14 July 2023


CLECAT has posted its feedback to the draft reporting obligations during the transitional period of the carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM). Whereas CLECAT supports the CBAM mechanism as a way to address the risk of carbon leakage when production is moved abroad to avoid carbon pricing, CLECAT has concerns with the way the European Commission now seeks to implement the mechanism.

Since the proposal has been on the table, a gradual implementation schedule has been promised to allow economic operators time to adapt in a predictable manner. CLECAT has expressed concern on the timeframe that has now been given to economic operators which is inadequate and unrealistic to properly prepare for being compliant with the new rules.

First, it has been noted that draft Implementing Regulation places freight forwarders and customs agents with the onerous obligation of becoming CBAM reporting declarants when acting as indirect customs representatives for non-EU established importers. The foreseen timeline of less than three months to learn the details on the applicability of the new rules before the beginning of the reporting obligations foreseen during the transition period creates an enormous burden on the economic operators we represent, to prepare in a successful and compliant manner. This is not only related to the reporting obligation itself, in terms of roles and liabilities, but also to all the resources and activities required to collect, process, and submit the CBAM quarterly reports. Customs agents and freight forwarders are not able to obtain and verify complex information and calculation/claim of embedded emissions of a specific product manufactured by a party in a third country, nor assume major reporting obligations that they could then become liable for.

The simplification proposed by the Commission using default values during the transitional period – which is extremely limited - creates additional concerns rather than providing clarity. Finally, it is also very concerning that there is still no clarity about when and how the Commission intends to launch the communication campaigns for third country partners and non-EU established traders. Customs agents and freight forwarders operate through global logistics and transport networks, and it might be almost impossible to comply with CBAM reporting obligations if importers outside the EU are not informed in due to time about their own obligations.