The Customs Code Committee and EC-EFTA Joint Committee have agreed changes to the Customs Code Implementing Provisions and the Common Transit Convention to reflect that NCTS is now the regular method of declaring goods to the Community/common transit procedure. The revised legislation will not, in general, greatly affect current procedures. However the opportunity has been taken to review the current enquiry and debt recovery procedures. One other significant change resulting from the revised legislation relates to the use of individual guarantee vouchers. The revised legislation will come into force on 1 July 2008 although the revised enquiry procedure will not come into effect until 1 July 2009. Details are as follows:
The enquiry procedure has been revised to speed up the discharge of the Community/common transit procedure and the guarantee.
The revised enquiry procedure will come into force on the 1 July 2009 and the main changes are as follows:
At present, if the TAD/SAD Copy 5 is not returned to the customs authorities within 2 months of the date of acceptance of the declaration, those authorities shall inform the principal and ask him to furnish proof that the procedure has ended.
Under the new enquiry procedure, when the customs authorities of the MS of departure
those authorities shall consider launching the enquiry procedure in order to obtain the information required to discharge the procedure.
The enquiry procedure is started at the latest 7 days after the expiry of one of these time limits.
Where it is not possible to obtain the information needed to discharge the procedure or where this is not possible, those authorities will:
The current law requests that the principal is informed and asked to furnish proof that the procedure is ended if the ‘Arrival Advice’ message has not been received by the time limit within which the goods must be presented to the office of destination or if under the NCTS Fallback procedure, Copy 5 of the transit declaration is not returned to the customs authorities of the MS of departure within 2 months.
Changes to the law on the enquiry procedures means that Member States may not always contact the principal first i.e. if the contents of Box 8 (Consignee Information) are sufficient, they may decide to contact the office of destination first. The UK will continue to inform the principal of any unresolved movements at an early stage.
Article 215(1) third indent of the Customs Code and Article 450a of the Implementing Regulations currently state that the customs debt shall be incurred at the place where the goods were either placed under the procedure or were introduced into the Community if the actual place where the events giving rise to the debt cannot be determined within ten months of the date of acceptance of the transit declaration.
Under the revised legislation, this ten month time limit will be reduced to:
Under the current legislation, where the procedure has not been discharged, the customs authorities of the Member State of departure must notify the guarantor of this fact within 12 months of the date of acceptance of the transit declaration. Under the revised legislation customs will have to send this notification to the guarantor within nine months of the prescribed time limit for presentation of the goods at the office of destination.
There will be new messages built into the NCTS when the new enquiry procedures come into force which will help to speed up the enquiry procedure. They will:
These new messages will not affect transactions keyed by members of the trade when using the NCTS.
As from 1 July 2008 individual guarantee vouchers will have to be in an electronic format. Paper guarantee vouchers will, however, still be available for use under NCTS fallback only. To date the Commission has not issued detailed information regarding the use of 'electronic guarantee vouchers' but we will provide further information about this as and when it becomes available.
Following agreement being reached on the final text of the Modernised Customs Code, discussions have now commenced to establish the corresponding Implementing Provisions (IP). Although discussions are still at a very early stage, an initial picture has started to emerge regarding the main changes that will affect the provisions relating to transit and Community status:
The Customs Code Committee recently met in Brussels in order to finalise the amendments to the Implementing Provisions (Commission Regulation 2454/93) to establish a legal base for the use of computerised data exchange in TIR and to formally adopt the changes and agree the implementation date.
At the meeting, the implementation date of the revised procedure was agreed for the 1 January 2009. From that date the use of NCTS will be compulsory for controlling all TIR movements within the EU.
OLAF (the EU Commission’s anti-fraud service) have proposed to have a much shorter list (beef, dairy products, bananas and undenatured ethyl alcohol have been removed although poultry and tobacco are proposed new additions). CT principals may have to have their guarantees amended if they move goods that are to be removed from the current list or if they move goods that are new additions to the list. Full details will be made available as soon as possible after the revised list has been agreed.
HMRC undertook a Post Implementation Review (PIR) of NCTS in 2006/7. The review team subsequently produced a report with detailed findings and made several recommendations covering technical and functional areas. A summary of this report is attached. The status of the individual recommendations was communicated to the trade during a recent JCCC Sub-group meeting on NCTS.
HMRC is aware of trade concerns about the high level of NCTS downtime. There is a strategy in place to drastically improve system availability. HMRC is also exploring methods to improve the level of out of hours system support to the business community.
To see the full Summary go to the ‘General Information’ section of the CT/TIR web page.
In March 2006, the Commission announced the staged withdrawal (sun-setting) of central technical support for the NCTS software applications and the requirement for all EU countries to undertake future development and support activities for the applications. As a result from 1 July 2008 all EU countries using the NCTS software application provided by the Commission for the mandatory submission of electronic transit documentation will have to make arrangements to either support the existing application or develop their own national application.
Support of the application includes the implementation of any new software releases or upgrades as appropriate, working within very tight timescales (dictated by the EU).
This project will provide a short term (two years possibly plus one) tactical solution to deal with the Commission withdrawing support. The separate Sunrise project for NCTS will deliver a long term strategic solution.
The NCTS Sunset project has completed Value and Viability lifecycle stages where a number of options were explored and some were discarded. The project has now moved into the define stage where the preferred option will be agreed.
Important - It has come to the notice of the NCTS Helpdesk that some traders are trying to arrive EAD documents on the NCTS, generating unnecessary rejection messages.
With effect from the 10 September 2007, the UK acts as an Office of Exit in the Export Control System (ECS) for export consignments raised in other Member States. ECS is a message based system similar to NCTS, set up to control 'Indirect Exports' from Member States e.g. an export from DE to the USA via London, Heathrow.
The 'control document' for movements under ECS is the Export Accompanying Document (EAD) - which must travel with the goods from the Office of Export to the Office of Exit. The EAD has similar characteristics to the NCTS Transit Accompanying Document (TAD) in that both have an MRN and barcode at the top right corner.
Although the documents are similar, ECS and NCTS are separate entities and should not be confused. To clarify, an EAD should have EX in box 1 (top centre).
Authorised Consignees must not attempt an arrival message for EAD documents on NCTS channels. EADs must be forwarded to our National Hub in Salford in accordance with instructions as described in JCCC Paper (07) 32.
Links for further ECS information:
If you have any queries please contact the NCTS/ECS Helpdesk (01255 244709 - Mon - Fri 08:00 to 16:00)
A Project Group has been set up by TAXUD to examine the technical requirements for Customs Seals. The group will make an informal judgement on the technical scope of the ISO seals standards in relation to the existing EC Customs legislation and will explore the need and possibilities for implementing a new seals policy within the EU. The UK has a representative on the group and we will keep the trade informed of developments.
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