21 October 2022


On 20 October, CLECAT attended the 61st plenary meeting of the Trade Contact Group (TCG), which provides a platform for consultation between DG TAXUD and representatives from the private sector on developments in customs and trade. The meeting was attended by DG TAXUD’s Director General Gerassimos Thomas, who held an exchange of views with the trade community on the ongoing reform of the Customs Union.

DG TAXUD presented the findings of the public consultation on the UCC reform, which was carried out during the summer period. The public consultation largely reflected the views of CLECAT members and concluded that the performance of the EU Customs Union could be improved on many dimensions and that there was support for all policy options suggested by the Commission. Based on the findings that several policy options would have a strong positive impact, the Commission presented four building blocks of the future reform, including a single EU customs information environment, a new customs-to-business partnership, better cooperation at the border and a reform of the EU customs governance.

CLECAT is pleased that the Commission has duly considered CLECAT’s comments on the Wise Persons Group report and its response to the public consultation on the reform of the UCC. Specifically referring to the initiative to reform the AEO programme including a system-based approach, CLECAT highlighted the need to recognise the role and importance of customs intermediaries and ensure that they can enjoy equal opportunities under the future scheme. Regarding the proposal to create an EU customs agency, CLECAT warned of the need to vest the body with strict the vigorous roles and responsibilities to create an added value and avoid the creation of unnecessary bureaucracy. CLECAT once again reiterated its support for rest of the building blocks presented by the Commission.

Following the TCG plenary meeting, CLECAT’s Customs and Indirect Taxation Institute (CITI) met on 21 October to reflect on the important developments shared by the Commission and to exchange views on the next steps. Members expressed concern over the limited possibilities to reflect on the specific legal proposals that are being prepared by the Commission, the practical realisation of the future EU customs agency, and the need to ensure that the process of re-modelling AEO takes due account of customs intermediaries. CLECAT members also discussed the latest developments concerning the ongoing implementation of the UCC, and the major delays in the implementation of several IT projects, due at the end of 2022 and 2023, and the impacts on freight forwarders and customs brokers.