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BRUSSELS: May 01, 2016. The European Commission (EC) has introduced a new Customs framework - the 'Union Customs Code' (UCC) – to replace existing regulations throughout the European Union by the end of 2020.

EU UCC The EC said the UCC is designed to complete the shift to a paperless and interoperable Customs environment; offer greater legal certainty and uniformity to businesses; and simplify Customs rules and procedures to make transactions more efficient, modern and faster.

Doug Brittin, secretary general of The International Air Cargo Association, said his organization would conduct a workshop at the Air Cargo Forum in October to explain the new UCC framework that is expected to require a paperless interchange between the air cargo industry and EU Customs Union by 2020.

Pierre Moscovici, EC commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs commented: "An efficient EU Customs Union facilitates trade while at the same time enforcing necessary rules for security, safety and intellectual property rights. The new Union Customs Code opens the door to new state-of-the-art IT systems that will provide fast and quality data on goods being traded and will allow extremely close coordination among the administrations of our Member States."

The EC said the new rules aim to allow traders to clear Customs procedures more simply and quickly, getting goods to consumers faster and more cheaply; better protect consumers against illegal goods or goods which don't respect European environmental, health and safety requirements; and improve cooperation between Customs administrations with the help of new IT systems.

The UCC is a major overhaul of existing EU Customs legislation that dates back to 1992. Until 2020, the new rules will use existing IT systems and paper forms to handle the almost 15 percent of world trade in goods, worth €3.5 trillion, that flows in and out of the EU every year.

Once cleared by Customs in one Member State, goods can move freely within the Union on the basis that all countries apply the same revenue and protection rules at external borders. In 2014 Customs collaboration by the 28 Member States resulted in the seizure of 454.2 tonnes of drugs, 35 million counterfeit goods and 3.2 billion cigarettes.

More information on the UCC: http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/customs/customs_code/union_customs_code/ucc/index_en.htm

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