owner.

Preliminary informing in the Customs Union

Since June 17, 2012 preliminary informing became a mandatory requirement for import of goods by road into the territory of the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation (the Customs Union Commission Decision of 09.12.2011 № 899 "On the introduction of mandatory preliminary informing about the goods imported into the customs territory of the Customs Union by road ").

According to paragraph 2 of the Decision all authorized economic operators, carriers, customs representatives and other interested parties are required to submit to customs authorities preliminary information on goods imported by road for at least two hours before the arrival into the territory of the Customs Union.

It should be noted, that today preliminary information is not required for goods imported into the territory of the Customs Union by modes of transport other than road transport.

Preliminary informing may be submitted only on those goods that have not yet crossed the customs border of the Customs Union. The time limit to present goods to the customs authority is 30 calendar days from the day following the date of registration of the customs declaration. The novelty is that the goods may be brought not only to the customs authority that registered the customs declaration, but also to any other customs authorities of the importing country defined by legislation of the state - member of the Customs Union.

If there are no discrepancies with the original transportation documents, the preliminary information is used as electronic copy of the transit declaration.

When filing preliminary customs information of goods declarant may submit the documents required to accompany the goods, in electronic form or certified copies. On arrival of the goods into the customs authority original must be provided.

If the imported goods will be placed under the customs transit procedure in place of arrival, the preliminary information must be lodged in the amount of data established for the transit declaration. Such information includes information (about):
- consignee and consignor of the goods in accordance with transportation (shipment) documents;
- country of origin, country of destination of goods;
- the declarant;
- the carrier;
- international transportation vehicle on which goods are transported;
- name, quantity, cost of goods in accordance with the commercial, transportation (shipment) documents;
- code of goods in accordance with the Harmonized Description and Coding System or the Commodity Nomenclature for Foreign Economic Trade of the Customs Union of at least the first six digits;
- Product gross weight or volume, as well as the quantity of goods in additional units of measurement (if any) for each code of the Commodity Nomenclature of Foreign Trade of the Customs Union or the Harmonized Commodity Description;
- number of packages;
- destination of the goods in accordance with the transport (shipment) documents;
- documents confirming compliance with the restrictions associated with the movement of goods across the customs border of the Customs Union, if such transfer is permitted;
- planned transhipment of goods or cargo operations;
- time and place of arrival of goods into the customs territory of the Customs Union.

If the imported goods are not assumed to be placed for customs transit procedure in the place of arrival, interested person lodges information about:
- State registration of international transportation vehicle;
- The name and address of the carrier;
- The name of the country of origin and country of destination of the goods;
- Name, address, and destination of the goods;
- The seller and the recipient of the goods in accordance with the commercial documents, available to the carrier;
- The number of packages, their labeling and packaging types of goods;
- The name, as well as the codes of the goods in accordance with the Harmonized System or the Commodity Nomenclature of Foreign Trade of the Customs Union of at least the first four digits;
- Gross weight of goods (in kg) or their volume (in cubic m.), except for bulky cargo;
- Availability of goods import of which to the Customs Union is prohibited in or restricted;
- The place and date of filing the CMR;
- The time and place of arrival of goods into the customs territory of the Customs Union.

Mandatory preliminary information is not required for:
- Goods and vehicles moved by individuals for personal use;
- Goods sent by international mail;
- Goods and vehicles moved by certain categories of foreign persons in accordance with Sec. 45 of the Customs Code of the Customs Union;
- Goods and vehicles moved to rectification of the consequences of disasters, accidents and catastrophes;
- Military cargoes.

The customs authorities of the member state of the Customs Union, where the arrival of goods and vehicles is planned, within 2 hours after the receipt of the preliminary information are required to conduct its analysis with the use of risk management system.

In the place of arrival of goods, customs authorities will compare the preliminary information with the information contained in the transport (shipping), commercial and (or) other documents.

In case of discrepancy of information contained in databases of preliminary information and the information contained in the documents submitted by carrier, identified differences are taken into account when deciding on the application of customs control over submitted goods.

If the interested person didn’t submit the preliminary information in advance, appropriate information should be filed in the place of arrival of goods and lodged in the next 2 hours to the information system of customs authorities of the member state of the Customs Union, on whose territory the place of import of goods and vehicles is situated. The carrier (driver) should prepare all the necessary documents in paper and electronic forms on his own or through a customs broker, whose services in this case are overpriced several times.

Furthermore, the carrier will face more thorough inspection of the vehicle with the use of the risk management system, and / or possible demurrage of the vehicle at the border.

It should be pointed out again, that customs clearance of goods imported into the territory of the EU and the Customs Union is not currently available without preliminary information!

Mechanisms of electronic preliminary declaration / informing

As of today there are two possible mechanisms for electronic preliminary declaration:
First – to take advantages of the internal systems of each country (for example, to register preliminary information and to obtain a unique identification number of transportation in Russia through the electronic system of the Federal Customs Service of Russian Federation).
Second, for the TIR Carnet holders – to transmit electronic pre-declaration via IRU system TIR-EPD. The TIR-EPD system - this is a unique opportunity for international road transport carriers to lodge preliminary information about the TIR transportation to the customs authorities of 24 countries at once, including Belarus, Russia, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania, etc.

TIR-EPD meets the World Customs Organization safe framework standards, takes into account the specific requirements of NCTS and the customs authorities of particular countries.

Please be reminded, that preliminary notification must contain EORI number of the subject of customs relations (carrier). In fulfillment of this requirement, all carriers should be registered in advance by the customs authority in one of the EU countries, to get a unique 17-digit EORI code and further specify it in all customs documents and electronic preliminary information.
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Posted: 30 June 2013

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