Trade and Customs News - Edition 6 | KPMG | BE

Trade and Customs News - Edition 6

Trade and Customs News - Edition 6

The Trade & Customs newsletter is designed to highlight changes in the global trade landscape.

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KPMG in Belgium

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Trade and customs newsletter

1) Update on the Union Custom Code

On 29 December 2015 the implementing regulations (i.e. the Delegating and Implementing Acts) of the Union Customs Code (UCC) have finally been published in the Official Journal of the European Union. These regulations, along with the UCC, will become applicable as of 1 May 2016, but please keep in mind that various transitional measures are foreseen.

The European Commission will also publish ‘UCC guidelines’ in order to ensure a uniform interpretation throughout the EU. The publication of these guidelines, which are not legally binding, is expected before 1 May 2016.

The Commission has also approved a specific Delegating Act outlining the various transitional measures until the end of 2020 with regard to the future implementation of multiple IT work programs. In case the EU Parliament and Council do not raise objections, the final version of the ‘Transitional Delegating Act’ (TDA) will be published before 1 May 2016.

Finally, both the Belgian and the Dutch Customs Authorities have published information papers on how the UCC should be implemented.

Please find below a link to all aforementioned legal texts and information papers:

2) Update Dual Use Regulation

The Dual Use Regulation (EC) No 428/2009 has been updated. Annex I (list of dual-use items), Annex IIa to IIg (Union general export authorizations) and Annex IV (intra-community transfer of dual-use items) have been amended accordingly.

 

Please consult this alert for detailed information.

3) Update International Technology Agreement (ITA)

On 16 December 2015 WTO Members representing 90% of world trade in IT products agreed upon the timetable for implementing a deal to scrap import duties on 201 IT products. As of 1 July 2016, 65% of the import duties on these products will be eliminated. By 2019, most of the remaining products will gain market free access.

4) Iranian sanctions relief

On 16 January 2016, the IAEA presented a report confirming that Iran has taken all necessary measures to comply with its nuclear-related commitments in consistency with the JCPOA. It follows that as of 16 January 2016 (Implementation Day) the EU lifted its nuclear-related sanctions imposed against Iran.

Please consult this alert for detailed information

5) Trade preferences as of 2016 upon exporting EU goods to the Ukraine

As of 2016, most of the products originating in the EU benefit from preferential duty rates upon entry in the Ukraine. It is advisable to amend your approved exporter authorization and long-term supplier’s declarations accordingly. This will result in potential duty savings and will facilitate the placing of EU products on the Ukraine’ market.

6) Trade preferences Bosnia and Herzegovina suspended as of 2016

As of 2016, products originating from Bosnia and Herzegovina do no longer benefit from a preferential import duty rates upon importation into the EU. This is due to the fact that Bosnia and Herzegovina have not yet accepted to adapt trade concessions granted under the Stabilization and Association Agreement, in order to take into account the preferential traditional trade between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina under the Central European Free Trade Agreement. At this stage, it is unknown how long this suspension will last as this is a political issue.

7) Free Trade negotiations with the Philippines launched

The European Commission announces that it will start negotiations in the course of this year with the Philippines (ASEAN country) in order to conclude a Free Trade Agreement. We recall that the Philippines gained GSP+ status since late 2014 benefitting from a zero-rate import duty rate upon entry in the EU of most of its originating products.

8) Common transit with Serbia as of February 2016

The Convention of 20 May 1987 on a common transit procedure has been amended allowing Serbia to make use of common transit procedure as of 1 February 2016. The coverage of current guarantee documents needs to be changed in this respect.

9) Granting of Market Economy Status to China debated

The European Commission is discussing whether it should alter its treatment of China in anti-dumping investigations in view of the expiration of the Protocol of Accession of the WTO of 2001 by the end of this year. The possible granting of market economy status to China will dramatically impact the method to be applied to calculate anti-dumping margins and, therefore, will likely affect the European economy (steel and textile sector and the like). If the EU decides to grant market economy status to China this will result in changing the current anti-dumping rules. If so, the European Commission will table a proposal which will be sent to the European Parliament and Council for their approval. This will surely trigger high-stakes debates in the coming months.

10) GSP+ status granted to the Kyrgyz Republic

As of 27 January, 90% of the products originating in the Kyrgyz Republic benefit from a zero import duty rate upon importation in the EU. As from that date, 9 GSP beneficiary countries are enjoying GSP+ preferential status.
 

11) Various changes to the Belgian excise legislation

At the end of 2016, the Belgian Government has published a series of laws amending the Excise Duty regime in Belgium. Below you can find an overview of the most important changes which are applicable as of January 2016:


Increase of the excise duty rates on:

  • Energy products
  • Tobacco products 
  • Non-alcoholic beverages

 

An overviewof the new excise duty rates, which can be consulted here


New excise duty exemptions or exemptions with extended scope, on:

  • Colza oil used as motor fuel (if sold to end-customer by producing farmer)
  • Gasoil used as propellant for tractors
  • Non-alcoholic beverages based on rice

 

Specification on the non-retroactive character of refund applications for professional diesel.

Introduction of the possibility for direct deliveries for national excise products (i.e. for coffee and non-alcoholic beverages).

Remission or refund of packaging tax (for individually packed beverages) foreseen.
 

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