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Document 52020SC0238

COMMISSION STAFF WORKING DOCUMENT IMPACT ASSESSMENT REPORT Accompanying the document Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the European Union Single Window Environment for Customs and amending Regulation (EU) No 952/2013

SWD/2020/238 final

Brussels, 28.10.2020

SWD(2020) 238 final

COMMISSION STAFF WORKING DOCUMENT

IMPACT ASSESSMENT REPORT

Accompanying the document

Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council

establishing the European Union Single Window Environment for Customs and amending Regulation (EU) No 952/2013

{COM(2020) 673 final} - {SEC(2020) 360 final} - {SWD(2020) 237 final} - {SWD(2020) 239 final}


Table of content

1.    Introduction: Political, legal context and Vision statement    

2.    Problem definition    

2.1     What are the problems?    

2.2    What causes the problem?    

2.2.1    Overall context    

2.2.2    Problem drivers    

2.3    What are the consequences and size of the problem?    

2.3.1    Delays and inefficient use of financial and human resources    

2.3.2    Ineffective application of rules in the EU single market and beyond    

2.4    Affected stakeholders    

2.5    How will the problem evolve?    

3.    Why should the EU act?    

3.1     Legal basis    

3.2    Subsidiarity: Necessity and added value of EU action    

4.    Objectives: what is to be achieved?    

4.1     General objectives    

4.2    Specific objectives    

5.    What are the available policy options?    

5.1     What is the baseline from which options are assessed?    

5.2    Ongoing impacts without any further EU policy action    

5.3    Description of the policy options    

5.3.1    Group I: Government-to-government (G2G)    

5.3.2    Group II: Business to government (B2G)    

5.3.3    Group III: Cross-cutting options for registration and identification of economic operators    

5.4    Options discarded at an early stage    

6.    What are the impacts of the policy options?    

6.1    Approach to the analysis of the options    

6.2    Analysis of the impacts of the policy options    

7.    How do the options compare?    

8.    Preferred option    

9.    How will actual impacts be monitored and evaluated?    

Annex 1: Procedural information    

Annex 2: Stakeholder consultation    

Annex 3: Who is affected and how?    

Annex 4: Analytical methods    

Annex 5: Acronyms    

Annex 6: Glossary    

Annex 7: Overall volumes of EU supporting documents    

Annex 8: Categorisation of regulatory formalities    

Annex 9: Single window initiatives at national level    

Annex 10: Single Window initiatives At international level    

Annex 11: Number of declarations covered by options 1, 2 and 6    

Annex 12: Analysis of the discarded policy options    

Annex 13: Comparison of economic impacts for all option packages    

Annex 14: Evaluation of the EU CSW-CVED pilot and EU CSW-CERTEX project    

Annex 15: Assessment of impacts related to information and communication technologies and systems    

Annex 16: Country Case Study reports    

Annex 17: Overview of policy options    



1.Introduction: Political, legal context and Vision statement

The EU Customs Union is a fundamental aspect of the European Union and the management of external borders is of crucial importance in ensuring the health and prosperity of EU citizens and businesses. The Covid-19 pandemic has made it more important than ever to establish a stronger framework for the Customs Union and to ensure more effective controls while facilitating trade especially in times of emergency. This involves not only customs formalities, but also multiple non-customs regulatory requirements that certain goods are also subject to at the border in policy domains such as health and safety, the environment, agriculture, etc.

1 2 The customs administrations and competent authorities in charge of enforcing non-customs regulatory formalities (hereafter ‘partner competent authorities’) have worked mostly in silos. Most e-government initiatives have preserved the silos inherited from manual processes, leading to the development of many electronic systems of varying interoperability. In the customs domain, the Customs Union has undergone a number of modernisation steps since its creation. The design and deployment of the 17 Union Customs Code (UCC) systems aim to consolidate the digitalised EU Customs Union, enabling the electronic processing of more than 99% of all customs declarations. President von der Leyen recently proposed equipping the Customs Union with a stronger framework to better protect EU citizens and the single market and using an integrated European approach to reinforce customs risk management and support effective controls by the Member States. In response, the EU Commission (hereafter ‘the Commission) is preparing an Action Plan that includes the implementation of an EU Single Window Environment for customs over the next decade.

Figure 1: Path to the Customs Union digital modernisation

This digitalisation process is ongoing at a varying pace in the different policy areas interacting with customs at the border and requires breaking existing silos to facilitate trade and enhance controls. In recent years, single window initiatives have gained momentum as a way of doing this within and across EU. The vision of the EU Single Window environment for customs is designed to coordinate customs and partner competent authorities at the border to eliminate these silos.

There is a short window of opportunity to advance this initiative before Member States establish distinctly different and non-harmonised single windows, increasing the risk of an uneven playing field for economic operators and citizens across the EU. The establishment of the EU Single Window environment for customs is envisaged as an ‘evolution, not a revolution’ approach. The strategy will build on existing solutions to develop a framework for digital cooperation with partner competent authorities that would encompass their regulatory formalities over time once the respective sectorial legislation and operational Information and Communication Technology (ICT) aspects are in place. The objective of this initiative is not to revise the sectorial legislation, which falls under different areas of Union competence. Instead, it sets the appropriate conditions for digital collaboration between customs and partner competent authorities.

3 4 5 6 7 8 The Commission and EU Member States have made a number of commitments to develop harmonised single window services at EU level. The 2008 e-Customs Decision on a paperless environment for customs and trade called on the Member States and Commission to “endeavour to establish and make operational a framework of single window services”. However, the evaluation of the e-Customs Decision in 2014 found these provisions insufficiently concrete and recommended the adoption of a new legal instrument for the single window. The 2014 Venice Declaration proposed a progressive action plan to implement an EU Single Window environment for customs and to develop its legal framework. In addition, in 2016 the Communication from the European Commission on “Developing the EU Customs Union and its Governance” announced the Commission’s plans to explore a workable solution for the development and creation of an EU Single Window environment for customs. This position was supported by the ECOFIN Council Conclusions of March 2017 which requires the signatory parties to “make their best efforts to establish single windows”. This is also in line with the 2017 Trade Facilitation Agreement of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which requires the signatory parties such as the EU to “make their best efforts to establish single windows”. Some of EU’s main trading partners have embarked on ambitious single window initiatives, while other countries are building the foundation for future implementation.

9 10 In line with these priorities, the Commission launched a pilot project (“EU Customs Single Window-Common Veterinary Entry Document” ‘EU SW-CVED’) in 2015 to provide an interface between national customs systems and a certification system at EU level through the central information technology (IT) solution of the Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union (DG TAXUD). This project enabled the automated verification of three health certificates by five Member States’ customs administrations, participating on a voluntary basis. The “EU Customs Single Window-Certificates Exchange project” (hereafter ‘EU CSW-CERTEX’), launched in 2017, expanded the pilot and enhanced its functionality. By the end of 2018, new certificates were introduced, and the number of participating Member States increased from five to nine. EU SW-CVED and EU CSW-CERTEX can be considered as a blueprint for this initiative. An evaluation of EU SW-CVED and EU CSW-CERTEX carried out by DG TAXUD (hereafter ‘the evaluation’) is included in Annex 14.

The scope of the EU Single Window environment for customs extends beyond the field of customs. Its establishment builds upon the UCC’s digital transformation approach to take the Customs Union to the next level of modernisation by digitally connecting customs and non-customs domains. The ongoing Covid-19 crisis has created challenges for government authorities and trade to realise full digitalisation of the entire supply chain. Establishing an EU Single Window environment for customs will provide a solution for digital collaboration between customs and partner competent authorities in response to part of the challenges raised by such crises. This collaboration will enhance trade facilitation, while ensuring the safety and security of European citizens in the single market.

2.Problem definition

1.1

2.1 What are the problems?

In 2018, the EU was the second largest exporter and importer of goods in the world, with extra-EU trade accounting for 16% of export and 15% of import globally. In handling the high volume of imported and exported goods, the role of customs serves two main purposes: it implements customs and trade-related legislation in line with the provisions of the UCC, and it enforces many non-customs regulatory requirements for specific goods at the external borders. The laws governing non-customs regulatory requirements 11 are the result of specific policies established in different domains of EU competence under the Treaties, such as health and safety, environment protection, fisheries, agriculture, market surveillance, etc. They impose different obligations for the import, export or transit of specific goods and create specific administrative procedures. These have been designed independently and are mostly run in a non-coordinated manner, overlapping to a certain extent. This generates complex and burdensome reporting obligations for traders and poses a significant barrier to the effective enforcement of the regulatory formalities at stake.

This impact assessment defines as the main problems (as established by the external study to support the impact assessment) 12 : (1) fragmented interoperability between customs and partner competent authorities responsible for regulatory formalities required for the international trade in goods, and (2) duplication of information and procedural redundancies in the fulfilment of these formalities.

The fragmented interoperability 13 between regulatory authorities involved in the clearance of goods is a major obstacle to progress on the digital single market and to achieving an integrated, coordinated border management. Interoperability is defined by the European Interoperability Framework 14 as “the ability of organisations to interact towards mutually beneficial and agreed common goals, involving the sharing of information and knowledge between these organisations, through the business processes they support, by means of the exchange of data between their ICT systems.” The use of IT systems is a prerequisite for such interoperability. The increased digitisation of customs 15 and partner competent authorities 16 creates opportunities to promote the digital exchange of data between each other for a fully coordinated and efficient goods clearance process. However, there is no domain-specific interoperability framework to support interaction between customs and partner competent authority systems. This means that, while electronic systems are in place for some policy areas, customs authorities still rely on manual documentary controls to verify certain non-customs formalities 17 . These manual checks take time and resources and, compared to automated checks, are more prone to error and fraud (see section 2.3.1). In addition, the lack of interoperability prevents the possibility of streamlining and integrating customs and non-customs procedures. To give an indication of the scale of the problem, non-customs reporting formalities associated with the import and export of various goods apply to a sizeable portion of imports and exports at EU level: this applies to up to 39.7 million customs declarations annually 18 .

In part for this reason, 93% of economic operators 19 participating in the public consultation carried out for this impact assessment considered that the “promotion of electronic means to exchange information” should be one of the most important priorities for potential EU action. This shows the significance of this problem for economic operators dealing with the cross-border movement of goods. Fragmented interoperability also poses a significant barrier to the enforcement of certain regulatory formalities. In particular, this is because partner competent authorities lack systematic and automated feedback on the use of the supporting documents they issue.

Box 1: Evidence of fragmented interoperability

Fragmented interoperability (CVED-A, CVED-P and CED certificates)

For those Member States that have put in place a solution for the automated verification of Common Veterinary Entry Documents for Animals (CVED-A), for products of animal Origin (CVED-P), and of Common Entry Documents for Feed and Food of non-Animal Origin (CED), the existing arrangements 20 have improved clearance procedures. However, interoperability between customs and non-customs authority systems is limited. This hinders the effective monitoring on the use of these certificates and increases the risk of fraud (see section 2.3). 

Lack of interoperability (export and import of hazardous chemicals)

Customs is responsible for enforcing the obligations specified in Regulation 649/2012 21 for the export of hazardous chemicals. Some of these chemicals are subject to an export notification and Prior Informed Consent (PIC) from the importing country outside the EU. These procedures are managed by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) through the PIC IT system (ePIC). Customs must check the inclusion and validity of the Reference Identification Number (RIN) of the export notification, referenced as a supporting document to the customs declaration. Although this is available electronically, ePIC and customs systems are not interoperable, meaning that customs authorities need to check the ePIC system manually. A recent study 22 on the enforcement of Regulation 649/2012 revealed that this had not been done in 44% of the cases. Automatic checks would ensure that necessary checks are carried out in addition to increasing efficiency.

Duplication of information and procedural redundancies is another dimension of the problem. The different regulatory frameworks introduce data requirements and business processes, which are not harmonised with the customs ones. Differences in data sets inhibit exchange across competent authorities and at EU / Member State level, making operators submit the same information several times. On the other hand, lacking data harmonisation serves as a barrier to the re-use of data. This is a significant drag on the supply chain, diverting resources that could have been deployed elsewhere. Indeed, 81% of the economic operators responding to the public consultation cited “submission of the same information to more authorities” as negatively impacting the movement of goods.

Box 2: Duplication of information and procedural redundancies

One representative from a trade association participating in the EU Customs Single Window project group stated that “duplication and inefficiencies caused by the absence of harmonised procedures and systems amongst Member States are an economic drag on the whole supply chain”.

A customs policy adviser working for a Dutch company interviewed for the external study provided the example of aluminium. When importing aluminium from certain third countries, economic operators must apply for a paper document to facilitate the Commission’s monitoring of this type of product 23 . Nearly all of the information is also provided in the customs declaration. The Spanish customs authority confirmed that the overlap of information is 92%.

The Spanish customs authority further confirmed that about 30% of the customs declarations affected by non-customs regulatory formalities require more than one supporting document from partner competent authorities, creating high potential for duplication of information across these different requirements. For example, the import and export of shark fins could be subject to four different certificates to comply with the EU tariff and trade legislation measures 24 for this commodity.

In addition to the identified problems, the problem tree in the figure below depicts an overview of the underlying drivers (i.e. root causes) and consequences for stakeholders, as well as key contextual factors. Each of these other aspects is described in detail over the next pages.

Figure 2: Problem tree

Source: DG TAXUD

 

 

2.2What causes the problem?

1.1.1

2.2.1Overall context

This initiative focuses on the customs clearance process of goods subject to non-customs regulatory formalities. The key underlying drivers linked to the identified problems are: (1) complex and fragmented goods clearance, and (2) insufficient cooperation and coordination between the regulatory authorities involved in goods clearance. To better understand these drivers, it is important to consider the fundamental contextual factors surrounding the clearance of these specific goods, including the existing complexity of the regulatory and political frameworks along with the uneven state of digitalisation of the different regulatory authorities. The interaction between these factors provides the overall context for identifying the problem drivers.

The regulatory complexity stems from a large number of regulatory formalities required for international trade 25 . National customs authorities and partner competent authorities enforce over 60 EU acts at the EU’s external borders 26 . In addition, Member States introduce national requirements in accordance with Article 36 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) 27 . To meet these regulatory formalities, economic operators must often provide supporting documents to the customs declaration as evidence of compliance. These supporting documents can be grouped into several categories (see Annex 8), depending on whether they relate to EU or national legislation, and whether the documents or the data are available at the national or EU level.

EU regulatory requirements and associated mandatory supporting documents vary significantly by Member State, in line with their different trading profiles, both in terms of type and volumes of goods traded. Based on estimates by partner Directorates-General (DGs), the overall volumes of data available for supporting documents in the past few years indicate that these are required in large numbers, particularly in some countries (see Annex 7).

The political complexity results from the diverse implementation schemes within the regulatory framework governing goods clearance. Most notably, this is linked to the internal organisation of the Member States, meaning that the division of competences between the multiple partner competent authorities involved in the management of non-customs regulatory formalities varies significantly across Member States according to national specificities. Adding to this complexity are the differing priorities and resources for customs and partner competent authorities. Customs authorities are unique for their comprehensive insight on regulatory requirements for international trade and the concerns economic operators face. In contrast, partner competent authorities lack a clear picture on the broader set of administrative burdens related to goods clearance due to the specialist nature of their policies. In addition, the different comparative advantages and trading profiles among Member States lead to differing objectives in terms of balancing trade facilitation with customs controls 28 .

The uneven state of digitalisation of partner competent authorities involved in the clearance of goods adds to the regulatory and political complexity surrounding goods clearance and would need to be considered as part of any future attempt to improve digital collaboration between customs and partner competent authorities. This will be pursued by building on existing systems and providing a framework that would progressively encompass sectorial regulatory requirements as they become digitalised.

2.2.2Problem drivers

Problem driver 1: Complex and fragmented goods clearance

The fact that customs and sectorial legislation have developed independently has led to isolated administrative procedures which are run sequentially and overlap to a certain extent. This fragmented model of regulatory compliance creates a complex and challenging path for economic operators to import or export certain goods. They must communicate separately with both customs and non-customs authorities to place the goods under a specific customs procedure and wait for validated supporting documents 29 from the relevant partner competent authority before starting the customs declaration process where they have to submit those at the request of the customs authority. This is a major obstacle to streamline the import or export of affected goods (see box 5). The progressive digitalisation of the authorities concerned and the possibility of electronic information sharing between them has opened up new opportunities to improve this situation as depicted in the figure below.

Figure 3: Complex and fragmented goods clearance

Source: DG TAXUD

Problem driver 2: Insufficient cooperation and coordination between regulatory authorities involved

Another underlying driver is the insufficient cooperation and coordination between the different authorities responsible for goods clearance that typically operate in institutional silos. Interviews in eight Member States with relevant authorities suggested that close cooperation was not the norm and required commitment and resources from both sides to develop integration.

Where formal cooperation has been developed, it is typically limited to certain competent authorities. For instance, agreements are in place in Romania between customs and the Ministry of Health to allow for a coordinated control for goods requiring CVEDs. Likewise, Irish Customs is collaborating with the Department for Agriculture, Fisheries and the Marine for coordination of goods requiring CVEDs. Member States implementing national single window initiatives (France, Spain, and Italy) have managed to put in place more agreements for digital cooperation, but these are exceptions.

Feedback from stakeholders suggests that, in general this problem driver is very difficult to overcome. When asked about factors which act as barriers to developing a single window environment, nearly half of responding customs authorities cited the reluctance among competent authorities to give up traditional areas of responsibility or coordinate with other authorities. Likewise, a respondent to the public consultation 30 specified that improving coordination between authorities should be the priority, considering that customs authorities, as the "final" authority for the release of goods, should play a leading role in the organisational structure.

2.3 What are the consequences and size of the problem?

Two types of consequences have been identified: (1) delays and inefficient use of financial and human resources, and (2) an ineffective application of rules in the EU single market and beyond, leading to negative impacts on the safety and security of EU citizens.

2.3.1Delays and inefficient use of financial and human resources

Fragmented interoperability and duplication of information contributes to an inefficient use of financial and human resources. This implies that processes at the border are unnecessarily long, while compliance costs are higher, leading to negative impacts on the competitiveness of EU businesses involved in the international trade of affected goods (see box below).

Box 3: Delays in the export of dual use goods and their impact on competitiveness

The final report on data and information collection for EU dual-use export control policy review 31 indicates that in the space industry six companies out of nine experienced delays at customs when seeking to export dual-use items. This was also true of the machinery sector, where companies reported export delays even after licences were issued. In the chemical sector, dual-use controls were seen to delay export procedures because of misaligned export requirements and customs requirements for the same goods.

The report found that export controls are a key element for international competitiveness. Several associations representing the space industry indicated that the current dual-use export controls affect competition, giving rise to significant distortions between companies located in different EU Member States and between EU companies and third country competitors, such as the USA and India.

Delays: Longer clearance times

Main affected stakeholders: economic operators

At import, the general ratio of customs declarations subject to clearance documentary controls is around 5% and for physical controls around 3.2% (2.1% and 1.2%, respectively, at export) 32 . Compared to that, the ratios of documentary or physical customs controls for specific goods subject to non-customs regulatory formalities are very high, reaching in some cases 100%. This is due to the sensitivity of the goods and the enforcement role assigned to the customs authorities in the respective regulatory frameworks.

In the absence of electronic information exchanges between authorities, documentary checks must be carried out manually. This requires the assignment of customs officials to gather and review the supporting documents issued by the partner competent authorities from the economic operator and to verify their content with the customs declaration data. The release of the goods subject to manual checks can take days, for example, where a declaration is lodged outside of working hours. However, manual intervention by customs authorities have significantly decreased in those Members States that have electronically interconnected the customs systems with those of partner competent authorities, enabling the automated verification of supporting documents. Indeed, more than 80% of respondents to the public consultation indicated that the length of clearance time was the most prominent problem for respondents.

Box 4: Time and human resource savings through automated exchange

In Spain and France, the introduction of a single window environment has resulted in automated data crosschecks with significant time and human resource savings. In Spain, the system analyses data from the different competent authorities' systems and provides results within one minute compared to the manual process that can take up to two days. A similar situation was found in France where the single window environment has led to fewer interventions on the part of customs officers, freeing up their time for other activities. Specifically, prior to the automated exchange of supporting documents, 85% of these documents required manual checks, whereas now this has been reduced to 15% for supporting documents included in the single window environment. This means intervention is much less likely and resources can be deployed elsewhere.

Inefficient use of financial and human resources: Direct costs (particularly for compliance) and enforcement costs

Main affected stakeholders: customs authorities, economic operators and citizens

These costs relate to the financial and human resources needed to deal with customs and other regulatory requirements, which could otherwise be deployed elsewhere. The need for these resources is linked to the complexity of goods clearance processes: as regulatory requirements increase, the clearance time increases, and so do the resources needed to deal with them. The stakeholders affected by this problem are primarily customs officers who must spend resources processing declarations, and economic operators who must navigate complex systems and liaise with different authorities. Partner competent authorities are impacted but to a lesser extent, since they are typically involved earlier 33 . Citizens are impacted to a certain extent, as costs are pushed onto them in the form of higher prices.

Evidence from several sources shows that related costs are too high for the main stakeholders. For example, in Ireland, customs officials estimated that the enforcement costs for dealing with non-customs formalities accounted for two thirds of their work. Some customs officials were dedicated to dealing specifically with implementing or verifying non-customs formalities (in this case often the license for import of agricultural goods). This represents a diversion of resources from other tasks, which could potentially have higher added value as well as better enforcing compliance. For economic operators, compliance costs are also considered a significant problem, especially for smaller organisations with fewer resources. Evidently the costs are higher in sectors where border formalities are more complex (e.g. for food, animals and animal products), and for those economic operators trading in countries with outdated or lacking electronic systems.

Box 5: Inefficient use of resources – disproportionate compliance costs

A trade association representative explained that, when dealing with different authorities at the border, in many cases the economic operator needs to act as a “postman”, carrying around files and sharing them with different authorities.

In addition, economic operators in Member States with national initiatives already in place reported very favourable experiences. These initiatives have allowed them to simplify the processes of submitting and dealing with the supporting documents related to relevant regulatory requirements. For example, in Italy economic operators reported that by making certain documents fully digital (with partner government authorities sharing them electronically with customs), they were able to avoid costs for transporting the documents between authorities themselves, thereby benefiting from faster clearance and fewer delays. Economic operators in other Member States shared similar anecdotes about reductions in the waiting times and administrative errors that used to delay clearance processes.

The extent of human resources needed to deal with regulatory formalities is shown by the responses to the public consultation: most economic operators, and in particular micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), reported that they devote between one and four full time equivalents (FTEs) to formalities related to movement of goods across borders 34 . Unsurprisingly, large businesses tend to have more staff dedicated to customs operations and related regulatory requirements. Consultation with representatives of trade association members confirmed the significance of costs associated with hiring customs experts to deal with the specificities of the different national systems, and again highlighted that the burden falls harder on MSMEs.

2.3.2Ineffective application of rules in the EU single market and beyond

The main consequences are heightened risk of fraud, distorted competition in the single market and unintentional non-compliance. The problems of fragmented interoperability and the complex clearance process also create knock-on effects for the achievement of EU public policy objectives, such as security and safety of citizens, animals and the environment, as it makes it more difficult to ensure the effective application of rules in the EU single market. In addition, some of the non-customs formalities at stake stem from international agreements (e.g. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora licences (CITES), Waste Shipment Regulation, Prior Informed Consent Regulation on international trade in hazardous chemicals, etc.) or aim to protect third countries cultural heritage (e.g. import of cultural goods licences). Any loophole in the enforcement of these policies affects the proper fulfilment of international commitments and the level of protection of EU partners in these agreements and third countries in general.

Risk of fraud

Main affected stakeholders: partner competent authorities, EU citizens

The risk of fraud and corruption relates to deliberate deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain. This risk is higher when the systems for enforcement of regulatory requirements between and within Member States cannot talk to each other. The most tangibly affected stakeholders in this case are partner competent authorities who are unable to effectively apply rules and regulations in their remit, as well as EU citizens who may suffer the consequences.

Fraudulent reuse of supporting documents and abuse of quotas

Some supporting documents can be used to import or export defined quantities of goods which can be split across different consignments (meaning there is not a one-to-one relationship between supporting documents and customs declarations). Typically, such documents are valid EU-wide and relevant consignments may be cleared in different Member States. To verify the validity of such documents, authorities need to know that the remaining quantity has not already been used in the clearance of other consignments. Automated quantity management requires data to be shared in real time. Similar principles apply to goods subject to quotas, meaning further imports or exports are prohibited after a certain threshold is reached.

The current processes involving manual checks are not only time-consuming but also subject to error and fraud, making it difficult to prevent the fraudulent use and re-use of quotas (especially when supporting documents are supplied in paper form). However, EU-level quantity management is currently not possible in real time and extremely challenging to conduct retrospectively given patchy and inconsistent monitoring and reporting requirements. Evidence from several sources shows there is an unaddressed demand for the capability to undertake EU-level quantity management in order to apply EU rules in the single market. For example, the desire to have quantity management capabilities is high on Member States’ agendas, as shown in several case study reports 35 and the feedback received in relation to the EU CSW-CVED and EU CSW-CERTEX (see Annex 14). Interviews with Commission officials also highlighted the prominence of this need for EU-level quantity management. This issue was said to contribute to the inconsistent enforcement of EU legislation in some domains, such as those relating to environmental protection (see further information in the boxes below).

Box 6: Possible fraudulent reuse of supporting documents: An example of why EU level quantity management is needed

Controls for the import and export of Ozone Depleting Substances licences (ODS) are managed centrally by the Directorate-General for Climate Action (DG CLIMA) but implemented at the border. While DG CLIMA oversees issuing quotas, licences and authorisation for economic operators importing goods, customs offices must conduct the actual controls. This includes verifying quantities and checking the validity of licences. However, only about 15% of customs offices (i.e. about 400 out of 2 600 customs offices in the EU), are registered in to verify the authenticity and validity of the documents. In the case of ODS licenses, only 70% of the licenses are currently verified; the remaining 30% are not checked.

Box 7: Abuse of quotas: Illegal trade of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) 

Quotas related to the phasing down of HFCs in line with the 2016 Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol have increased significantly prices of HFCs. While encouraging innovation, this price increase has also raised the risk of illegal trade, which could potentially undermine environmental benefits and lead to unfair competition.

In 2018, the Commission received allegations of widespread illegal trade in HFCs, from industry sources and a report published by the Environment Investigation Agency (EIA) 36 . The report noted in particular that the current HFC reporting system does not allow customs authorities to fully verify compliance with quotas for HFC shipments. The fact that these shipments may be imported without quota emerges as an “open smuggling” phenomenon that could undermine the enforcement of the F-GAS Regulation. A study performed in 2019 by the Commission to assess the magnitude of illegal trade partly refuted the conclusions of the EIA as regards “open smuggling”, but acknowledged the presence of illegal activities and the need to improve the enforcement of the quota system 37 .

Quantity management at EU level of any restricted goods would require a centralised system to consistently monitor imported and exported quantities in one or more Member States and to determine remaining unused quantity(s) for a supporting document (or quota). This can only function correctly and be effective if all Member States participate within a single IT platform and use it in a consistent way, or if all Member States have IT systems which are interoperable in real time.

Forgery of supporting documents

Evidence from several sources shows that there is currently an unacceptable risk of documentary forgery, although it is not possible to fully estimate its scale.

Box 8: Risk of forged supporting documents (Firearm exports and Certificate of Inspection (COI))

According to Regulation 258/2012 on firearms exports, each Member State is free to decide on the electronic system for the application and licensing process of export licenses in line with national practices. The channels used for the fulfilment of regulatory requirements thus vary significantly, while, the absence of electronic systems to manage the authorisation process systematically creates high risks of fraud 38 .

The rapidly increasing demand for organic products has led to multiple types of fraud, including documentary forgery, driven by large price differences between organic and conventionally produced goods 39 . The Commission has already put measures in place to face this problem, for instance by developing the electronic Certificate of Inspection (COI), which had substantially improved the traceability of the organic products imported from non-EU countries. However, even if the regulatory authorisation systems become fully digital, an electronic connection with customs systems is necessary to tackle the existing heightened risk of fraud in full and to guarantee the complete traceability of organic products.

While these issues are widespread, evidence suggests that national single window initiatives have to some extent contributed to reducing the risk of fraud and corruption through more joined-up information sharing. For instance, when an electronic solution was introduced at national level in France it showed that 5% of CVEDs were illegally reused 40 . Although no hard data on the impact of these was available, the authorities believe this to have reduced the risk of fraud. In other Member States, the reduction of fraud was expected to occur through the introduction of electronic solutions, particularly where these were developed at EU level or made interoperable between Member States 41 . The European Parliament report on the shadow economy 42 and the EIA report on illegal HFC trade refer to the importance of electronic systems and information sharing as a means to combat fraud.

Distortion of competition

Main affected stakeholders: Economic operators

The ineffective application of rules in the EU single market creates a distortion of competition, contributing to an uneven playing field for economic operators.

A special report published by the European Court of Auditors in 2017 43 on EU customs controls reiterated serious weaknesses and concluded the illicit traders exploited differences and weaker links. The report found evidence of uneven application of customs controls. It also found different approaches to imposing customs penalties. The report highlights that burdensome customs controls can have an impact on the traders’ choice of customs office of importation and that (air)ports with fewer customs controls may attract more traffic. These shortcomings clearly have important implications, creating perverse incentives and customs duty evasion, as well as disadvantaging legitimate traders. While it has not been possible to provide concrete estimates, the evidence was cited as cause for significant concern. A 2018 report from the European Parliament took this further to indicate that the current imbalance in the performance of customs control by Member States creates a “diversion of the flows of goods towards the weakest points” – “port-shopping” by custom fraudsters 44 . This was mentioned during the interviews with members of trade associations, who highlighted a risk of incoherence for the EU if there are persistent differences in the application of community law by different Member States. Linked to this is the potential for some Member States or economic operators to exploit such differences for commercial gain.

Unintentional non-compliance related to lack of regulatory knowledge or comprehension

Main affected stakeholder: Economic operators (particularly small businesses)

Evidence from field visits and consultations within the Commission suggested that, in some cases, the complexity of border management processes led to poor awareness of requirements and unintentional non-compliance by economic operators 45 . This was suggested in interviews with authorities dealing with the export of waste, and the import of ozone depleting substances, among others. A total of 84% of economic operators responding to the public consultation cited “insufficient support from authorities” as negatively impacting the movement of goods. This suggests difficulties navigating the complex legal and technical requirements for movement of goods which may in turn hamper compliance. For example, a customs specialist working for a fruit importer in Ireland explained that the position had been created because the organisation was previously making too many errors and this was simply due to difficultly dealing with the complex requirements, liaising with different authorities and so on.

2

2.3

2.4Affected stakeholders

There are four key groups likely to be affected by the problem: national customs authorities, other national authorities, economic operators, and citizens.

Table 1: Affected stakeholders

Directly affected stakeholders

Indirectly affected stakeholders

Economic operators

National customs authorities

Partner competent authorities

Citizens

-Economic operators involved in international trade:

oManufacturers, retailers and wholesalers active in the business of purchasing and/or selling goods 46 ;

oShipping and transport companies dealing with the physical movement of goods or commercial transportation (freight forwarders and logistics companies);

oOther transport intermediaries such as port and airport authorities, terminal handlers, stevedores and warehouse operators, involved in the physical movement of goods;

oOther intermediaries involved in fulfilment of procedures, including customs brokers and businesses providing a service to one or several parties in the supply chain (in form of data processing and information exchange.

-EU businesses compliant with EU regulatory requirements that are affected by distortion of competition due to the uneven enforcement of these EU requirements.

-Customs authorities of the 27 Member States

-Commission DGs

-National/local ministries and agencies relying on customs to control and implement their policies at the border 47 .

-Citizens in general affected by the security of the market.

-Third countries, in particular partner countries bound by EU international commitments.

Source: DG TAXUD

2.5How will the problem evolve?

In the absence of new action, there is no evidence to suggest that the identified problems and their consequences would substantially improve. As such, the baseline scenario would not introduce any drastic changes or improvements in the following areas:

·Clearance times and efficient use of human and financial resources needed to meet the requirements for border formalities: the customs clearance of goods affected by certain non-customs formalities would be simplified and lead to time and resource savings in those Member States involved in single window initiatives for those particular formalities under their scope. However, no drastic changes in clearance times would be possible in most Member States. Likewise, this means the human and financial resources needed to meet the requirements for border formalities, would continue to be used at the expense of more efficient technical solutions. Without concerted action at EU level, this would deepen the differences between trade facilitation measures available to the economic operators in the Member States, affecting especially small businesses with fewer resources to move their import or export (international trade) operations to other Member States.

·Better application of rules in the EU single market, including:

oRisk of fraud resulting from lack of real time EU-level quantity management. The risk of fraud derived from the fraudulent reuse of supporting documents and abuse of quotas will not improve unless the 27 Member States customs systems are interoperable to the electronic systems managing non-customs regulatory requirements and the necessary exchanges of information between customs and partner competent authorities that would enable EU-wide quantity management are uniformly defined.

oDistortion of competition, as economic operators or Member States would continue to exploit differences in the application of legislation for commercial gain. Differences in the enforcement of non-customs legislation, which may cause diversion of the flows of goods towards the weakest points and raise disadvantages for EU businesses compliant with internal market rules will not be reduced. Rather, these would increase if the digital cooperation between customs and partner competent authorities and its positive contribution in terms of automated controls and improved risk management were only applicable in some Member States (those involved in single window initiatives).

oNon-compliance due to lack of regulatory knowledge or comprehension would also continue to be a risk, particularly when combined with multiple and non-aligned national single window solutions. This would be problematic if individual Member States develop divergent solutions to simplify reporting formalities for economic operators (B2G solutions).

3.Why should the EU act?

3.1 Legal basis

The legal basis for the EU to act is provided by Articles 33, 114 and 207 of the TFEU. Articles 33 and 114 give the European Parliament and the Council the right to take measures to strengthen customs cooperation between Member States and between the latter and the Commission to ensure the proper functioning of the internal market. In addition, the choice of Article 207 as a legal basis relies on the premise that the scope of the initiative extends beyond cooperation between customs authorities to include trade facilitation as an important aspect of trade policy.

3.2 Subsidiarity: Necessity and added value of EU action

The identified problems are inherently transnational, involving the movement of goods across borders and EU-wide effects of any error and fraud taking place in individual Member States. The EU, given its responsibility for the Customs Union and for the non-customs regulatory requirements in question, is well placed to address the problems by coordinating action, tackling fragmentation and generating economies of scale. Moreover, existing and expected action at different levels has been shown to be inadequate on its own. The following points explain this for each of the three types of existing and expected action, namely the gradual digitalisation and modernisation of processes related to the clearance of certain goods; the development of customs single windows at national level; and continued operation of the EU CSW-CERTEX project. Gradual digitalisation and modernisation of the processes for certain goods: over time, as relevant EU non-customs legislation is reviewed and modernised, paper documents are likely to be replaced by electronic versions. This is likely to generate some positive effects, both in terms of efficiency and correct application of EU rules. However, due to fragmented interoperability and diverse business processes, this would not make it easier for economic operators, partner competent authorities and customs authorities to share information. The problem could even get worse, or force actors to resort to the exchange of paper documents, if the systems and processes are changed in divergent ways, since customs authorities could not be expected to develop links with all of them. Without a coordinated approach, it is also likely that developments would proceed at an uneven pace, with the current paper-based processes remaining in use for some regulatory requirements. Finally, any such issues would be exacerbated for the substantial proportion of goods movements involving more than one Member State (e.g. goods requiring supporting documents issued in one Member State, but cleared in another), since customs authorities could not be expected to make the investments needed to align with the different partner competent authorities in other countries.

Development of national customs single windows: several Member States, such as France, Italy and Spain, have made significant progress in implementing national customs single windows. However, these initiatives face several challenges, which suggest that the benefits would be limited. First, according to feedback from project group members, the necessary resources are unavailable in most Member States. Second, a major shortcoming of the current patchwork arrangements is the lack of EU-wide quantity management. This would be unachievable under national customs single windows, even if they became widespread. Third, the scope of national customs single windows varies and usually only includes a few non-customs regulatory requirements, leaving the majority of problems unaddressed. Fourth, the development of national customs single windows would bind individual Member States to their chosen solutions, making any later decision to improve coordination and interoperability more difficult to realise. Evidently, the absence of harmonised measures to develop national single-entry points would lead to a complex situation for economic operators due to significant variations in regulatory reporting arrangements in different Member States.

Continued operation of the EU CSW-CERTEX project: in the absence of a new initiative, some Member States would continue to participate in EU CSW-CERTEX on a voluntary basis. For the countries concerned, this would allow some of the identified problems to be addressed to a certain extent, especially as procedural redundancies (e.g. the continued need for paper documents to accompany electronic versions) are reduced. However, the project’s desired benefits in terms of efficiency gains, enforcement and reduction of fraud and errors cannot be realised without EU-wide quantity management, which is only possible if all Member States participate. The current levels of participation have been achieved in anticipation of the imminent introduction of an obligatory version. Without this prospect, participation would stagnate or decline. This would also make it difficult to justify the investment needed at EU level to further expand the scope of the initiative to cover more regulatory requirements.

Given its role in modernising the Customs Union and better enforcing customs and non-customs regulatory requirements at the border, the EU has a unique advantage to reassess the fundamental practices and procedures of the current fragmented model of regulatory compliance. EU action in this area will improve compliance of regulatory requirements with EU legislation and further facilitate the cross-border movement of goods. This, in turn, would bring a clear added-value to the interaction between customs and partner competent authorities and the day-to-day activities of economic operators. Ultimately, EU intervention will generate significant social and environmental impacts and substantial economic benefits for society as a whole.

In accordance with Article 5(4) of the Treaty on the European Union 48 , the content and form of Union action must not go beyond what is necessary to meet the objectives of the Treaties. Respect for the principle of proportionality will be provided by ensuring that the policy approach and its outreach match the identified problem/objective. For this purpose proportionality is a key criterion considered in the comparison of the policy options.  

4.Objectives: what is to be achieved?

1.

4.1 General objectives

The general objective of this initiative is twofold: (1) to improve the enforcement of non-customs regulatory requirements that must be applied to goods at EU borders, thereby enhancing the protection of the Union; and (2) to facilitate international trade.

4

4.2 Specific objectives

The initiative will contribute to the general objective by pursuing the following three specific objectives in line with the identified problems:

1.Define a governance framework for the EU Single Window environment for customs to enhance cooperation and ensure interoperability of national and EU Single Window solutions where beneficial and appropriate. This objective addresses the problem of fragmented interoperability in the management of goods clearance processes.

2.Improve working practices between customs and partner competent authorities involved in international trade to automate to the extent possible customs controls of non-customs regulatory formalities, and to promote electronic feedback of the customs clearance as well as a better integration of the applicable procedures. This objective addresses the problems of fragmented interoperability in the management of goods clearance processes and duplication of information and procedural redundancies.

3.Determine a framework for data harmonisation and enable the re-use of data provided by economic operators when fulfilling the different formalities required by customs and non-customs authorities for international trade. This objective addresses the problem of duplication of information and procedural redundancies. 

Taken together, the general and specific objectives would achieve the overall objective of a streamlined EU regulatory environment for international trade that delivers long-term benefits to the Union and its citizens across policy domains. Importantly, any technical solutions capable of addressing the objectives would take considerable time to develop and be deployed progressively, with various elements becoming operational at different times. For this reason, it is envisaged that the objectives would be achieved gradually over the course of the next decade.

Figure 4: Policy objectives

Source: DG TAXUD

5.What are the available policy options?

5.1 What is the baseline from which options are assessed?

The baseline scenario serves as the benchmark against which the different options are assessed. Its analysis requires an examination of EU CSW-CERTEX and the existing national single window solutions. To facilitate this analysis, two different variables are taken into account to present the scope of single window initiatives to date at EU and national levels:

Categories of single window services provided: these services are divided in a government-to-government (G2G) and a business-to-government (B2G) dimension;

Type and volume of non-customs regulatory requirements covered: regulatory requirements 1) imposed and regulated at EU level, 2) introduced nationally in accordance with Article 36 of the TFEU, or 3) certified by third countries in the context of international agreements or EU legislation.

The increased digitalisation of customs and regulatory procedures has opened up new opportunities to improve the interoperability and cooperation between customs and partner competent authorities. Both the Commission and some Member States have started to develop and put in place G2G single window services to interconnect national customs systems with those of partner competent authorities where the supporting documents data is stored. In principle, G2G single window services may be described as digital exchanges of information between customs and partner competent authorities’ systems that:

·Allow customs authorities to automatically receive and verify the relevant electronic supporting documents issued by partner competent authorities; and

·Enable partner competent authorities to monitor and manage the authorised quantity of goods based on the release of goods by customs (quantity management).

The presence of G2G single window renders the customs clearance process more efficient, thanks to the automation of documentary controls and enables customs authorities to better enforce the regulatory policies of partner competent authorities, thanks to the ability to automatically monitor the consumption or use of supporting documents. However, these services do not resolve the issue of economic operators having to communicate separately with both customs and the relevant partner competent authorities to place the goods under a specific customs procedure.

B2G single window services aim at streamlining reporting formalities imposed on trade for the import, export and transit of specific goods subject to non-customs regulatory formalities. They avoid reporting and procedural redundancies and enable the realisation of the internationally recognised single window concept by providing economic operators with a single-entry point to fulfil all import, export and transit-related regulatory requirements 49 . B2G single window services aim to significantly improve the customs clearance process, by allowing economic operators to lodge all the necessary data required by customs and non-customs legislation at a single-entry point and receive any related information from concerned authorities directly from this point 50 .

The relevant non-customs regulatory formalities can be categorised in four groups as shown in the table below (a detailed list of the regulatory requirements under each category is provided in Annex 8).

Table 2: Categories of non-customs regulatory requirements

Category 1

Category 2

Category 3

Category 4

51 EU regulatory requirements with data available for all Member States at EU level.

52 EU regulatory requirements with data available in a national or EU voluntary system.

53 National regulatory formalities introduced by national legislation in accordance with Article 36 of the TFEU.

EU regulatory formalities certified by a third-country authority and submitted to EU customs authorities.

Source: DG TAXUD

In light of the above variables, the relevant existing EU and national initiatives consist of the G2G solution provided by EU CSW-CERTEX and the national single window initiatives being developed in several Member States.

EU CSW-CERTEX is focused on establishing a connection between the national customs systems of the participating Member States and a number of EU databases covering certain non-customs regulatory requirements. In practical terms, supporting document data is passed through to the customs systems of the participating Member States in a way that it can be automatically verified against the customs declaration data. This platform also provides a quantity management functionality for reserving the declared quantities of authorised goods in the source database. EU CSW CERTEX covers only a subset of Category 1, namely Union regulatory formalities 54 , whose information is available for all Member States at EU level 55 .

56 57 In addition to the voluntary participation of several Member States in EU CSW-CERTEX, a number of single window national initiatives are ongoing in countries such as Austria, Czechia, France, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal, Spain and the Netherlands. The majority of these are focused on G2G services while some Member States, such as Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands have started taking steps to develop B2G services. Some Member States are also using their national initiatives to integrate processes across various authorities for the coordination of respective controls providing a one-stop shop solution. The regulatory formalities within the scope of each national initiative can be summarised as follows:

·Czechia, Latvia and Portugal, participating in the EU CSW-CERTEX have developed interconnections with some national systems hosting EU regulatory requirements (e.g. AGRIM/AGREX for Czechia, Latvia and Portugal and CITES licences for Czechia). This allows the automated verification of 85-90% of the volume of these supporting documents, as long as they are issued within the same Member State. In 10-15% of the cases, the supporting document presented to customs for import or export has been issued in another Member State and therefore cannot be automatically validated through the established national connections. In these cases, a paper version of the supporting document has to be verified manually.

·Austria, Spain, France, Italy, Lithuania and Sweden have connected their customs systems to national systems hosting either EU regulatory requirements, such as AGRIM, AGREX, CITES, dual use goods licences, surveillance documents and export authorisation of firearms, or national ones. Similarly to the above, this enables the automated verification of the respective supporting documents in around 85-90% of the cases and manual verification for the other 10-15%.

·Spain and Italy have also developed a connection to automatically verify EU regulatory requirements available in EU systems (e.g. CHED-A, CHED-P, CHED-D) outside the EU CSW-CERTEX solution.

Authorities in the EU also deal with supporting documents issued by third countries. Connections between customs and third countries licensing or certification systems have not been established at either EU or national level. This means that any EU regulatory formalities certified by a third-country authority and presented to EU customs as a supporting document to the customs declaration has to be verified manually as is currently the case for the VI-1 document for wine imports, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) for diamond imports, or Certificates of Origin 58 .

5.2Ongoing impacts without any further EU policy action

The evolution of the current situation without additional EU intervention would affect in several ways the actors involved in the international trade. The scope of EU CSW-CERTEX project would remain limited to G2G services focused on the verification of regulatory requirements for a relatively small number of non-customs formalities. Member States would continue to participate in this project on a voluntary basis 59 . While both the Commission and Member States would incur considerable costs to maintain the system and connections to it, the limited participation would make it impossible to implement crucial features such as reliable EU-wide quantity management 60 . The Member States that are not participating in this project would continue to follow national practices leading to difficulties in verifying volumes consumed in these Member States for EU CSW-CERTEX members. As reported universally by Member States, this would discourage additional Member States from joining the project. With fewer Member States likely to participate and an uncertain future, it would be difficult to justify the investment necessary to integrate further regulatory requirements. It can thus be assumed that coverage would remain limited to those where agreements between DG TAXUD and other DGs have already been made 61 .

Based on the experiences to date and information regarding expected developments, national Single Window initiatives in a growing but limited number of Member States would be likely to continue in parallel with EU CSW-CERTEX. They would evolve in different directions and modalities based on the varying levels of digitalisation of government services, political priorities, existing IT architecture and cost structures. These initiatives would also entail significant costs, partly due to the need for each Member State pursuing a national Single Window to develop separate IT solutions. In some cases, national customs and partner competent authorities would even need to replicate EU-level databases such as TRACES in order to cover certain regulatory requirements.

EU CSW-CERTEX and advanced national single window initiatives pursued by a few Member States will continue to provide certain benefits in the participating Member States. These mainly include time savings through reductions in the time and effort needed for various stakeholders to deal with the goods clearance processes 62 , improved cooperation between customs and non-customs authorities 63 and better enforcement of non-customs formalities 64 . These limited benefits would only partially achieve the objectives of this proposal. In the absence of new EU action the following impacts could be expected:

·Customs authorities in non-participating countries without national single window initiatives would continue to rely heavily on manual checks for the verification of non-customs regulatory formalities. Reliance on manual procedures implies more complex and uncoordinated goods clearance processes for both regulatory authorities and economic operators at EU and national level 65 . Moreover, their continued use would cause delays in the clearance process and may generate administrative errors.

·The lack of EU-wide automated quantity management would lead to persistent risks of fraud and gaps in the enforcement of concerned regulatory requirements by customs, even in Member States participating in the pilot or with single window initiatives at national level. The potential for the fraudulent reuse of documents is high due to the absence of a strict one-to-one relationship between a supporting document and a customs declaration. For example, EU level quantity management is also necessary for the effective enforcement of quotas (see box 7 in section 2.3.2.), but this functionality is not possible unless all Member States are involved, and the technology supports real-time information sharing.

·Finally, the current situation in the EU related to regulatory formalities required for the international trade in goods is still far from meeting the needs of traders for efficient goods clearance. Differences in data sets and processes across regulatory formalities inhibit harmonised exchange between customs and partner competent authorities, resulting in the submission of the same information multiple times. In the absence of EU action, only non-harmonised B2G single window services would be available in the (few) Member States that decide to develop them nationally, leading to an uneven playing field in terms of trade facilitation.

5.3Description of the policy options

Eight policy options 66 have been identified to address the problems discussed above and to achieve the set objectives. They are based on the evaluation of EU SW-CVED carried out by DG TAXUD and the experience derived from its evolution into EU CSW-CERTEX as well as discussions and deliverables of the project group. They were further analysed and assessed by the senior management of Member States customs administrations and trade representatives at the High-Level Seminar 67 that took place in Bucharest on 15-16 May 2019. The options cover a range of potential actions to develop an EU Single Window environment for customs and can be structured in three different groups depending on the type of services offered:

·Group I (options 1-4): options for government-to-government (G2G) back-end cooperation that would focus primarily on facilitating information sharing between customs and partner competent authorities.

·Group II (options 5-7): options for business-to-government (B2G), front-end cooperation aimed at improving economic operators’ interactions with customs and partner competent authorities.

·Group III (option 8): cross-cutting option aimed at streamlining the way customs and partner competent authorities identify and store information on economic operators.

2

3

3

4

5

5.2

5.3

5.3.1Group I: Government-to-government (G2G) 

Options 1-4 address how customs and partner competent authorities can automatically and effectively exchange, cross-reference and verify information for the customs clearance process when an economic operator submits a customs declaration requiring the compliance of non-customs regulatory formalities. Each option covers a different category of non-customs regulatory requirements (see Annex 8). Since different categories of regulatory requirements have different systems and arrangements for receiving, processing and storing information, the solutions needed to include any of them in a future policy choice would also differ. Even within options, multiple implementation choices could be envisaged.

Options 1-4 are not mutually exclusive, but rather are cumulative, meaning that a combination of them could form part of a future policy choice. Given that option 1 builds on the existing EU CSW-CERTEX project by expanding it to all Member States and covers regulatory formalities that (due to their management using existing EU electronic systems) are easier to interconnect, it would not make any logical sense to put in place options 2, 3 or 4 (which cover different categories of formalities) without firstly implementing option 1. For this reason, option 1 is viewed as a prerequisite to any future policy choice apart from continuing with the baseline scenario.

Option 1 – Interconnecting national customs systems to EU non-customs regulatory formalities digitally available at EU level

This option would cover EU regulatory requirements managed through EU electronic systems or through a combination of EU and national systems, but where the relevant information required by customs for clearance, for all Member States, is available at central level 68  (e.g. CHED-A, CHED-P, CHED-D, CHED-PP, COI, FLEGT, ODS, FGAS).

Figure 5: Option 1 – EU regulatory requirements managed through EU systems

Source: DG TAXUD

It would put in place a legal framework for uniform and obligatory use of the existing EU CSW-CERTEX system to exchange information between the national customs systems and the existing and future EU electronic systems managing EU regulatory requirements. This means that the scope of the option has a dynamic feature and additional EU regulatory formalities will be added as they become available at EU central level. Where applicable, this option would allow quantity management by customs of supporting documents at EU level 69 .

Option 2 – Interconnecting national customs systems to EU non-customs regulatory formalities digitally available at Member State level

Option 2 would cover EU regulatory requirements managed through national electronic systems, or a combination of national and voluntary EU systems 70 , which make only the customs-relevant information from participating Member States centrally available (e.g. agricultural import and export licenses 71 and dual use goods licences). The scope of this option has a dynamic element intrinsically linked to the scope of option 1. Formalities currently under the scope of option 2 will be integrated into option 1 progressively as EU regulatory formalities become digitally available for all Member States at EU level. The possibility to centralise national non-customs systems must be assessed on a case by case basis against each regulatory formality under the scope of option 2. This assessment should be based on the specific framework of each sectorial legislation 72 and conducted through the engagement of all relevant stakeholders. This explains why the centralisation of existing national non-customs systems falls outside the scope of this impact assessment and it is subject to further analysis in the respective areas of competence 73 .

For the purpose of this initiative, this option would put in place a legal framework for making existing national systems and future voluntary EU electronic systems interoperable through EU CSW-CERTEX. This would grant national customs systems access to relevant information stored both in their own and other Member States’ certification or licensing systems. Customs authorities of a given Member State would be able to automatically verify supporting documents issued in another Member State and provide feedback of goods clearance for quantity management purposes. Technical solutions for connecting EU CSW-CERTEX to national certification or licencing systems could either be direct – option 2 (i), or indirect – option 2 (ii).

Option 2 (i) – Direct connection

Figure 6: Option 2(i) – EU regulatory requirements managed through national systems, connecting EU CSW-CERTEX directly

Source: DG TAXUD

EU CSW-CERTEX would establish a direct connection between national customs systems and existing national partner competent authorities’ systems and/or future voluntary EU systems.

Option 2(ii) – Indirect connection

EU CSW-CERTEX would enable national customs systems to access relevant information stored in the national partner competent authorities’ systems of other Member States through their national customs system. Thus, each national customs authority will be responsible for collecting the relevant information on non-customs regulatory requirements from their own national competent authority.

Figure 7: Option 2(ii) – EU regulatory requirements managed through national systems, connecting EU CSW-CERTEX indirectly

Source: DG TAXUD

Option 3 – Interconnecting national customs systems to national non-customs regulatory requirements in another Member State

This option would cover a wide spectrum of national non-customs regulatory requirements managed through national systems, resulting in highly diverse examples (see Annex 8).

Option 3 would put in place a legal framework for national customs administrations to access information from the national certification/licensing systems of other Member States. The need to access information on a national regulatory formality of another Member State would only arise in the context of centralised clearance 74 whereby the economic operator can lodge a customs declaration at the customs office where his activity is established for goods, which are presented at another customs office in the EU. Similar to option 2, technical solutions for connecting EU CSW-CERTEX to national systems could be either direct or indirect.

Option 4 – Interconnecting national customs systems to EU non-customs regulatory formalities digitally available in third countries

Option 4 would put in place a legal framework that would allow customs authorities to electronically access information and verify compliance with EU regulatory formalities requiring third country supporting documents. Its scope covers EU regulatory requirements for which there is no EU or national system, such as the Certificate of Origin, VI 1 document for wine imports and the Kimberley Process Certification for diamond imports.

5.3.2Group II: Business to government (B2G) 

Options 5-7 focus on different ways of streamlining reporting processes for the economic operators to customs and partner competent authorities when dealing with regulatory requirements mentioned above. These options are mutually exclusive, meaning only one of them could form part of a future policy choice. A continuation of the baseline scenario would mean no EU action at the front end, though individual Member States may pursue related initiatives at national level.

Option 5 – Harmonised portal for economic operators to fulfil EU non-customs regulatory requirements

This option would put in place a legal framework to give economic operators a harmonised portal for interacting with the various electronic systems used to deal with EU regulatory requirements of partner competent authorities. This would give economic operators a common portal for lodging various types of information regardless of the Member State(s) and/or the partner competent authority involved. However, customs declarations would still need to be lodged separately through the customs systems of individual Member States, meaning economic operators would fulfil regulatory formalities through both customs and non-customs channels instead of through a single-entry point.

This option could either cover only regulatory requirements of partner competent authorities for which relevant information is stored in EU systems, or a combination of EU and national systems. Individual Member States could also facilitate access between the portal and national systems managing national regulatory requirements in order to expand its scope. Technical solutions for implementing this option would be based on the provisions of the Regulation on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market (eIDAS Regulation) 75 , which facilitates the use of national electronic identification systems across borders, as well the Commission’s Uniform User Management and Digital Signatures (UUM&DS) authentication system.

Option 6 – Harmonised national single-entry points for economic operators to fulfil customs and non-customs regulatory requirements

Option 6 would put in place harmonised measures for the Member States to set up customs single windows at national level, providing economic operators with harmonised single-entry points to fulfil all customs and non-customs regulatory requirements.

National customs authorities would act as a hub for receiving relevant information from economic operators on behalf of partner competent authorities, as part of the customs declaration process. This solution would enable economic operators to submit information related to non-customs regulatory requirements in addition to customs data at the time of lodging the customs declaration. This information will then be distributed to partner competent authorities’ systems via the EU CSW-CERTEX. Depending on which of options 1-4 this option is combined with, the result would allow for a degree of interoperability and process integration between Member States.

Option 7 – EU single-entry point for economic operators to fulfil customs and non-customs formalities

This option calls for the development of a centralised EU electronic system that would provide (1) a common interface for economic operators to submit both customs declarations and all other data needed to fulfil non-customs regulatory requirements and (2) a common repository that would replace existing national systems for import, export and transit. In other words, this option would introduce a single-entry point at EU level for all border formalities required for the clearance of goods. This information will then be distributed to partner competent authorities’ systems via the EU CSW-CERTEX as needed to verify compliance. Due to the specific features of this option, the way it could be combined with options 1-4 differs from option 6 in terms of interoperability and system integration. Given that its implementation would replace existing national customs systems with a single centralised system, this option could only be combined with a simplified version of option 1 that entails a single connection to EU CSW-CERTEX. For the same reason, it would be impossible to implement option 7 alongside the indirect connection versions of options 2 and 3.

5.3.3Group III: Cross-cutting options for registration and identification of economic operators 

Option 8 – Extend the use of the Economic Operator Registration and Identification System (EORI) to partner competent authorities

This is a cross-cutting option that aims to extend the use of the Economic Operator Registration and Identification system (EORI) 76 to partner competent authorities. While this is not a standalone option, it would serve as a facilitation tool to implement G2G and B2G options. This would allow customs and partner competent authorities to exchange, collect and receive information about economic operators more easily, with the purpose of reducing the administrative burden on economic operators and facilitating the implementation of any of the other policy options chosen. Two alternatives can be considered under this option:

a)Option 8(i) would extend EORI to partner competent authorities for registration, identification and validation purposes. This sub-option would imply the registration of additional businesses who are not registered with the customs authorities, as EORI would become a common registration and identification number for customs and partner competent authorities involved in international trade.

b)Option 8 (ii) would grant access to EORI system to partner competent authorities for validation purposes. This would mean they can request the EORI number from economic operators in the context of their formalities and validate it against the EORI systems, but not register on the basis of this initiative additional businesses which are not covered under the UCC 77 .

As a reference point for the foregoing problem analysis and proposed options, a summary of the intervention logic of the initiative is presented in the figure below. It provides a visual representation of the links between the identified problems, their drivers, the specific objectives for further intervention and the options that are likely to achieve these objectives. Although the impacts of each proposed option category would likely influence all three objectives to a limited extent, the arrows connecting the specific objectives to the policy options represent the most relevant links.

Figure 8: Intervention logic

Source: DG TAXUD

5.4Options discarded at an early stage

The options have been screened to focus the analysis on the most viable ones. The screening exercise was carried out based on evidence collected from stakeholders in the project group and Commission services, using criteria for technical feasibility, effectiveness and proportionality. The results are presented in the table below, with a preliminary judgement and explanation provided for each option and criterion. The last column states whether an in-depth analysis or a limited analysis would be appropriate for each option.

Table 3: Screening of the policy options

Technically feasible

Likely to be effective

Proportionate

Level of analysis

Option 1

Yes; the viability has been tested through the EU SW-CVED pilot and EU CSW-CERTEX project.

Yes; results of the EU SW-CVED pilot and initiatives similar to this option at national level indicate that significant benefits could be expected in terms of all the policy objectives as defined.

Yes; while substantial benefits would be expected, this option uses fairly low-cost DG TAXUD middleware in order to link existing/planned EU electronic systems. Evidence from the EU SW-CVED pilot also shows just limited costs for the Member States, while economic operators would incur hardly any costs.

In depth analysis; this option is highly feasible and likely to be effective and proportionate.

Option 2

Yes; technical feasibility has been investigated through the project group, showing that the DG TAXUD middleware could be used to link national systems and / or any relevant EU systems.

Unclear without further investigation; benefits from key functions (e.g. quantity management) would depend on the full participation of Member States.

Unclear without further investigation; the costs to the Member States could be substantial and would need to be compared to the likely benefits.

In depth analysis; while this option is feasible and potentially effective, key aspects concerning the viability of this option remain unclear and are subject to further investigation.

Option 3

No; linking the systems for the wide spectrum of national regulatory requirements concerned (see Annex 8) is unlikely to be possible using the EU CSW-CERTEX system.

No; information on national regulatory formalities of another Member State would only be required in the context of centralised clearance for which alternative solutions are being explored 78 .

No; the major investments needed at national level and EU level to link each of the many relevant electronic systems to EU CSW-CERTEX would outweigh the benefits that would be realised.

Limited; given that this option is neither feasible nor likely to be effective or proportionate.

Option 4

Implementing this option would require changes to third-country systems that would depend on bilateral or multilateral agreements on a case-by-case and country-by-country basis.

No; preliminary stakeholder feedback suggests that the goods movements involved are not a major cause of the identified problems (see section 5.1).

No; despite the limited benefits, the costs to link EU, Member States and third country systems are likely to be substantial.

Limited given that this option is not yet technically feasible or effective in addressing the identified problems.

Option 5

Yes; preliminary research carried out for the policy options document shows that the technical developments for this option would be straightforward.

No; while this option would put in a place a common portal for economic operators to deal with key supporting documents, they would still have to deal with customs authorities separately, strongly limiting the gains for trade facilitation.

No; the costs to DG TAXUD to develop the portal and for partner competent authorities and economic operators would be substantial and out of proportion to the limited potential benefits.

Limited; the likely ineffectiveness of this option to achieve the objectives means it does not make sense to investigate it in depth.

Option 6

Yes; this option leaves key aspects to be defined according to national prerogatives, increasing its feasibility. The B2G use cases 79 on a selection of regulatory requirements also show that the necessary changes to the systems and trader interfaces can be developed.

Yes; the B2G use cases on a selection of regulatory requirements show that this option is likely to generate substantial benefits for traders.

Unclear without further investigation; this option would entail considerable development and implementation costs for the Commission and Member States authorities. Further data is needed to estimate these and compare them with the likely benefits.

In-depth; preliminary evidence shows that this option is feasible and likely to be effective, showing its viability and meriting in-depth investigation.

Option 7

Yes; although it would require wholesale changes to the approach for implementing the provisions of the UCC.

Yes; the experience of the US shows that this option could have major benefits in terms of increased efficiency of goods clearance and improved compliance / reduced fraud and errors.

The implementation of this option would radically change the regulatory and operational practices of the Customs Union, allowing economic operators to access a single EU portal for international trade formalities. The costs to the Commission, Member States and economic operators would be substantial and difficult to ascertain without in-depth analysis.

In-depth; while this option is technically feasible and potentially effective, key aspects concerning the viability and proportionality of this option remain unclear, subject to further investigation.

Option 8(i)

No; it would require major changes to the current framework. The cases where existing registration systems should be replaced by EORI are diverse and involve multiple authorities. Thus, they would need to be addressed individually.

Yes; this option would particularly benefit economic operators by providing a single registration mechanism for customs and non-customs formalities.

No; it would require many additional and diverse businesses (including those based in third countries or involved in intra- community trade) to register in EORI. This would be highly complex and costly and would not prevent some businesses having to register for other purposes such as VAT.

Limited; preliminary evidence shows that this option is not viable.

Option 8(ii)

Yes; the technical implementation of this option is straightforward.

Yes; preliminary evidence based on a pilot in one country and stakeholder feedback indicates this option would make it much easier to collect and share information on economic operators, since existing systems for managing economic operators are disparate and not interoperable.

Yes; preliminary evidence indicates that the likely costs would be low compared to the benefits.

In-depth analysis; preliminary evidence indicates that this option provides a feasible and practical way to facilitate the implementation of the other policy options.

The screening of the policy options determined that three options and one sub-option were unviable due to a lack of feasibility, likely effectiveness and / or proportionality. These options are thus not analysed in depth. However, a brief overview of the economic, social and environmental impacts that could be expected if these obstacles were to be overcome is provided in Annex 12.

6.What are the impacts of the policy options?

This section describes the approach to the analysis of the options, in terms of the sources of evidence and methods for estimating the impacts and applies this framework to assess options 1, 2, 6, 7 and 8(ii), in terms of stakeholder views, direct economic impacts, social and environmental impacts and potential risks.

6.1 Approach to the analysis of the options

The main criteria to assess the policy options are closely linked to the general and specific objectives of the initiative and can be grouped into direct economic impacts and social and environment impacts.

The direct economic impacts are comprised of one-off implementation and recurrent costs, as well as savings from reduced amounts of labour and out-of-pocket expenses (e.g. for delays, intermediaries, storage facilities etc.) needed for customs authorities, partner competent authorities and economic operators to enforce EU legislation and deal with goods clearance. These savings would relate to achievements in terms of the first and second specific objective of enhanced cooperation and improved working practices between customs and partner competent authorities, and to the third specific objective of data harmonisation and re-use of data provided by economic operators when fulfilling the customs and non-customs formalities required for international trade, as they will all contribute to simplify the clearance processes for economic operators. To the extent possible, the analysis seeks to quantify and monetise these impacts to determine their net costs or benefits over time. The objectives are not referenced repeatedly in the analysis to enhance readability.

The approach has been developed with a view to the complex regulatory framework and diverse operations and processes at stake. In particular, it is noted that the timing for submission of documents and extensiveness of checks vary by type of good and regulatory requirement, meaning that experiences for both authorities and economic operators may differ depending on factors such as the Member State and nature of the goods in question. In addition, the cost for the Member States to implement new IT infrastructure differs substantially depending on the maturity of their existing IT architecture, arrangements with service providers, and varying capacity requirements, which are based on trading volumes and profiles. Due to these issues, it is very difficult to extrapolate individual examples from a limited number of Member States to the whole EU. Moreover, in many cases, national administrations were reluctant to provide detailed information on the costs of IT projects and process changes and time spent by officials to perform controls due to its political sensitivity. To obtain quantitative estimates despite these challenges, the analysis of direct impacts relies on plausible assumptions based on the available data and stakeholder feedback. For example, some participants in the project group, representing highly diverse Member States, provided insight into their IT infrastructures and the extent of likely changes needed to implement the different policy options, including on costs. While this input cannot be cited directly due to confidentiality concerns, it allows to develop plausible estimates for a range of scenarios. Similarly, qualitative data about business processes and experiences with the clearance of certain goods is used to come up with estimates concerning time savings that could be expected from the introduction of a certain process improvement.

In all cases, the high degree of diversity among Member States and regulatory requirements in question, as well uncertainty regarding future changes, makes it impossible to define simple figures that could be applied to the whole EU. At the same time, the data, which is sensitive and not comprehensive, do not allow for detailed breakdowns by Member State. For this reason, EU-wide figures are used, based on plausible ranges with regard to the costs and potential changes that could be expected. Finally, to ensure the reliability of the ranges, these were validated in consultation with project group participants representing the Member States and trade associations.

One-off implementation and recurrent costs would be borne by the EU Commission, national customs authorities, partner competent authorities and economic operators. Implementation costs include spending on IT hardware and software, process change management, training and support, and are expected to be phased over an implementation period. The timing for these implementation periods has been developed in consultation with IT units at DG TAXUD and varies depending on the option. For most options (1, 2, and 6), this implementation period would be seven years. This timeframe is consistent with experiences of other customs IT projects of similar size and scope (including the well-developed pilot solution EU CSW-CERTEX, which forms the basis for option 1). The time needed for development and implementation is much longer for option 7 due to its larger scale and complexity, while option 8(ii) would be operationalised much more quickly. Afterwards, implementation costs will be replaced by recurrent costs, comprised of maintenance, periodic updates, continued support and day-to-day operations. The table below lists the sources used to estimate the costs for different actors, while full explanations are provided in the sections on the impacts of each policy option.

Table 4: Sources for cost estimates for involved actors

Actor

Sources for cost estimates

EU Commission

Based on data provided by DG TAXUD.

National customs authorities and partner competent authorities

Based on some documentary sources (e.g. technical specifications) and interviews with experts and stakeholders. Despite the level of progress with national initiatives, very few Member States were able to provide hard data on IT and business costs 80 . The credibility of these figures was verified with the national customs administrations participating in the project group. In terms of variation, larger Member States would typically incur larger costs while smaller Member Stats incur lower costs. However, the prevalence of fixed costs means that smaller Member States would likely face costs that are relatively higher compared to their proportion of international trade. At the same time, for all options these costs are much lower than would be incurred if individual Member States had to develop all elements individually.

Economic operators

The G2G options (i.e. options 1 and 2(i) and 2(ii)) and cross-cutting option 8 do not entail any front-end changes that would generate costs for economic operators. Option 6, in creating a single-entry point for interactions with customs and non-customs authorities, would require very slight adjustments related to the introduction of a few new data elements. However, these are deemed negligible both due to their small scale and the fact that implementation would be phased over several years. Option 7, by requiring economic operators to adjust to a new system for customs clearance, would involve some IT and training costs.

Source: DG TAXUD

The direct economic benefits 81  would relate to reduced administrative burdens and are estimated based on a variant of the standard cost model 82 . The model works by multiplying the number of information obligations 83 with the cost for different stakeholders. Due to the unavailability of sufficient data on the baseline costs, the research has allowed for estimates regarding the amount of time saved per information obligation under the different policy options. For each option, the model is then applied by multiplying the number of obligations (expressed in terms of the number of customs declarations for which supporting documents to comply with certain non-customs regulatory requirements are required) with the amount of time saved. The latter is monetised using standard hourly labour costs. Each of these aspects is described in more detail below.

a)Number of affected customs declarations: estimates are derived based on extrapolations from extensive real data from the Member States. More specifically, 15 Member States participating in the project group provided data on the numbers of customs declarations subject to certain regulatory requirements during the years 2015-2017. By assuming that the numbers of relevant declarations varied roughly in proportion to international trade volumes, it was possible to extrapolate these figures to the whole EU using Eurostat trade statistics. Since the envisaged social and environmental impacts also depend to a great extent on which customs declarations are affected, these are also informed by these estimates. Since any of the policy options that is implemented would become operational gradually, the analysis assumes that implementation would be spread over a time period that is described in the analysis of each option.

b)Time saved for each operation (in minutes): estimates are made based on feedback from national officials and economic operators about how (1) clearance processes changed after the implementation of EU CSW-CVED and relevant national single window initiatives, and (2) the specific policy options would be likely to affect existing practices. While the time savings would be distributed across the Member States in line with their trading volumes, the estimates also need to take into account the different starting points across Member States. For example, relatively lower savings would be expected for the customs declarations that are already dealt with using the single window initiatives that are in place in a small number of Member States. 84 Higher savings would be expected where less progress has been achieved at national level, such as the Member States that have not participated in EU CSW-CERTEX or developed a similar national solution so far. Taking these aspects into account as well as the inherent degree of uncertainty (see discussion below), estimates are presented in terms of a range of values for the plausible time savings. It is also noted that the delays and process redundancies that characterise the present situation (see section 2.3.1) have been found to affect SMEs disproportionately. This is due to SMEs’ limited ability to make investments that would allow them to handle administrative burdens more efficiently and unfamiliarity with complex processes. For example, the supporting study for this Impact Assessment identified examples where senior staff of SMEs needed to physically transport documents between competent authorities and customs offices to deal with a single declaration. Larger companies typically deal with higher volumes of declarations, providing the economies of scale that allow them to put in place more efficient processes or to outsource customs operations. Since all of the options seek to reduce burdens of this kind, SMEs would experience comparatively large benefits compared to other economic operators, regardless of the policy option. The reductions in administrative burdens could also be expected to increase the number of SMEs participating in international trade 85 .

c)Labour costs (in EUR): the time saved for different actors can be monetised by applying a standard labour cost for staff of national authorities and economic operators. To derive this cost, Eurostat data on average salaries in EU public administration (adjusted to take account of overheads, social security contributions, etc.) was divided by OECD data on average hours worked per year in the EU Member States to arrive at an average hourly cost. This figure was then weighted based on the extent to which given Member States engage in international trade. This ensures that the estimates take into account the differing extent to which individual Member States would be affected by the initiative. This leads to a figure of about EUR 24 per hour of labour.

These findings on costs and benefits are then compared using cost-benefit analysis to determine the likely net impact of each policy option. The estimates are also supplemented with qualitative evidence to highlight potential exceptions and explain why certain impacts can be expected. As mentioned above, there is uncertainty in the estimates, especially related to the time savings that the policy options could be expected to generate. This is in part because of the scarcity of concrete data that could be extrapolated. It is also due to the varying levels of complexity and amounts of time needed to deal with the processes that would be affected by the initiative. This uncertainty is reflected in the ranges of values that are used for the estimated costs and benefits. The ranges are particularly large for the estimated benefits to reflect the diversity of impacts across Member States, in addition to the lack of reliable data.

The mechanisms that would generate social and environmental impacts are very similar for all of the policy options and relate mainly to the effects from the specific objectives of enhanced collaboration and improved working practices between authorities. As outlined in the general objective, this would lead to better enforcement of the regulatory requirements covered. This would stem from reduced fraud and errors, as well as better risk management and compliance with applicable rules during goods clearance. The proper enforcement of the EU-wide policies at stake will provide social and environmental benefits for EU citizens by ensuring their safety and security, improving the quality of imported products, protecting the environment and ultimately boosting innovation in the internal market. Given the existence of a single external border and free circulation of goods within the EU, these benefits are considered in terms of the EU as a whole. This is especially important because illicit traders often seek to exploit weaknesses in individual Member States, regardless of their final destination. Due to the sensitive and complex nature of the regulatory formalities in question, little data is available on indicators of interest, such as fraud levels or amounts of information sharing between authorities responsible for goods clearance. For this reason, the analysis of these impacts is conducted mainly qualitatively, based on extensive consultation with all affected stakeholders. The main differences between options are in scope (since the options cover different regulatory requirements and thus would lead to benefits in different policy areas) and magnitude (since the expected changes from some options are more important than others). To avoid repetition, the mechanisms are described in depth only in the analysis of option 1. The other options are analysed compared to the baseline in the same terms, using examples where useful.

6.2 Analysis of the impacts of the policy options 

Option 1 – Interconnecting national customs systems to EU non-customs regulatory formalities digitally available at EU central level

Stakeholder views

Member State administrations

Most Member States are favourable of this option as expressed in a survey of project group participants 86 on the feasibility and desirability of the different policy options. In terms of the regulatory requirements covered, broad agreement was reached on significant expected benefits, as described below:

·Quicker and smoother goods clearance would in turn lower administrative costs.

·Easier sharing of information would reduce the duplication of tasks between different authorities, further increasing administrative efficiency.

·Better coordination between authorities would improve enforcement of EU legislation and data security (less information would have to be stored in multiple databases).

·Introduction of automated quantity management at EU level would reduce the scope for fraud and human error.

·Participation of all Member States in EU CSW-CERTEX would be an important step towards fully digitised goods clearance, since it would push partner competent authorities to digitise their processes and thereby stop using paper-documents 87 .

Criticism of this option is limited to two aspects: first, for Member States already having advanced digital initiatives, mandatory use of EU CSW-CERTEX could risk undermining efforts that have already been made. Secondly, some Member States felt that to justify the costs of this option it would be important to prioritise high-volume regulatory requirements, rather than immediately covering all regulatory requirements in its defined scope.

Economic operators

Trade associations in the project group and a range of economic operators interviewed during field visits expressed largely positive views, feeling that the benefits generated by this option would be important in terms of time savings. Moreover, economic operators in Member States with ongoing national initiatives similar to option 1 reported that these initiatives have allowed them to simplify the processes of submitting and handling the supporting documents related to relevant regulatory requirements. For example, in Italy economic operators reported that the full automation of certain documents eliminated the cost of transporting the documents between authorities, benefiting from faster clearance and fewer delays. The majority of economic operators responding to the public consultation felt that key features of option 1 were high priorities.

Direct economic impacts

Implementation and recurrent costs

For the European Commission, the starting point would be the EU CSW-CERTEX architecture, which is already functional for a number of regulatory requirements. The additional implementation costs would relate to expanding its coverage, traffic capacity and functionalities in line with the expected features of this option, in addition to associated change management, training and support. This would involve making connections between EU CSW-CERTEX and several existing or future EU electronic systems managing regulatory formalities. During phased implementation for years 1-7 88 , DG TAXUD estimated implementation and running costs of EUR 4.1m per year, making a total of EUR 28.7m. From year 8 onwards, once the system is fully operational, costs were expected to drop, but only by about 20% given the substantial maintenance and need for continued coordination and support for different actors at European and national levels. This would make for annual recurrent costs of about EUR 3.28m.

For Member State customs and partner competent authorities, the implementation and running costs would be substantial, but not excessive. In practical terms, the implementation costs at Member State-level would relate to making the necessary connections, coupled with revisions to standard operating procedures, training and support. Recurrent costs would consist of ongoing maintenance and updates, as well as ongoing support for users. Consulted IT experts and national officials confirmed that these would be much smaller than the Commission costs at the level of individual Member States, since much of the infrastructure would be dealt with at European level. At the least, yearly costs for the Member States would be about half the Commission costs, i.e. EUR 2.05m could be expected for implementation during years 1-7, followed by recurrent costs of about EUR 1.64m from year 8 onwards. However, if the changes required are more significant (e.g. some Member States choose to put in place measures to further increase security and reliability beyond the very high level that would be foreseen in the EU CSW-CERTEX IT architecture), then higher costs could be foreseen, equal to the Commission costs of EUR 4.1m per year from years 1-7, thereafter EUR 3.28m from year 8 onwards.

These estimates assume that the costs would be lower for the Member States already participating in the EU CSW-CERTEX pilot (albeit only to a minor extent, because only a limited number of regulatory formalities have been included so far). Similarly, the estimates also consider the switching costs for the several Member States with functioning national Single Window initiatives in place; these costs are deemed minor, because they would be offset by reductions to maintain analogous infrastructure at national level.

Table 5: Estimated implementation and recurrent costs for option 1 (in €m)

Implementation costs (years 1-7)

Recurrent costs (year 8 onwards)

EC

4.1 / year (28.7 total)

3.28 / year

MS customs and partner competent authorities

From 2.05 year to 4.1m / year
(14.35 to 28.7 total)

1.64 / year to 3.28 / year

Total

From 6.15 / year to 8.2 / year
(43.05 to 57.4 total)

From 4.92 / year to 6.56 / year

Source: Estimates based on figures from DG TAXUD for EU Commission costs and Member State data and consultation with IT 89 experts for MS cost

The Member States considered the economies of scale from EU-level collaboration and limited pressure on national budgets as key advantages of this policy option.

Recurrent benefits

For customs authorities, this option would lead to important process changes that would save significant time. In broad terms, instead of needing to ask economic operators to provide physical documents to support customs declarations, the necessary information would be delivered to customs IT systems (in the correct data format) electronically and securely from EU electronic databases where they are managed and stored. The change would be especially pronounced for regulatory requirements where quantities of authorised goods can be split across multiple customs declarations. With the introduction of automated quantity management, the verification would be instantaneous and secure, preventing any goods over the authorised quantity from being cleared. Having all information in electronic form makes it easier, where relevant, to coordinate checks with partner competent authorities. Moreover, the nonstop availability of automated documentary controls would substantially improve operational efficiency for customs officials with no increase in resources.

France, Italy and Spain reported process changes and significant time savings for customs officials due to speeded up and in many cases automated documentary controls. Member States, using the EU CSW-CVED pilot, envisaged similar improvements and savings. Based on the feedback, it can thus be assumed that substantial time savings are likely. However, the processes for dealing with some customs declarations have more room for improvement than others due to the diversity both in processes for different regulatory requirements, and across Member States.

Since the available data covers only a small proportion of relevant customs declarations, it is not possible to formulate a generalised estimate that captures this diversity in a precise way. Instead, the estimate is based on a range that aims to take account of the uncertainty while maintaining a reasonable degree of confidence in the results. This range was estimated to generate savings of 45 minutes per declaration at the high end and 30 minutes per declaration at the low end. Applying the standard cost model as described above, yearly benefits for EU customs authorities from time savings of EUR 49.5m to EUR 74.3m could be expected once implementation is complete.

Processes would also be simplified and made more efficient for partner competent authorities. Instead of needing to provide validated supporting documents to economic operators, this option would allow the automated transfer of electronic information to customs authorities. Interviewees agreed that envisaged improvements would hold true in practice, and thereby lead to some time savings. However, from the perspective of partner competent authorities, the time spent on collating and sending documents was considered relatively small, especially compared to the effort needed to examine the documents and carry out physical controls. Taking this into account, and allowing for a degree of uncertainty, the savings are estimated at two to five minutes for each relevant customs declaration. This would be expected to add up to substantial yearly benefits, from EUR 3.3m to EUR 8.3m.

For economic operators, the option is expected to generate major efficiency gains and time savings. The G2G connection facilitating the transfer between authorities would reduce the cases where economic operators would need to submit the supporting documents to customs. In addition, the nonstop availability of automated documentary controls would generate significant time savings benefits for economic operators in cases where declarations are lodged outside working hours.

In France, Italy and Spain where national single windows have been introduced, economic operators described concrete changes to their working practices that have resulted in major benefits. For example, a customs broker in Italy explained that, prior to the national single window, the operator was responsible for physically transporting documents between competent partner authorities and the customs authority. This required considerable time and / or costs from courier services, in addition to leading to delays that had knock-on effects such as storage costs and lost business from disappointed customers. These costs have now been cut to zero, since the supporting documents in question are sent electronically between authorities, without any action from the economic operator. Similarly, the national single window has allowed economic operators to conduct detailed status checks on their declarations online, avoiding un-necessary calls to the authorities or trips to pick up goods that are not ready. The introduction of the single window has also led to coordinated checks between customs and partner competent authorities, avoiding the movement of containers at cost to the economic operators, as was previously the case.

As with other stakeholders, the nature and scale of the time savings would depend on the specificities of the goods in question and Member States involved, with certain economic operators experiencing much bigger improvements than others. Nonetheless, important gains appeared widespread. This allows for an estimate for potential time savings similar to customs authorities, at a range of 30-45 minutes per relevant declaration. Applying the standard cost model, this would generate annual benefits from reduced administrative costs of EUR 49.5m to EUR 74.3m. As noted above, SMEs would benefit to a disproportionate extent. Some additional costs could also be expected from reduced fees for storage and other out-of-pocket costs, but the diversity of the goods involved makes it too hard to quantify these confidently.

Taken together, the benefits for all stakeholders are expected to be significant, in the annual range of about EUR 102.4m to EUR 156.9m, once full implementation is achieved from year 8. During years 1-7 implementation period, the envisaged benefits will be phased in, as the gradual integration of the EU electronic systems used to manage the regulatory requirements takes place.

Table 6: Estimated benefits from option 1

Customs authorities

PCAs

EOs

Total

Time savings / affected declaration

30-45 minutes

2-5 minutes

30-45 minutes

N/A

Average labour cost / hour

€24/hour

Average no of affected declarations (thousands)

4 128 (54% of declarations subject to relevant EU requirements)

Annual benefits (€m)

Gradual implementation

Year 1

6.19-9.29

0.41-1.03

6.19-9.29

12,80-19.61

Year 2

12.39-18.58

0.83-2.06

12.39-18.58

25.60-39.22

Year 3

18.56-27.87

1.23-3.10

18.58-27.87

38.39-58.83

Year 4

24.77-37.16

1.65-4.13

24.77-37.16

51.19-78.44

Year 5

30.96-46.44

2.06-5.16

30.96-46.44

63.99-98.05

Year 6

37.16-55.73

2.48-6.19

37.16-55.73

76.79-117.66

Year 7

43.35-65.02

2.89-7.22

43.35-65.02

89.58-137.27

Year 8 onwards

49.54-74.31

3.30-8.26

49.54-74.31

102.38-156.88

Source: Extrapolations based on declarations data from the MS participating in the project group, hourly costs based on Eurostat and OECD data and time estimates based on interviews in eight MS

Cost-benefit analysis

The combined analysis for expected costs and benefits shows that, in terms of direct economic benefits alone, this option is likely to pay for itself within a short time. Net impacts would be positive from year 1, ranging from about EUR 95.8m to EUR 152m once implementation is complete. Importantly, since much of the costs would fall on the Commission, the net benefits for national customs and partner competent authorities would be especially pronounced. The benefits for economic operators would be spread over a large number of individual organisations and would be achieved at little to no cost to them.

Table 7: Cost-benefit analysis for option 1

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Year 6

Year 7

Year 8+

Costs (-€m, low and high ranges except for EC costs)

EC

4.10

4.10

4.10

4.10

4.10

4.10

4.10

3.28

MS customs and PCAs

2.05

2.05

2.05

2.05

2.05

2.05

2.05

1.64

4.10

4.10

4.10

4.10

4.10

4.10

4.10

3.28

Total costs

6.15

6.15

6.15

6.15

6.15

6.15

6.15

4.92

8.20

8.20

8.20

8.20

8.20

8.20

8.20

6.56

Benefits (€m, low and high ranges)

MS customs

6.19

12.38

18.58

24.77

30. 96

37.15

43.35

49.54

9.29

18.58

27.87

37.15

46.44

55.73

65.02

74.31

MS PCAs

0.41

0.83

1.24

1.65

2.06

2.48

2.89

3.30

1.03

2.06

3.10

4.13

5.16

6.19

7.22

8.26

EOs

6.19

12.38

18.58

24.77

30.96

37.15

43.35

49.54

9.29

18.58

27.87

37.15

46.44

55.73

65.02

74.31

Total benefits

12.80

25.60

38.40

51.19

63.98

76.78

89.59

102.38

19.61

39.22

58.84

78.43

98.04

117.65

137.26

156.88

Net impact (€m, low and high ranges)

Total

4.60

17.40

30.19

42.99

55.79

68.59

81.38

95.82

13.46

33.07

52.68

72.29

91.90

111.51

131.12

151.96

Source: Analysis of cost and benefit data based on evidence collected from Commission and MS

Social and environmental impacts

The envisaged social and environmental impacts of this option would be felt first by customs and partner competent authorities, whose ability to collaborate effectively would be improved. Ultimately, EU citizens would benefit through better compliance and enforcement of the regulatory requirements concerned, which affect over 4m of the most sensitive goods movements each year, thereby having significant social and environmental impacts as described below.

Better cooperation and coordination between authorities involved in goods clearance

Member States with national single window initiatives all agreed that cooperation and coordination between customs and partner government authorities had markedly improved since the initiatives had been established. Putting in place the necessary agreements often took time and a certain amount of political will, but in all cases quickly led to important practical benefits, such as the automated sharing of information and carrying out of joint controls. More informal contact between authorities has also reportedly generated further ideas to improve working practices and procedures, contributing to the better enforcement of relevant regulatory requirements. Similar developments were also observed in the countries taking part in EU SW-CVED pilot / EU-CSW-CERTEX and are expected in other Member States as likely benefits of this option. Moreover, implementation in all Member States would enhance cooperation and coordination even further by providing for automated and highly reliable quantity management.

Increased customs control capacity

All customs declarations subject to the formalities covered by this option would be automatically verified. No corresponding increase in resources (or diversion from other tasks) would be needed for customs authorities to systematically perform the automated verification. In turn, this would enable customs authorities to expand their control capacity to additional goods that are currently not subject to manual verification 90 .

Improved risk management

Customs authorities in countries with national single window initiatives similar to this option have been able to obtain access (in a suitable format) to the data associated with supporting documents from non-customs regulatory requirements. This has been fed into risk management systems, allowing algorithms to be improved and contributing to better and more efficient targeting of controls and enforcement of relevant regulatory requirements. In addition, the systematic automation of checks under this option will improve procedures for risk-based inspection. This means that targeted checks would be limited to high-risk consignments selected for manual verification (documentary or physical). For customs authorities, this would significantly improve risk assessment procedures and their ability to focus on more substantial controls.

Reduced instances of fraud and human error

The national single window initiatives similar to this option and the EU SW-CVED / EU CSW-CERTEX experiences have enabled customs authorities and partner competent authorities to work together more closely, in particular through carrying out joint controls. According to interviewed officials, this has made fraud easier to detect, while reducing the scope for human error. As explained by the Italian customs authorities, automated quantity management makes it much easier to prevent fraudulent traders from exploiting information gaps between authorities in different Member States to over-use certificates. Given the 4m customs declarations that would be covered yearly by this option, even a small reduction in fraud or error rates would be very important.

Better enforcement of and compliance with relevant regulatory requirements

The combined effects of the above-mentioned impacts would be better enforcement of and compliance with non-customs EU regulatory requirements for goods involving more than 4m declarations per year, many of which are crucial for the protection of human health and the environment in the EU and beyond. These include policies aimed at:

·Application of rules on animal health and welfare, plant health and plant protection with regard to the Common Health Entry Documents required under the Official Controls Regulations;

·Safeguarding the environment, plant and animal welfare, through the FLEGT licensing scheme for imports of timber into the EU to fight illegal logging and its negative environmental impacts; ODS & FGAS licensing system to ensure that the existing restrictions on ozone-depleting substances (ODS) and fluorinated gases (FGAS) are properly implemented; the Catch Certification Scheme for the imports of fishery products into the EU to fight illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing; the Certificate of Organic Inspection (COI) to ensure the validity of products labelled as organic; the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Regulation that places obligations on companies who wish to import or export hazardous chemicals; the Waste Shipment Regulation imposing regulations on movements of waste;

·Protecting cultural heritage, through the licensing scheme for the import of cultural goods;

·Ensuring product safety and compliance, through connection with the Information and Communication System on Market Surveillance (Article 34 of Regulation (EU) 2019/1020).

Obligatory participation in the initiative is also expected to reduce inconsistencies between Member States and establish a level playing field for economic operators. Several customs and partner competent authorities highlighted the role this would play in furthering the single market, since it would reduce concerns in some countries about lax enforcement elsewhere.

Potential risks

This option builds on the EU CSW-CERTEX pilot which as shown in the recent evaluation has proven to be viable and viewed favourably by both Member State administrations and economic operators. EU CSW-CERTEX is aligned with the Commission security standards and is deemed to be cyber-secure. The risks for the implementation are linked to the availability of human and financial resources and thus depend on the outcome of the next Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 (MFF) 91 . In addition, an important risk factor arises from the crosscutting nature of the option and the diversity of non-customs regulatory formalities under scope, whose legislation and supporting electronic systems may evolve over time, thereby requiring the adequate and timely implementation of updates or other modifications. Similarly, the timely connections of 27 national customs systems to EU CSW-CERTEX may represent an additional risk. To mitigate these risks and based on the experience of the pilot on the time and resources needed to connect the systems for each formality, the development and implementation is phased over a period of seven years.

Option 2 – Interconnecting national customs systems to EU non-customs regulatory formalities digitally available at Member State level

Stakeholder views

Member State administrations

For the regulatory requirements included in option 2, Member State administrations foresaw benefits largely in line with those mentioned for option 1. However, perceived practical difficulties and high costs to implement this option led respondents to the survey of Member States participating in the project group to give it lower feasibility and desirability scores 92 . Similar views were expressed in an informal poll of national customs authorities taken in May 2019 at the High-level seminar on the EU Single Window environment for customs in Bucharest.

Economic operators

Trade associations participating in the project group voiced positive opinions about option 2, which from their perspective closely resembled option 1. In order to maximise the benefits, trade associations felt that the future initiative should cover as many regulatory requirements as possible for a quicker and easier goods clearance.

Direct economic impacts

Implementation and recurrent costs

For the European Commission, DG TAXUD, in collaboration with Member States and partner DGs would need to carry out the developmental work needed to enable the connections of existing national systems to EU CSW-CERTEX either directly (option 2 (i)) or indirectly (option 2 (ii)), while providing support to the Member States. This would require substantial human resources and IT costs to develop the necessary connections and to increase the capacity of EU CSW-CERTEX in line with the expected additional traffic. According to DG TAXUD, gradual implementation and running costs for the years 1-7 implementation period 93 are estimated at about EUR 5m per year. From year 8 onwards, once the system is fully operational, yearly costs would drop by about 20%, to EUR 4m 94 . Importantly, similar costs would be expected from both option 2(i) and 2(ii). This is because the main cost drivers would relate to comparable technical developments changes related to business rules, transformation tables, quantities reconciliation and process alignments between customs and partner competent authorities.

For Member State customs and partner competent authorities, the costs would be substantial largely due to the digital fragmentation of the regulatory requirements covered (see section 2.2.1). Therefore, there would be fewer economies of scale from action at EU level. Given the decentralised availability of the information in national systems, individual connections would need to be built in each country between existing national electronic systems and EU CSW-CERTEX. It is assumed that about ten connections would be needed per Member State for the regulatory requirements covered. These connections are envisaged through direct (option 2(i)) and indirect (option 2(ii)) channels, with the following estimated costs:

·Option 2(i) covers connections between partner competent authority systems and EU CSW-CERTEX. According to DG TAXUD and Member States administrations, this solution would be complicated and thus more expensive for the Member States, with estimates of EUR 300 000 per connection spread over 7 years of phased implementation, adding up to EUR 3m per Member State and EUR 84m overall. Recurrent costs from year 8 onwards are estimated to drop 20% to EUR 9.6m.

·Option 2(ii) covers national connections between partner competent authority systems and customs systems, which would then be connected to each other through EU CSW-CERTEX. As the cheaper alternative, costs are estimated at about EUR 150 000 per connection spread over 7 years of phased implementation, adding up to EUR 1.5m per Member State and EUR 42m for the whole EU. Recurrent costs from year 8 onwards are estimated to drop 20% to EUR 4.8m.

Table 8: Estimated implementation and recurrent costs for option 2 (in €m)

Implementation costs (years 1-7)

Recurrent costs (year 8 onwards)

EC

5.0 / year (35.0 total)

4.0 / year

MS customs and partner competent authorities

From 6.0 year to 12.0 / year
(42.0 to 84.0 total)

4.80 / year to 9.60 / year

Total

From 11.0 / year to 17.0 / year
(77.0 to 119.0 total)

From 8.80 / year to 13.60 / year

Source: Estimates based on figures from DG TAXUD for European Commission costs and Member State data for MS costs

Recurrent benefits

Compared to the baseline, the recurrent benefits for the regulatory requirements covered by option 2 would be similar to those expected for option 1. However, the expected benefits would be limited since not all Member States have developed national certification or licensing systems to manage all formalities covered by this option. This means that some supporting documents will still be available on paper, thereby hindering a full electronic exchange of the relevant regulatory requirements and limiting the potential time savings that would be expected from full digitalisation. This limitation is important because the persistence of any paper documents for given regulatory requirements often creates a need for time-consuming manual checks. This acts as a brake on the potential benefits of this option, which are thus estimated at about 15-20 minutes per declaration for customs authorities and economic operators, and 2-5 minutes per declaration for partner competent authorities. Once fully operational, this option would be expected to generate substantial benefits from time savings of EUR 34.5m to EUR 48.5m per year, spread across the EU and the different stakeholders involved in goods clearance.

Table 9: Estimated benefits from option 2

Customs authorities

PCAs

EOs

Total

Time savings / affected declaration

15-20 minutes

2-5 minutes

15-20 minutes

N/A

Average labour cost / hour

€24/hour)

Average no of affected declarations (thousands)

   2 695 (35% of declarations subject to relevant EU requirements)

Annual benefits (€m)

Gradual implementation

Year 1

2.02-2.70

0.27-0.67

2.02-2.69

4.31-6.06

Year 2

4.04-5.39

0.54-1.35

4.04-5.39

8.62-12.13

Year 3

6.06-8.09

0.81-2.02

6.06-8.09

12.94-18.19

Year 4

8.09-10.78

1.08-2.70

8.09-10.78

17.25-24.26

Year 5

10.11-13.48

1.35-3.37

10.11-13.48

21.56-30.32

Year 6

12.13-16.17

1.62-4.04

12.13-16.17

25.87-36.38

Year 7

14.15-18.87

1.89-4.72

14.15-18.87

30.19-42.45

Year 8 onwards

16.17-21.56

2.16-5.39

16.17-21.56

34.50-48.51

Source: Extrapolations based on declarations data from the Member States participating in the project group, hourly costs based on Eurostat and OECD data and time estimates based on stakeholder interviews in eight Member States

Cost-benefit analysis

This option would generate substantial benefits from time savings, especially for customs authorities and economic operators. However, it would incur very high costs, especially for Member State administrations due to a lack of economies of scale. At best, this could deliver net benefits from year 2, and yearly gains of about EUR 39.7m once fully operational. The less optimistic scenario would produce net benefits from year 4, with yearly gains of EUR 20.9m once fully operational.

Table 10: Cost-benefit analysis for option 2

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Year 6

Year 7

Year 8+

Costs (-€m, low and high ranges except for EC costs)

EC

5.00

5.00

5.00

5.00

5.00

5.00

5.00

4.00

MS customs and PCAs

6.00

6.00

6.00

6.00

6.00

6.00

6.00

4.80

12.00

12.00

12.00

12.00

12.00

12.00

12.00

9.60

Total costs

11.00

11.00

11.00

11.00

11.00

11.00

11.00

8.80

17.00

17.00

17.00

17.00

17.00

17.00

17.00

13.60

Benefits (€m, low and high ranges)

MS customs

2.02

4.04

6.06

8.09

10.11

12.13

14.15

16.17

2.70

5.39

8.09

10.78

13.48

16.17

18.87

21.56

MS PCAs

0.27

0.54

0.81

1.08

1.35

1.62

1.89

2.16

0.67

1.35

2.02

2.70

3.37

4.04

4.72

5.39

EOs

2.02

4.04

6.06

8.09

10.11

12.13

14.15

16.17

2.70

5.39

8.09

10.78

13.48

16.17

18.87

21.56

Total benefits

4.31

8.62

12.93

17.26

21.56

25.88

30.19

34.50

6. 07

12.13

18.20

24.26

30.33

36.38

42.46

48.51

Net impact (€m, low and high ranges)

Total

-12.69

-8.38

-4.06

0.25

4.56

8.87

13.18

20.90

-4.94

1.13

7.19

13.26

19.32

25.38

31.45

39.71

Source: Analysis of cost and benefit data based on evidence collected from European Commission and Member States

Social and environmental impacts

Compared to the baseline, the envisaged social and environmental impacts of option 2 would be important and of a similar nature as those described for option 1. However, while improving coordination between customs and partner competent authorities, this option would not factor in supporting documents issued in Member States without a national certification or licensing system. In these cases, functionalities such as automated quantity management at EU level would not be possible, thus bringing fewer benefits in terms of risk management improvement and reduced fraud and error. On the other hand, this option provides the unique possibility to generate important benefits in fields where no EU electronic system exists. While its scope is limited to about 2.7 million declarations, these relate to regulatory requirements that are typically highly sensitive and crucial for the well-being of EU citizens. The benefits of this option would thus entail improvements to regulations related to the control of agricultural imports and exports (i.e. AGRIM and AGREX licences); the system to control trade of dual use items to ensure that the EU complies with its international commitments and responsibilities, especially regarding non-proliferation (i.e. preventing the spread of nuclear weapons); the requirements on import, export and transit of firearms, their parts and ammunition to fight illicit manufacturing and trafficking in firearms; controls on imports, exports and transits of chemical substances used for the manufacture of illicit synthetic drugs to address the increasing threat posed by the manufacture of synthetic drugs in western Europe by preventing the diversion of these substances; CITES licences to protect endangered plants and animals; and measures to prevent the introduction and spread of invasive alien species and their negative consequences for the environment.  

Potential risks

While this option carries risks similar to those described under option 1, it also entails additional serious risks to successful implementation. In particular, the many connections that would be needed in order to incorporate each regulatory formality into the system increase the likelihood of bottlenecks, especially at Member State level where the Commission has little direct involvement. These could delay or preclude full implementation. Moreover, the lack of enthusiasm for this option among Member State administrations, combined with the significant costs that they would incur, create a risk that participation would be limited or delayed, especially if resources are constrained by other developments at national or international level.

Option 6 – Harmonised national single-entry points for economic operators to fulfil customs and non-customs regulatory requirements

Stakeholder views

Member State administrations

Member State administrations have expressed positive views about this option. Among the B2G options, it was ranked highest for overall desirability according to a survey of project group members. It was also the only B2G option receiving mostly favourable scores for political and technical feasibility.

The informal poll of (mostly) Member State customs authorities at the High-level seminar on an EU customs single window, conducted in Bucharest in May 2019, showed high levels of satisfaction, mainly attributed to the envisaged benefits of the initiative 95 . Despite the generally positive views, some Member States voiced concerns about the feasibility and desirability of this option. Within the project group, several Member States felt that the technical solutions would be costly and difficult to prioritise over the coming years due to the focus on other IT projects such as those required as part of the UCC Work Programme. A few Member States also worried about organisational problems related to the envisaged role for national customs authorities. It was explained that, while this option would rely on customs authorities coordinating between various partner competent authorities and acting as a hub for receiving information from economic operators, in some Member States customs would not be empowered to play this role. This would make the option difficult for these Member States to implement.

Economic operators

Three of the four trade associations completing the survey in the project group viewed this option as the most or second-most desirable of the B2G options. More specifically, option 6 was considered a compromise solution that would simplify clearance procedures and address key problems that would not be resolved by G2G collaboration only, such as the need to submit similar information to multiple authorities for the same movements. Given that some Member States have already started making progress on national single windows, option 6 was also seen as an effective way to harness existing momentum and avoid duplicating efforts.

Some economic operators were critical of this option because it would still require dealing with different single-entry points in each Member State. This residual complexity was seen to limit the benefits for traders in comparison with more integrated solutions (such as option 7).

Direct economic impacts

Implementation and recurrent costs

Compared to the baseline, the implementation and recurrent costs for option 6 are limited to a certain extent because only the B2G elements of a future initiative are considered. Any necessary G2G elements would be implemented as part of the G2G option package.

The European Commission would incur implementation costs related to its role in steering and coordination. These would entail mapping the data needs for the EU regulatory requirements covered, the development of technical specifications and harmonised data models to be used by customs and partner competent authorities for the national customs single windows. For most of the regulatory requirements, the Commission would also incur costs associated with relaying data between national single windows and EU partner competent authority systems through EU CSW-CERTEX. There would also be a need to provide training and support to Member State administrations. DG TAXUD estimates these costs at about EUR 35m, spread over years 1-7 96 , amounting to EUR 5m per year. Recurrent costs would be about EUR 3m per year.

The implementation costs for this option would be borne by Member State customs and partner competent authorities. Member State administrations would need to adapt their IT systems and business processes so that the data for customs and non-customs purposes can be lodged at a single-entry point and reused as appropriate. The business use cases 97 , based on data from Spain and the Czechia, indicate that about EUR 1.75m would be needed to develop and implement option 6 in these Member States. Interviews with other Member State administrations showed that complex IT environments and procurement processes would lead to much higher costs. Since most Member State administrations did not provide data, these are cautiously estimated at around EUR 3.5m based on consultation with IT experts 98 . Given the uncertainty, these are taken as low and high ranges for costs that, extrapolated to cover the whole EU, would amount to EUR 49m to EUR 98m for implementation. This would be spread over 7 years of phased implementation, meaning costs of EUR 7m to EUR 14m per year. Recurrent costs would also be substantial due to the continued need for coordination, maintenance, and support, but would be much lower than the costs for initial implementation, estimated at EUR 4.2m to EUR 8.4m yearly.

Table 11: Estimated implementation and recurrent costs for option 6 (in €m)

Implementation costs (years 1-7)

Recurrent costs (year 8 onwards)

EC

5.0 / year (35.0 total)

3.0 / year

MS customs and partner competent authorities

From 7.0 year to 14.0 / year

(49.0 to 98.0 total)

4.20 / year to 8.40 / year

Total

From 12.0 / year to 19.0 / year

(84.0 to 133.0 total)

From 7.20 / year to 11.40 / year

Source: Estimates based on figures from DG TAXUD for European Commission costs and consultation with IT experts for Member State costs

Recurrent benefits

Option 6 is estimated to affect about 4.9m customs declarations per year, comprising 64% of declarations subject to relevant EU regulatory requirements. It is expected to simplify clearance processes for customs and partner competent authorities, while revolutionising them for economic operators.

For customs and partner competent authorities, the business use cases report that efficiency savings would be realised from earlier access to information (in particular in case of the use of pre-lodged declarations), improved coordination, and quicker verification of the documents and data submitted by economic operators. However, since this option will not affect the way authorities verify and record information, these improvements are considered incremental rather than fundamental. The B2G use cases, combined with interviews on expected improvements, indicated likely time savings per relevant customs declaration, estimated at 5-10 minutes for customs authorities, and 1-2 minutes for partner competent authorities. Given the number of customs declarations affected, this would generate benefits of nearly EUR 9.8m to EUR 19.6m per year for customs authorities and EUR 3.9m to EUR 9.8m per year for partner competent authorities, once full implementation is realised.

Much bigger time savings are expected for economic operators, for whom the business processes for lodging customs and non-customs data would be significantly improved. Instead of needing to submit documents to different authorities at different times, and in different formats, this option would rationalise the process, allowing customs and non-customs data to be submitted and dealt with together. This is consistent with findings from the US single window 99 provided by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) 100 .

It is difficult to translate these general findings and examples into quantified estimates of the likely savings, especially given the diversity of regulatory requirements involved and different starting points across Member States. For this reason, a conservative range of 45-60 minutes per relevant declaration is used, taking into account both declarations where savings may run into hours or even days, and others where existing processes save only minutes. In total, this would generate yearly benefits from EUR 88.2m to EUR 117.6m, spread across the many businesses involved in international trade, once full implementation is achieved. The overall benefits from time savings from this option are expected to be very significant, in the annual range of about EUR 102.0m to EUR 147.0m, once full implementation is achieved from year 8 onwards.

Table 12: Estimated benefits from option 6

Customs authorities

PCAs

EOs

Total

Time savings / affected declaration

5-10 minutes

2-5 minutes

45-60 minutes

N/A

Average labour cost / hour

€24/hour

Average no of affected declarations (thousands)

4 899 (64% of declarations subject to relevant EU requirements)

Annual benefits (€m)

Gradual implementation

Year 1

1.23-2.45

0.49-1.23

11.02-14.70

12.74-18.37

Year 2

2.45-4.90

0.98-2.45

22.05-29.40

25.48-36.75

Year 3

3.67-7.35

1.47-3.67

33.07-44.09

38.21-55.12

Year 4

4.90-9.80

1.96-4.90

44.09-58.79

50.95-73.49

Year 5

6.12-12.25

2.45-6.12

55.12-73.49

63.69-91.86

Year 6

7.35-14.70

2.94-7.35

66.14-88.19

76.43-110.23

Year 7

8.57-17.15

3.43-8.57

77.16-102.89

89.17-128.61

Year 8 onwards

9.80-19.60

3.92-9.80

88.19-117.59

101.91-146.98

Source: Extrapolations based on declarations data from the Member States participating in the project group, hourly costs based on Eurostat and OECD data and time estimates based on stakeholder interviews in eight Member States.

Cost-benefits analysis

While costly, option 6 is expected to generate extremely large benefits for economic operators. Taking into account incremental benefits for customs and partner competent authorities, it is envisaged that net benefits would be positive in year 1 or year 2, then rise considerably. Once fully operational, net benefits ranging from EUR 90.5m to EUR 139.8m would be expected.

Table 13: Cost-benefit analysis for option 6

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Year 6

Year 7

Year 8+

Costs (-€m, low and high ranges except for EC costs)

EC

5.00

5.00

5.00

5.00

5.00

5.00

5.00

3.00

MS customs and PCAs

7.00

7.00

7.00

7.00

7.00

7.00

7.00

4.20

14.00

14.00

14.00

14.00

14.00

14.00

14.00

8.40

Total costs

12.00

12.00

12.00

12.00

12.00

12.00

12.00

7.20

19.00

19.00

19.00

19.00

19.00

19.00

19.00

11.40

Benefits (€m, low and high ranges)

MS customs

1.22

2.45

3.67

4.90

6.12

7.35

8.57

9.80

2.45

4.90

7.35

9.80

12.25

14.70

17.15

19.60

MS PCAs

0.49

0.98

1.47

1.96

2.45

2.94

3.43

3.92

1.22

2.45

3.67

4.90

6.12

7.35

8.57

9.80

EOs

11.02

22.05

33.07

44.09

55.18

66.14

77.16

88.19

14.70

29.40

44.09

58.79

73.49

88.19

102.89

117.58

Total benefits

12.73

25.48

38.21

50.95

63.75

76.43

89.16

101.91

18.37

36.75

55.11

73.49

91.86

110.24

128.61

146.98

Net impact (€m, low and high ranges)

Total

-6.26

6.48

19.21

31.95

44.69

57.43

70.17

90.51

6.37

24.74

43.12

61.49

79.86

98.23

116.61

139.78

Source: Analysis of cost and benefit data based on evidence collected from European Commission and Member States

Social and environmental impacts

Expectations from stakeholders, the business use cases and experiences of the US single window indicate that major improvements could be expected in all of the envisaged impact areas.

Better cooperation and coordination between authorities involved in goods clearance

This option calls for customs to act as a hub for receiving information from economic operators related to a range of non-customs regulatory requirements. Since customs authorities would be responsible for developing and forging agreement with partner competent authorities on business processes for the exchange of relevant data, this would lead to increased coordination between them. More practically, once implemented, this option would harmonise data models between customs and partner competent authority systems, allowing them to share information more easily. This was described as a key benefit in the CHED-A business use case, as well as of the US single window.

Improved risk management

Risk management relies on the timely provision of relevant data. By increasing the amount of electronic data obtained from economic operators as part of the pre-lodged declaration, and making it easier to share among authorities, this option could improve risk management substantially. With few exceptions, stakeholders in most Member States agreed with this view, and saw it as an advantage for this option. The business use cases showed that these expected improvements would be likely to materialise. In the CHED-A case, it was noted that data harmonisation would allow customs authorities to develop more detailed profiles of economic operators for the purposes of risk analysis. Improved risk management has also been cited as a key outcome of the US single window.

Reduced instances of fraud and human error

The B2G case studies considered better targeted and reduced controls as key benefits of improved information sharing and increased digitalisation between customs and partner competent authorities. In this regard, the CHED-A use case emphasised that submitting key data and documentation only once would greatly reduce the scope for errors and fraud.

Better enforcement of and compliance with relevant regulatory requirements

The impacts described above would combine to improve enforcement of the non-customs regulatory requirements included in this option. As with the G2G options, enhanced B2G collaboration would improve the implementation of a number of highly sensitive regulatory requirements, leading to benefits across a number of policy domains. These include the application of rules on animal health and welfare, plant health and plant protection with regard to the CHED documents required under the Official Controls Regulations; food and vegetable standards as specified in the Certificate of Conformity; and safeguarding the environment, plant and animal welfare through the FLEGT licensing scheme, ODS and FGAS licensing system; cultural heritage through the licensing systems for cultural imports and exports. In turn, these improvements would help level the playing field between Member States and, by increasing incentives for authorities across borders to trust each other, furthering the single market and objectives of the Customs Union.

Potential risks

Apart from the financial risks, which are common to options 1 and 2, this option carries certain operational risks due its technical complexity and large costs. These relate in particular to Member State administrations, which would need to adapt and implement national single-entry points. Especially if resources are constrained, some Member States may need time to implement their solution. However, the option is designed to mitigate these risks to the extent possible. Firstly, phased implementation will allow the Member States to make progress at their own pace. Member States that move quickly will be start benefiting earlier, while others wait until resources are available. Secondly, the development of harmonised technical specifications would generate economies of scale, making the creation of a national single-entry point less costly than would otherwise have been the case. This attracted enthusiasm from Member State administrations, speaking to this option’s viability.

Option 7– EU single-entry point for economic operators to fulfil customs and non-customs formalities

Stakeholder views

Member State administrations

In a survey of Member States taking part in the project group, customs administrations expressed some interest in this option. Six of 15 Member States considered it their most-favoured option for B2G collaboration, while four Member States ranked it second. However, very few respondents found this option to be feasible, with only 5 Member States describing it as politically feasible, and just three Member States describing it as technically feasible.

Follow-up discussions showed these concerns to be fundamental. Nearly all administrations agreed that, while option 7 could be held up as a goal for the long term, in the short-to-medium term it would be unrealistic. Two main reasons were given for this. First, implementation of this option at national level would require significantly more resources than are currently available. This is due in large part to the IT investments required to implement the UCC. As shown in the latest E-Customs Annual Report, the Member States are currently investing about EUR 140m annually on the UCC systems, leaving little room for additional major IT projects. Second, this option would require replacing existing IT systems for import, export and transit with a centralised EU system. Beyond the expense of making such a transition, this would interfere with horizontal IT integration at the national level. More specifically, implementation of this option would remove the connections that have been built up over time between customs authorities and other national and local authorities in areas such as tax, excise and law enforcement. There were concerns that restoring these connections would not be possible, due both to technical challenges and other issues such as data protection concerns.

Economic operators

While trade representatives taking part in the project group acknowledged the challenges inherent in this option, it was their clear favourite among the options for B2G cooperation. In part, this was because trade associations felt it would achieve benefits for economic operators similar to those that could be expected from option 6, especially the establishment of a single-entry point for customs declarations and documents required for certain non-customs regulatory requirements.

Follow-up discussions and responses to the public consultation showed that economic operators also preferred this option for its ability to streamline and harmonise customs processes throughout the EU, regardless of whether goods were subject to non-customs regulatory requirements. For example, several trade associations pointed to option 7 as a way to improve problems with the obligations related to the UCC, such as arrival notifications, presentation notices and temporary storage declarations. They were also interested in the possibility to lodge customs declarations at a single EU point regardless of the destination, providing an overall centralised clearance mechanism for both import and export operations. Given that the costs for economic operators associated with this option would be minor, these additional benefits led to it being the most positively viewed.

Direct economic impacts

Implementation and recurrent costs

Option 7 consists of an EU-level single-entry point for B2G cooperation. This would require a higher degree of centralisation for core customs functions than is currently the case. More specifically, a new centralised system would replace existing national systems for import, export and transit. This new system would cover all B2G functions related to the initiative (namely the interface for receiving information from economic operators related to customs and relevant non-customs regulatory requirements). In principle, it would also need to cover functions outside the scope of the initiative but currently fulfilled by national customs systems. These include handling the lodging and processing of customs declarations, recording decisions, accounting for customs duties, and interacting with various other systems at EU, national and in some cases at local levels (e.g. tax authorities, regional authorities, port community systems). In other words, this option would place a centralised system at a critical point in the process for all EU trade in goods. This would require very high levels of reliability, security and speed for the sharing of information between different actors at EU and national levels.

The new centralised system would thus cover a broader range of functions and require more interconnections with national systems than any existing European customs IT system and thus entail significant complexity and technical challenges. This would lead to very important costs for the Commission and Member States. All economic operators that engage in international trade (rather than just those involved in the trade of goods subject to relevant regulatory requirements) would also incur some minor costs in order to begin using the new system. To interpret the estimates, it is worth noting the reporting costs of a similar Single Window solution recently implemented in the United States. According to the US Customs and Border Protection, this cost about EUR 10 000m over ten years of development. Since the EU handles more trade, and since option 7 would deal with the complexities of integrating systems in the vastly differing IT environments of the EU Member States, considerably higher costs could be expected a priori.

The European Commission would be responsible for developing the system and thus would be expected to bear high initial costs. The most comparable centralised system is the Import Control System 2 (ICS2), which is currently in development. According to DG TAXUD, the Commission’s development costs for ICS2 are about EUR 400m. However, the centralised system needed for option 7 would be much more complex than ICS2 in terms of data to be handled, interconnections with other systems and, given important differences between the administrative and IT arrangements across Member States, a high degree of flexibility. Moreover, a central common repository for all declaration data would be needed to ensure the data is available to customs and partner competent authorities across the EU to a sufficiently high level of reliability. Given this, DG TAXUD officials involved in the ICS2 project estimated that the centralised system needed for option 7 would be similar to develop ten projects of a similar level of complexity to ICS2, leading to an estimated cost of about EUR 4000m over a period of seven years.

From year 8 onward, the Commission would work with the Member States to make the necessary connections and begin rolling out the system. As with other major IT projects such as those mandated under the UCC, gradual implementation is expected over a period of about five years, with full operation in all Member States from year 13 onwards. Yearly costs would drop at once the main development work is finished but, as with other major IT projects, only by about 20% per year, to EUR 457.1m. This is due to the extensive effort that would be needed to maintain and update the system, provide support and coordinate with the Member States on an ongoing basis.

While the Commission would bear overall responsibility for the development of the system, the Member States would also be heavily involved and incur significant costs. During the seven years while the system is under development, the Member States would need to conduct extensive preparatory work in order to lay the ground for the upcoming changes. This would entail participation in numerous working groups both with the Commission and between the many authorities who would be affected, analyses, adaptations to related systems, conformance testing, piloting, training, consultation and information campaigns.

Once the system has been developed, further substantial effort would be needed to implement it at national level. This would again involve unprecedented levels of complexity, because the system would replace legacy systems for import, transit and export that have been place for a long time and gradually improved in line with customs and wider administrative needs. Putting in place a totally new system would demand extensive efforts not only from customs authorities, but also from partner competent authorities that need to interact with customs, including both partner competent authorities directly involved in the Single Window initiative and others, such as tax authorities, the police, security services etc. Once the system is in place, recurrent costs would relate to continuous coordination between relevant actors at national and European levels, the adaptation and implementation of updates and support.

Estimating the Member State costs is difficult, in part because there are no examples of a centralised system replacing such an integral part of the national IT infrastructure, and in part due to the high levels of diversity between Member States. To arrive at realistic estimates despite this difficulty, data in the E-customs annual reports 101 is used. The reports provide a breakdown of costs for the Commission and Member States related to the development, implementation and running of IT projects included in the Multi-Annual Strategic Plan for Customs (MASP-C) 102 , covering a wide range of centralised and distributed systems. The reports show that about 40% of relevant IT spending is typically incurred by the Commission, while the remaining 60% is incurred by the Member States as a whole. This ratio has held for recent years despite the diversity of projects and their state of development. It is thus assumed that it would also hold broadly for the centralised system needed for option 7. However, there is also considerable uncertainty due to the lack of comparable IT projects and different situations across Member States. For this reason, ranges are provided, with a low estimate of the Member States incurring 50% of total public costs, and a high estimate of the Member States incurring 70% of total public costs. In figures, the estimates thus range from EUR 4 000m to EUR 9 333m during the seven years of development, with a drop of 20% thereafter, leading to yearly costs of EUR 457.1m to EUR 1 066.7m.

Finally, some costs would also be borne by economic operators, who would need to adapt their IT systems and processes, and provide training to staff, in order to engage with the new system. Indications from economic operators are that such costs would be relatively minor and limited to small IT investments and training of staff on a per company basis. However, the number of companies affected is large, because the new system would be used by all economic operators engaging in international trade, not only those engaging in the trade of goods covered by the Single Window. It is thus assumed that all economic operators engaging in international trade would incur a one-off cost of about EUR 500 to EUR 1 000, spread over the five years of implementation. According to Eurostat, about 1.4m companies engaged in international trade in 2017. This would amount to EUR 700m to EUR 1 400m over the five years during which the system is rolled out.

Table 14: Estimated implementation and recurrent costs for option 7 (in EUR millions)

Costs during years of development 1-7

Costs during years of implementation 8-12

Recurrent costs from year 13 onwards

EC

571.4 / year (4 000.0 total)

457.1 / year (2 285.7 total)

457.1 / year

MS customs and partner competent authorities

From 571.4 to 1 333.3 / year (4 000.0 to 9 333.3 total)

From 457.1 to 1 066.7 / year (2 285.7 to 5 333.3 total)

From 457.1 to 1 066.7 / year

EOs

No costs

From 140.0 to 280.0 / year (700.0 to 1 400.0 total)

No costs

Total

From 1 142.9 to 1 904.8 / year (8 000.0 to 13 333.3 total)

From 1 054.3 to 1 803.8 / year (5 271.4 to 9 019.0 total)

From 914.3 to 1 523.8 / year

Source: Estimates based on figures from DG TAXUD, E-Customs Annual Implementation Reports and consultation with IT experts.

Recurrent benefits

This option would affect the same 4.9 m customs declarations and lead to the comparable process improvements as with option 6. The dynamics as described under option 6 can thus be considered to also apply to option 7 and are not repeated here. The benefits would thus be especially significant for economic operators, with more moderate benefits for customs and partner competent authorities as follows:

·For customs authorities, from about EUR 9.8m to EUR 19. 6m per year;

·For partner competent authorities, about EUR 3.9m to EUR 9.8m per year;

·For economic operators, about EUR 88.2m to EUR 117.6m per year.

Taken together, the benefits for all stakeholders are expected to be significant, in the annual range of about EUR 102.0m to EUR 147.0m, once full implementation is achieved from year 13. During the implementation period from years 8-12, the envisaged benefits would be phased in as Member States gradually begin operating the new system.

It is also important to note that this option would have benefits for economic operators beyond the scope of the initiative that are not examined here in detail. More specifically, it would lead to a streamlining of the Customs Union, allowing economic operators to lodge customs declarations at the single EU point regardless of destination (i.e. overall centralised clearance mechanism), and putting in place the same interface for economic operators. The diversity of customs declarations and procedures required for different goods makes it difficult to estimate the scale of these benefits accurately, but they would likely range from seconds up to several minutes for each customs declaration.

Table 15: Estimated benefits from option 7

Customs authorities

PCAs

EOs

Total

Time savings / affected declaration

5-10 minutes

2-5 minutes

45-60 minutes

N/A

Average labour cost / hour (€m)

€24/hour

Average no of affected declarations (thousands)

4 899 (64% of declarations subject to relevant EU requirements)

Annual benefits (€m)

Years 1-7

No benefits while system under development

Gradual implementation

Year 8

1.6-3.3

0.7-1.6

14.7-19.6

17.0-24.5

Year 9

3.3-6.5

1.3-3.3

29.4-39.2

34.0-49.0

Year 10

4.9-9.8

2.0-4.9

44.1-58.8

51.0-73.5

Year 11

6.5-13.1

2.6-6.5

58.8-78.4

67.9-98.0

Year 12

8.2-16.3

3.3-8.2

73.5-98.0

84.9-122.5

Year 13 onwards

9.8-19.6

3.9-9.8

88.2-117.6

101.9-147.0

Source: Extrapolations based on declarations data from the MS participating in the project group, hourly costs based on Eurostat and OECD data and time estimates based on interviews in eight MS

Cost-benefit analysis

Despite the large expected benefits, the extremely high costs for this option make it unlikely to be cost-effective, at least in terms of direct economic impacts alone. No benefits at all would be realised during an initial seven years of development. After this, the benefits would gradually come online. But even once fully operational, the yearly running costs would far exceed the benefits, leading to large negative net yearly impacts ranging from EUR -1 421.9m to EUR -767.3m. In other words, this option would cost several times more than the expected benefits, even excluding development costs and looking at the best-case scenario.

Table 16: Cost-benefit analysis for option 7

Years 1-7

Year 8

Year 9

Year 10

Year 11

Year 12

Year 13+

Costs (-€m, low and high ranges except for EC costs)

EC

4 000.0

457.1

457.1

457.1

457.1

457.1

457.1

MS customs and PCAs

4 000.0

457.1

457.1

457.1

457.1

457.1

457.1

9 333.3

1 066.7

1 066.7

1 066.7

1 066.7

1 066.7

1 066.7

EOs

-

140.0

140.0

140.0

140.0

140.0

-

-

280.0

280.0

280.0

280.0

280.0

-

Total costs

8 000.0

1 054.3

1 054.3

1 054.3

1 054.3

1 054.3

914.3

13 333.3

1 803.8

1 803.8

1 803.8

1 803.8

1 803.8

1 523.8

Benefits (€m, low and high ranges)

MS customs

None

1.6

3.3

4.9

6.5

8.2

9.8

3.3

6.5

9.8

13.1

16.3

19.6

MS PCAs

0.7

1.3

2.0

2.6

3.3

3.9

1.6

3.3

4.9

6.5

8.2

9.8

EOs

14.7

29.4

44.1

58.8

73.5

88.2

19.6

39.2

58.8

78.4

98.0

117.6

Total benefits

17.0

34.0

51.0

67.9

84.9

101.9

24.5

49.0

73.5

98.0

122.5

147.0

Net impact (€m, low and high ranges)

Total

-13 333.0

-1 786.8

-1 769.8

-1 752.9

-1 735.9

-1 718.9

-1 421.9

-8 000.0

-1 029.8

-1 005.3

-980.8

-956.3

-931.8

-767.3

Source: Analysis of cost and benefit data based on evidence collected from Commission and MS

Social and environmental impacts

This option would put in place a single-entry point for goods subject to certain EU regulatory requirements (i.e. affecting the same declarations as would be affected under option 6). The expected social and environmental impacts would thus be comparable to the impacts of option 6 as described above. These begin with improved cooperation and coordination between authorities involved in goods clearance, which would lead to improved risk management and reduced instances of fraud and human error, in turn improving enforcement and compliance with the regulatory requirements in question.

Potential risks

This option carries a number of financial and operational risks due to its broad scope and complexity. Financially, this option would entail very large costs, both for the Commission and Member State administrations. After long development and implementation periods, high recurrent costs would continue. This creates a risk that changing priorities at EU or national levels could make the necessary resources unavailable at some point in the future, endangering the initiative. Operational risks would follow, since the full participation of all Member States is needed for many of this option’s functions. Similarly, this option puts a single centralised EU system at a critical point in the EU’s infrastructure for international trade. While the highest service standards can be followed (indeed, this in part explains the significant costs of this option), relying on one centralised system for all import, export and transit declarations means that any outages, data breaches or other problems would have larger repercussions than would be expected under the current system of systems distributed across the Member States.

Option 8 (ii) – Extend the use of the Economic Operator Registration and Identification System (EORI) to partner competent authorities

Stakeholder views

Stakeholders from partner DGs within the Commission and Member States have been consulted 103 to gauge their perceptions towards extending the use of EORI beyond customs purposes. Both sets of stakeholders have expressed very positive views. In the context of its national single window, France has already opened the use of EORI to partner competent authorities at national level for a number of non-customs regulatory requirements and has reported positive experiences so far.

Direct economic impacts

Implementation and recurrent costs

This option can be conceptualised as an instrument to improve the implementation of any options it would be packaged with, as the EORI number could be an essential identification key to facilitate sharing and cross-referencing of information. It would entail minor implementation and recurrent costs for the Commission, national customs and national partner competent authorities.

On the European Commission side, since the EORI system already exists, the main implementation costs would relate to expanding the capacity of the system to handle increased traffic and providing a certain amount of training and support to partner DGs. For these, the main costs would involve building the necessary connections to EORI, updating their systems to handle EORI data, and dealing with any necessary change management, training and support. Once fully implemented, only a small amount of ongoing support and maintenance would be expected above that which takes place for the system as it currently exists. According to estimates from DG TAXUD, it would take three years to make the necessary connections, at a cost of EUR 0.3m for the first year, EUR 0.25m for the second year and EUR 0.2m for the third year, after which yearly operating costs of EUR 0.07m are foreseen. This would total EUR 1.0m for implementation during years 1-7, and EUR 0.07m annually from year 8 onwards.

For Member State authorities, the costs would be concentrated on the partner competent authorities who are not already using EORI. Since the system is developed and maintained at European level, these are expected to be relatively minor and focused on updating their systems so as to handle and use EORI data, where appropriate. Estimates from DG TAXUD and consultations with IT experts put these at the same level as the Commission costs. The expected implementation and recurrent costs are summarised in the table below.

Table 17: Estimated implementation and recurrent costs for option 8 (€m)

Implementation costs (years 1-7) 

Recurrent costs (year 8 onwards)

EC

0.03 for year 1, 0.25 for year 2,
0.20 for year 3, thereafter 0.07 / year

(1.03 total)

0.07 / year

MS customs and partner competent authorities

0.30 for year 1, 0.25 for year 2,
0.20 for year 3, thereafter 0.07 / year

(1.03 total)

0.07 / year

Total

0.60 for year 1, 0.50 for year 2,
0.40 for year 3, thereafter 0.14 / year

(2.06 total)

0.14 / year

Source: Estimates based on figures from DG TAXUD for European Commission costs and Member State data and consultation with IT experts for MS costs

Recurrent benefits

As a tool to facilitate the implementation of other options, option 8 (ii) is not expected to generate benefits on its own, but rather would improve the implementation of any other policy option with which it is combined by slightly increasing its benefits. It enables incremental improvements in the ability of customs and partner competent authorities to identify traders and to exchange, cross-reference and verify information pertaining to them. Based on feedback from the Commission and national officials, this is estimated as an increase of about 2,5% on top of the time savings that would be realised through any option package. This means that the exact impact compared to the baseline thus depends on the option package and cannot be looked at in isolation. For this reason, the figures related to the benefits of option 8 (ii) are presented in the next section on the comparison of options.

Cost-benefit analysis

As presented in the next section, the low costs and incremental benefits of option provide a cost-effective way to further increase the efficiency of clearance processes. The net benefit would depend on the option package with which option 8 (ii) is coupled, but in all cases this option would be expected to add benefits without significantly affecting cost-effectiveness.

Social and environmental impacts

Consultation with the Commission and Member States indicates that this option would provide minor social and environmental impacts.

7.How do the options compare?

As explained in section 5, the retained options can be combined to form distinct policy choices, which are as follows 104 :

·Baseline scenario: under the baseline scenario, EU-level collaboration would continue through voluntary use of EU CSW-CERTEX, while some Member States would pursue individual national initiatives.

·G2G collaboration only: enhanced G2G collaboration and system interoperability could be pursued either through option 1 on its own, or option 1 combined with either or both of options 2 and 8(ii) 105 ;

·G2G and B2G collaboration: to also pursue B2G collaboration, options 6 or 7 106 could be combined with any of the G2G choices listed above 107 .

The options packages are compared in terms of several criteria, namely effectiveness in terms of achievement of objectives, efficiency (i.e. cost-effectiveness), coherence in relation to relevant policies, and proportionality. This leads to an overall comparison to identify the preferred package of options.

Effectiveness

The three specific objectives relate to a governance framework for cooperation and interoperability between customs and partner competent authorities, improved working practices and processes for goods clearance, and harmonisation and re-use by authorities of data provided by economic operators. Because these objectives are closely linked and mutually reinforcing, it is more meaningful to examine effectiveness in terms of the two main elements of the general objective. The first, “improve enforcement of regulatory requirements”, is focused on improved coordination and information-sharing between authorities and the resulting social and environmental benefits. The second, “facilitate international trade”, relates to the reduced enforcement costs and administrative burden and resultant savings that are envisaged for customs authorities, partner competent authorities and economic operators. For both elements, the likely impacts can be estimated by adding up the benefits for each of the policy options (as elaborated in section 6) that form each package of options. Further, in considering effectiveness, it must be borne in mind that the full benefits would not be achieved immediately. Instead, these would be phased in gradually. For all packages except those containing option 7, the phase-in would proceed at an even pace over seven years. This means that any packages containing a combination of options 1, 2, 6 and 8(ii) would realise full benefits from year 8 onwards.

Packages containing option 7 would entail more extensive changes to the existing customs environment and therefore require more time for implementation than the other options. Therefore, no benefits at all would be achieved during an initial seven years for development. Implementation would then be phased over a period of five years. This means that any package containing option 7 would realise full benefits only from year 13 onwards.

Improve enforcement of EU non-customs regulatory requirements

Each option package would be expected to generate improvements to the enforcement of EU non-customs regulatory requirements, according to a similar causal chain. This relates to the social and environmental impacts described in section 6 and would entail enhancing cooperation and facilitating the sharing of information between the authorities responsible for goods clearance, thereby allowing for improvements to risk management processes and reduced instances of fraud and human error. This would in turn generate improved compliance and enforcement of the non-customs legislation falling under the scope of the policy options that comprise each of the packages.

Since the packages differ in terms of which non-customs regulatory requirements are covered, it would be expected that the packages with the broadest scope would be the most effective to improve enforcement. The following factors also explain the relative effectiveness of the different packages:

·Within the different packages, option 1 would generate the most significant improvements to enforcement due to its relatively broad coverage of non-customs regulatory requirements, and its high degree of effectiveness in terms of enhancing G2G collaboration.

·Options 6 and 7 would also generate important gains in terms of enforcement within certain packages. As detailed in section 6, these would result from the ability of these options to increase levels of data harmonisation and interoperability in a way that could not be achieved without B2G cooperation. The outcome of option 6 and option 7 would be comparable, but materialise much faster for packages containing option 6 than for those containing option 7.

·In contrast, the additional improvements on enforcement of including option 2 are relatively limited. As detailed in section 6, this option would not fully extend key functionalities, most importantly automated quantity management, to the regulatory requirements that it covers 108 . This means that manual checks would still be necessary in many cases.

·Including option 8(ii) within any package does not necessarily impact their effectiveness in terms of improved enforcement. This option only improves the ability of customs and partner competent authorities to identify traders and constitutes a tool to facilitate the exchange, cross-reference and verification of information between customs and partner competent authorities systems.

Concluding from the above, it can be said that, once full implementation is achieved, option packages including both options 1 and 2, in addition to either option 6 or 7, would be the most effective to improve enforcement compared to the baseline. These benefits could also be marginally increased by adding option 8(ii) to any package. Packages comprised of the same options but not including option 2 would generate benefits that are only modestly reduced. The smallest benefit in terms of improved enforcement would be expected from the packages made up of just option 1 or options 1+8(ii). However, given the major benefits expected from option 1, even these benefits would far exceed the baseline. Finally, for the packages containing option 7, a major disadvantage is that the benefits would take much longer to materialise than for any other packages.

Facilitate international trade

Effectiveness in terms of trade facilitation can be expressed mainly as per the direct economic benefits resulting from streamlined goods clearance for customs authorities, partner competent authorities and economic operators. Quantified and monetised estimates for each individual option are presented in section 6. To estimate the benefits for the different packages, the benefits of the options included in given packages can simply be added up (e.g. the benefits of package 1+2 are comprised of the benefits of option 1 plus the additional benefits of option 2).

The main considerations for the comparison are presented below. For the purpose of simplicity, the figures below refer to annual benefits once full implementation is achieved. Annex 13 contains comprehensive and detailed data on benefits for both full implementation and phase-in periods.

·The most important direct economic benefits could be expected from the packages with the widest scope in terms of coverage of EU non-customs regulatory requirements. These would affect the largest numbers of customs declarations and allow for the benefits of both G2G and B2G elements. For example, the narrowest package (containing just option 1) would generate total annual benefits from EUR 102.3m to EUR 156.9m. For options 1+2+6+8(ii) or 1+2+7+8(ii), the benefits would be much larger, ranging from EUR 244.8m to EUR 361.2m under options 1+2+6+8(ii) or 1+2+7+8(ii).

·Much of benefits to customs and partner competent authorities would be achieved through the G2G cooperation envisaged in option 1, while the lion’s share of potential benefits for economic operators (including SMEs) would require B2G collaboration from either option 6 or option 7. For example, benefits for customs authorities would range under option 1 from EUR 49.5m to EUR 74.3m under option 1, and from EUR 77.4m to EUR 118.4m under options 1+2+6+8(ii) or 1+2+7+8(ii). While the difference is between these option packages is substantial, it is far larger with regard to economic operators. As with customs authorities, these would see benefits estimated at EUR 49.5m to EUR 74.3m under option 1, but the benefits for economic operators under option 1+2+6+8(ii) or 1+2+7+8(ii) would range from EUR 157.7m to EUR 218.8m.

·Since option 7 would harmonise the entire IT environment for customs throughout the EU, the packages containing it would also improve processes for goods clearance for all traders engaging in international trade (as elaborated in section 6.2).

·As elaborated in section 6.2, option 2 contributes only moderately to the benefits to any option package since manual checks would still be necessary for the verification of supporting documents issued in any Member State without a national electronic system.

·Because it is more complex and requires much bigger changes to existing customs IT infrastructure, the implementation period is substantially longer for option 7 than for option 6. Thus, while the long-term benefits are comparable, the benefits would materialise much more quickly for packages containing option 6 than for packages including option 7 (which would have no benefits at all for seven years, and only then undergo gradual implementation during a period of 5 years). This leads to significant differences in the scale of expected benefits during years 1-12 that need to be taken into account for the comparison.

·Overall, the largest benefits for trade facilitation could be expected from either option packages 1+2+6+8(ii) or 1+2+7+8(ii), meaning that these two packages are the most effective in facilitating trade. Taking all stakeholders into account, these benefits would range from EUR 244.8m to EUR 361.2m annually. However, package 1+2+6+8(ii) would begin to bring benefits from year 1 and be fully operational from year 8 onwards, while (as mentioned above) option 1+2+7+8(ii) would achieve no benefits until year 8, and full benefits only from year 13. Packages without option 2 would achieve benefits on a smaller but comparable scale. These would be in the range of EUR 209.4m to EUR 311.5m annually for package 1+6+8(ii) or 1+7+8(ii) or EUR 204.3m to EUR 303.9m for package 1+6 or 1+7.

Efficiency

The cost-effectiveness of the different packages can be derived by dividing the benefits achieved in terms of trade facilitation by costs to the Commission, national authorities and economic operators. Since benefits to improved enforcement were considered qualitatively, these are not factored into the quantitative calculations, implying a conservative estimate of the efficiency 109 . However, both aspects of effectiveness are influenced by the coverage of the options packages in terms of EU non-customs regulatory requirements, with the broader packages generating larger benefits. For this reason, the most advantageous packages in terms of enforcement tend to also be the most advantageous in terms of trade facilitation. In this way, the comparison of cost-effectiveness based on the quantitative benefits also holds true in terms of effectiveness as a whole. The points below summarise the main considerations for the comparison, while the table in Annex 13 contains detailed figures on costs and benefits for all packages, both during phase-in periods and once full implementation is achieved.

·Among the G2G options, ratio of benefits to costs of option 1 is very high, ranging EUR 16 to EUR 32 once fully implementation is achieved. The cost-benefit ratio of option 2 is much lower, at EUR 3 to EUR 6. This means that all packages containing option 1, but not option 2, provide much better value for money than the ones that do contain option 2.

·While neither of the G2G options 6 or 7 provide as high a cost-benefit ratio as option 1, the packages including these would allow much greater benefits to be achieved, especially for economic operators, than the packages consisting of G2G action only. Moreover, the packages including either option 6 or option 7 for B2G action would lead to additional, comparable benefits for the enforcement of important non-customs regulatory requirements and trade benefits that, while not quantifiable, are likely to be important.

·Among the options for B2G action, option 6 is relatively cost-effective, with expected benefits on its own of EUR 9 to EUR 20 expected from each EUR spent once it is fully operational. The most advantage package including B2G action is package 1+6+8(ii), which would generate net benefits ranging from EUR 191.3m to EUR 299.2m. This entails economic benefits from EUR 12 to EUR 25 for every EUR spent.

·Benefits would be expected to exceed costs in year 1 for packages made up of option 1 and options 1+8(ii), while this would only be expected from year 2 onwards for packages made up of options 1+2, 1+2+8(ii), 1+2+6 and 1+2+6+8(ii).

·Any package containing option 7 would generate large negative impacts because it would entail a very expensive overhaul of the entire IT environment for customs. Once fully operational, from year 13, even the most cost-effective package including option 7 (i.e. option 1+7) would entail negative annual economic impacts of EUR -1 319.5m to EUR -610.4m. In other words, each EUR spent, this package would generate only EUR 0.13 to EUR 0.33 in benefits. Moreover, packages containing option 7 would incur large costs, with no benefits at all, during years 1-7, and continued large net negative impacts during gradual implementation from years 8-12. Unlike other packages, economic operators would also incur some implementation costs for packages containing option 7.

·Stakeholder views on the different options depended strongly on expected efficiency and thus echoed the above. Thus, option 1 received nearly unanimous support as part of any option package, because the experience of EU CSW-CERTEX showed that the envisaged benefits could be achieved at and relatively limited cost. Similarly, option 6 received strong support as a means of delivering on the full single window concept in a manageable way. Option 8(ii), though limited in scope, was appreciated by nearly all stakeholders as a way to further streamline processes. The only options with low support were option 2, which was seen as complex and expensive, despite relatively limited benefits, and option 7. The latter was appreciated by economic operators, since they would experience the benefits while incurring only minor implementation costs. But customs authorities considered option 7 unrealistically expensive and therefore did not support it. 

Coherence

The breadth of the initiative, which relates to international trade and is focused not just on customs but on a wide range of non-customs regulatory requirements, makes its alignment with other EU and international policies and standards especially important. Relevant initiatives include:

·High-level EU policy aims to establish a Single Window environment for customs. These are elaborated in Article 4, paragraph 6 of the e-Customs Decision (Decision No 70/2008/EC), which calls on the Member States and Commission to “endeavour to establish and make operational a framework of single window services”. The 2014 Venice Declaration follows this by referring to a progressive action plan to implement an EU Single Window environment for customs and to establish a legal framework for its development. In addition, the 2016 Communication on “Developing the EU Customs Union and Governance” announced the Commission’s plans to find a workable solution for the development and creation of an EU Single Window environment for customs. This is echoed in the 2018 Biennial Report on the Progress in Developing the EU Customs Union, which identified the EU Single Window environment for customs as a priority area.

·EU policy aims regarding the digitalisation of government services and interoperability, most importantly the EU eGovernment Action Plan 2016-2020, which seeks to increase the efficiency of public services by removing existing digital barriers, reducing administrative burdens and improving the quality of interactions between national administrations 110   and the Tallinn Declaration, which (inter alia) sets objectives on digital-by-default for interactions between citizens and businesses and principles of once-only and interoperable by default 111 .  

·Other EU customs policies, most importantly the Union Customs Code, which aims to put in place a modern and electronic customs environment and to encourage the use of modern tools and technology to promote the uniform application of customs legislation and modernised approaches to customs control. Related to this are the extensive customs IT projects detailed in the UCC Work Programme, and aligned with the MASP-C, which ensures the operational planning and implementation timeline of all customs IT projects 112 .

·International initiatives, most importantly the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement ratified by the EU 113 in 2015, the UNECE Recommendation 33 and the Single Window Compendium of the WCO, all of which call for the development of advanced single window solutions, including single-entry points for economic operators.

While the objectives as defined in section 4 are consistent with these initiatives, the different option packages relate to them in different ways. 114 More specifically:

·The continuation of the baseline scenario would not be coherent because it would fail to achieve the various EU policy aims listed above. In addition, some Member States would also pursue national initiatives, entrenching solutions that are not interoperable and exacerbating the problems described in section 2.

·The packages based mainly on G2G cooperation are generally consistent with the different policy aims, would support the implementation of EU sectoral legislation and help the EU to take a consistent approach towards international initiatives. However, these options packages would fail to establish a “Single Window” as the term as commonly understood and defined internationally, i.e. as a facility which allows parties involved in trade and transport to lodge standardised digital information and electronic documents with a single-entry point to fulfil all import, export and transit-related regulatory requirements 115 .

·Within the G2G options, option 1 is considered highly coherent, because it makes use of the existing EU CSW-CERTEX architecture and electronic systems developed by partner DGs.

·Option 2 is less coherent. By establishing connections between the national systems used to manage some non-customs EU regulatory requirements, it could discourage the development of centralised non-customs solutions at EU level. Moreover, it does not provide for quantity management, which is a key element of improved information-sharing between customs and partner competent authorities based in different Member States.

·The packages including B2G cooperation (i.e. including either option 6 or option 7) would establish a true Single Window environment, thus working towards wider policy aims and conforming to international best practices. The packages including option 6 would do this while remaining consistent with the UCC and MASP-C. This defines certain customs functions as being centralised, while others, particularly the IT systems for import, export and transit, are either national or distributed. However, option 7 would be incoherent with the UCC because it would oblige the Member States to implement a centralised solution for these core customs functions. It would also be inconsistent with the EU eGovernment principles of re-use of systems and interoperability where possible instead of developing wholly new systems.

Proportionality

Proportionality refers to the extent to which an initiative is as simple as possible, does not go beyond what is necessary to achieve its objectives, and limits its scope to those aspects that the Member States cannot achieve on their own. The packages including combinations of options 1, 6 and 8(ii) take simple approaches that make the most of existing infrastructure, limiting themselves to areas where the potential EU added value is highest.

The proportionality of packages containing option 2 is less pronounced, because it would require significant resources to partially achieve the objectives. Similarly, but more importantly, option 7 renders any package that includes it deeply disproportionate. Beyond poor cost-effectiveness, packages containing option 7 would also centralise the entire customs environment. This would go beyond the UCC and transform (at high cost) the daily business of many actors beyond those involved in the EU non-customs regulatory requirements covered by the initiative. While centralising the customs IT infrastructure could generate major benefits, it would be hard to justify in the name of the Single Window environment alone.

Overall comparison and identification of the preferred option

The table below depicts the results of the comparison, in terms of scores for each package of options and criterion. Pluses (+) and minuses (-) are used to denote whether the package would perform better or worse than under the continuation of the baseline scenario. An eleven-point scale is used, such that five pluses (+++++) means ‘would perform better than the baseline to a great extent’, 0 means ‘would not differ from the baseline scenario’ and five minuses (-----) means ‘would perform worse than the baseline to a great extent’. Given their similar importance, the criteria are not weighted but rather considered equally to identify the preferred option. The following considerations explain the scores for the different criteria and packages 116 .

·Effectiveness: with regard to both improved enforcement and trade facilitation, high scores are given based on the broadest coverage in terms of EU non-customs regulatory requirements and possibilities for both G2G and B2G elements. Narrower coverage is equated with proportionately lower scores. The packages containing option 6 would generate comparable benefits to those containing option 7 once fully operational 117 .The scores are numerically proportionate, such that a package receiving ++ would be expected to result in double the savings, or improve the enforcement for regulatory requirements affecting twice as many customs declarations, as a package receiving +.

·Cost-effectiveness: Option 1 is the most cost-effective option, meaning that the packages aside from option 1 on its own and options 1+8(ii) are less cost-effective. Packages made up of options 1+6 and 1+6+8(ii) are nearly as cost-effective, while the limited cost-effectiveness of option 2 reduces the scores of packages that contain it. All packages containing option 7 received negative scores, since their costs are significantly larger than their benefits. These scores are also proportionate, with an option package receiving ++ being roughly twice as cost-effective as a package receiving +.

·Coherence: packages containing just G2G action would still work towards policy goals and thus would be more coherent than the baseline scenario. However, since B2G cooperation is needed to achieve the single-entry points called for in existing EU policy documents, the highest scores are reserved for packages containing both G2G and B2G elements. Option 2 is considered to reduce the coherence of packages that contain it, since it would preclude the development of EU electronic systems to manage certain EU non-customs regulatory requirements. Packages containing option 7 have been scored negatively, because of major incoherence related to the division of customs responsibilities between the EU and Member States as defined in the UCC and MASP-C. The scores represent a qualitative assessment of the findings and thus do not have any numerical relationship.

·Proportionality: taking into account the general objectives of this initiative and the outreach of each option package, combinations 1+6 and 1+6+8(ii) score the highest, while option 2 detracts from the scores of packages that contain it. Due to its disproportionate nature, negative scores are given to packages containing option 7 since it far exceeds what is necessary to achieve the objectives of this initiative. As with coherence, the scores are based on a qualitative assessment of the findings.

·Identification of the preferred package: packages 1+6 and 1+6+8(ii) receive the most favourable scores. Despite not providing the most benefits in absolute terms, these packages are comparatively cost-effective, coherent and proportionate. Since the inclusion of option 8(ii) adds some incremental benefits without imposing substantial costs, the preferred package is thus options 1+6+8(ii).

Table 18: Comparison of option packages to the baseline scenario 118

Baseline

G2G collaboration only

G2G and B2G collaboration

0

1

1+2

1+8(ii)

1+2+8(ii)

1+6

1+2+6

1+6+8(ii)

1+2+6+8(ii)

1+7

1+2(i)+7

1+7+8(ii)

1+2(i)+7+8(ii)

Effectiveness

Improve enforcement of regulatory requirements

0

+++

++++

+++

++++

++++

+++++

++++

+++++

+++

++++

+++

++++

Facilitate international trade

0

++

+++

++

+++

++++

+++++

++++

+++++

++++

+++++

++++

+++++

Efficiency -

Cost-effectiveness

0

++++

+

++++

+

+++

+

++++

++

----

-----

----

-----

Coherence

0

+++

++

+++

++

++++

+++

++++

+++

-

--

-

--

Proportionality

0

+++

++

+++

++

+++

++

+++

++

----

-----

----

-----

Source: DG TAXUD

8.Preferred option

The foregoing analysis points towards a policy choice comprised of option package 1+6+8(ii) 119 , inclusive of the following elements:

Option category

Overview

Group I: G2G back-end cooperation to make it easier for customs and partner competent authorities to share information

Option 1: makes EU CSW-CERTEX mandatory, increases its functionality (to include features such as automated quantity management) and expands coverage to all EU non-customs regulatory formalities for which relevant information required by customs for clearance is available at central level.

Group II: B2G front-end cooperation aimed at improving economic operators’ interactions with customs and partner competent authorities

Option 6 (harmonised national single windows): each Member State to establish an integrated declaration system that would allow for joined up submission by economic operators of information required by customs and partner competent authorities for a range of EU regulatory formalities. This allows for delivery of the full single window concept, with the Commission playing a steering role as regards EU formalities.

Group III: Expansion of the use of EORI

Option 8(ii): to facilitate collaboration between the different authorities involved in international trade, EORI will be opened up so that partner competent authorities can use it for validation purposes.

This package offers several relative advantages. It received the highest levels of stakeholder support. It is also expected to generate significant direct economic impacts, totalling EUR 192.3m to EUR 299.2m annually once fully operational. While the total economic impact is less than for the most expansive option packages, the value for money of the preferred option package is nearly 1.5 times higher, showing its proportionality. This is in addition to wider trade benefits that are likely to be substantial but could not be quantified. In terms of environmental and social impacts, this package would combine the major benefits of option 1 with additional gains from the increased data harmonisation and interoperability expected from option 6, as well as incremental benefits from option 8(ii) related to better economic operator identification. Only minor benefits would be foregone from not including option 2. Overall, it can thus be said that this package maximises the EU’s ability to act as a catalyst for the single window concept, providing a framework for implementing EU policy applicable to goods clearance that is effective and proportionate, and demonstrating high value for money.

To address the continually changing digital landscape over the long-term, the preferred options package builds on the principles of flexibility, adaptability and efficiency. This will help produce a future-proof solution that can easily expand progressively to incorporate new Union non-customs formalities from diverse policy domains as they become digitalised. Moreover, this strategy presents opportunities for integrated solutions rather than rigid ones developed in a piecemeal fashion. This would allow to cater for the diversity of the Member States situations with the potential to scale up the capacity of EU CSW-CERTEX, while accommodating future trends and uncertainties. 

9.How will actual impacts be monitored and evaluated?

The Commission will ensure that arrangements are in place to monitor and evaluate the functioning of the EU SW environment for customs and evaluate it against the main policy objectives. Regular monitoring will rely to the extent possible on EU level sources, such as disaggregated reports on Customs Union Performance and EU CSW-CERTEX business and IT deliverables and statistics. National customs administrations who are gatekeepers for other relevant data, such as statistics on clearance times, will be consulted to determine whether and to what extent it will also be possible to use other sources.

Six years after the entry into force of the legislation and every three years thereafter, the Commission should submit to the European Parliament and the Council a report on the functioning of the EU SW environment for customs, including an overall evaluation of the EU CSW-CERTEX system. It should examine results achieved against objectives and assess the continuing validity of the underlying rationale and any implications for future options. Given that the initiative will not yet be fully implemented at the time of the first evaluation, the focus will be to take stock of progress, identify areas for improvement and come up with recommendations for the future. The second evaluation will take a more summative approach, with a view to the achievement of objectives and comparison with what could have been expected otherwise. The success of the initiative will be contingent on meeting the specific objectives, and in particular on introducing an effective EU-wide quantity management functionality for the non-customs formalities under consideration. The Commission will evaluate the functioning of the EU SW environment for customs in light of the improved digital collaboration between customs and partner competent authorities involved in goods clearance to ensure simplified processes for economic operators and the efficient enforcement of Union non-customs formalities.

The following table provides the operational objectives, progress indicators and data sources, which would be used to inform against these indicators. The monitoring indicators are expected to be collected where possible on an ongoing basis by the EU CSW-CERTEX system. For evaluation purposes, annual statistics will be computed and compared between successive years. Where possible, a comparison with the baseline situation taken as the trend or average of the three years that precede the entry into operations can be used.

Specific objective

Operational objectives

Progress indicator

NB: indicators refer to customs clearance for the goods covered by the initiative

Data sources

Enhance cooperation between customs and partner competent authorities involved in international trade

·Develop and implement business and IT projects needed to connect Member States customs systems and EU systems managing regulatory formalities

·Number of connections developed between EU systems managing regulatory formalities and EU CSW-CERTEX

·Number of non-customs regulatory formalities covered by the initiative in a given year

·Number of Member States using the EU CSW-CERTEX per given formality at a given year

·Development of new key functionalities for EU CSW-CERTEX

·Business and IT deliverables and statistics / reports

·Increase communication and collaboration between customs and partner competent authorities

·Number of agreements (e.g. MoUs) between DG TAXUD and partner DGs for formalities covered by the initiative

·Perceived strength of coordination between customs and PCAs

·Number of steering committees of customs and partner competent authorities set up at national level.

·Business and IT statistics and reports

·Evaluations of relevant customs and non-customs policies

·Survey of customs and PCAs

Improved enforcement of cross-border regulatory requirements

·Reduce fraud and errors associated with clearance processes at EU borders

·Improve risk management procedures for goods clearance at EU borders

·Number of declarations subject to automated exchange of information processed via EU CSW-CERTEX

·Number of requests per Member State to the EU CSW-CERTEX

·Number of discrepancies detected through automated cross-checking of information

·Number of fraud attempts detected through automated cross-checking of information

·Hit rate of documentary controls (following the systematic automated cross-check enabled by EU CSW-CERTEX)

·Hit rate of physical controls (following the systematic automated enabled by EU CSW-CERTEX)

·Volume of non-compliant goods seized / refused entry

·IT statistics and reports

·Customs Union Performance reporting

·Evaluations of relevant customs and non-customs policies

·Survey of customs and PCAs

Simplified goods clearance processes for economic operators

·Use electronic means and improved coordination between authorities involved with goods clearance to streamline and simplify processes for economic operators

·Proportion of automated controls not followed by manual intervention (documentary or physical controls)

·Average time needed for clearance of relevant goods

·Level of satisfaction and agreement that processes have improved among EOs

·Status of work to define common data sets between the customs declaration and the formalities under scope

·Number of customs integrated declarations lodged through national single windows

·IT statistics and reports

·Survey of customs and PCAs

·Survey of economic operators

Source: DG TAXUD

Annex 1: Procedural information

Lead DG, Decide Planning/CWP references

The initiative on the EU Single Window environment for customs was carried out under the leadership of the Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union (DG TAXUD). The agenda planning reference is PLAN/2017/1149.

Organisation and timing

No EU legislation is currently in place for the EU Single Window environment for customs. DG TAXUD started gathering feedback for the impact assessment in December 2016, when it established the EU Customs Single Windows Project Group (the project group) to study a possible framework to develop the EU Single Window environment for customs including its legal aspects. DG TAXUD received political validation for the legal initiative on 20 June 2017.

An interservice steering group, chaired by the Secretariat General (SG), supported the steering of the project and allowed to integrate views of other DGs and services. The interservice steering group included colleagues from the Directorage-General for Agriculture and Rural Development (DG AGRI), the Directorate-General for Climate Action (DG CLIMA), the Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (DG CNECT), the Directorate-General for Informatics (DG DIGIT), the Directorate-General for Environment (DG ENV), the Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (DG GROW), the Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs (DG HOME), the Legal Service (LS), the Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE), the Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE), the Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE), the Secretariat General (SG), and the Directorate-General for Trade (DG TRADE). The interservice steering group met several times between March 2018 and January 2020.

A brief chronology of significant milestones leading to the adoption of the draft impact assessment is provided below:

Date

Activity

20/06/2017

Political validation of the legal initiative

02/03/2018

1st meeting of the interservice steering group

04/05/2018

Publication of the Inception Impact Assessment

09/10/2018

Launch of stakeholder consultation (14 weeks)

17/01/2019

End of stakeholder consultation

16-17/05/2019

High-level seminar

10/01/2020

Last meeting of the interservice steering group
before submission of the impact assessment report to the Regulatory Scrutiny Board

17/02/2020

Launch of the interservice steering group written procedure before submission of the report to the Regulatory Scrutiny Board

13/03/2020

Submission to the Regulatory Scrutiny Board

29/04/2020

Presentation to the Regulatory Scrutiny Board

05/05/2020

Negative opinion of the Regulatory Scrutiny Board

15/06/2020

Last meeting of the interservice steering group
before resubmission of the impact assessment report to the Regulatory Scrutiny Board

18/06/2020

Resubmission to the Regulatory Scrutiny Board

15/07/2020

Positive opinion of the Regulatory Scrutiny Board

17/07/2020

Last meeting of the inter-service steering group
on the final version of the impact assessment report and legal proposal

Consultation of the Regulatory Scrutiny Board

The draft impact assessment report was submitted to the Commission’s Regulatory Scrutiny Board (RSB) on 13 March 2020. Following the meeting on 29 April 2020, the RSB issued a negative opinion on 5 May 2020, suggesting several areas for further improvement. The revised report was resubmitted on 18 June 2020. The Board issued a positive opinion on 15 July 2019. The RSB recommendations for both submissions along with the changes introduced in the text are summarised below:

Table 19: Consultation of the Regulatory Scrutiny Board

1st RSB Opinion - Recommendations

Changes introduced in the revised version

(B) Summary of findings

(1)The report does not provide a clear vision of what the Commission aims to achieve, over what timeframe, and the place of this initiative in this vision.

The introductory section has been revised to further explain the vision of what the Commission aims to achieve within a specific timeframe. The development of a framework for digital cooperation between customs and partner competent authorities is central to this vision.

(2)The range of the analysed options does not seem complete, especially regarding centralised national databases. Reasons for discarding some options are not well justified.

The options were analysed based on the objectives of this initiative and the varying levels of participation by the Member States in the voluntary EU project (EU CSW-CERTEX) or engagements with national single window initiatives. Section 5.3 (Description of the policy options) explains that the potential development of centralised national databases falls outside the scope of this initiative since it would require individual analyses for each regulatory formality under the scope of option 2 and additional input from all relevant stakeholder groups. Sections 5.3 and 6.2 (Analysis of the impacts of the policy options) provide an in-depth analysis of option 7, which is assessed at the same level of detail as the other options retained for further analysis.

(3)The impact analysis is not complete and does not sufficiently explain how it applies judgment criteria. It does not present in sufficient detail the relevant impacts in particular across different Member States

Section 7 (How do the options compare?) is revised to provide more detail on the judgment criteria for the comparison of the options. The impacts are further developed in more detail in section 6 (What are the impacts of the policy options?) to explain the differing situations across Member States relating to costs and benefits.

(C) What to improve

(1)The report should present a long-term vision of what the Commission wants to achieve and over what timeframe. The report should elaborate how this initiative can be a stepping-stone towards a fully integrated system. Thus, it should better acknowledge the gradual approach to develop a single point of entry for all customs related procedures.

The revised introductory section addresses these points by further articulating the vision of what the Commission aims to achieve within a specific timeframe for the implementation of the EU Single Window Environment for customs.

(2)Within this framework, the report should provide a range of options that reflects the key political choices. It should be clearer on how the options were developed and what they comprise. The description of the options should include a better explanation of how centralising national databases fits in the options design. The report should analyse in more depth the discarded option for a single-entry point at EU level for all border formalities that appears to have strong stakeholder support and potential to meet the objectives of the initiative.

The description of the options (section 5.3) explains more clearly how the options were developed and why centralised national databases have not been proposed as an option since their potential development requires individual assessments of each regulatory formality under the scope of option 2 in line with the corresponding Union competences set out in the EU Treaties. Option 7 is analysed in depth, in terms of stakeholder views, direct economic impacts, social and environmental impacts and potential risks.

(3)The baseline should better take into account what would happen if the EU does not act now. It should clearly outline how the current situation differs across Member States and what solutions Member States might implement on their own. The report should better consider the potential impact of such solutions.

Sections 2.5 and 2.6 of the initial report have been consolidated into a revised section 2.5 (How will the problem evolve?) to reflect the logical continuation of the analysis of the consequences. Section 5.2 (Ongoing impacts without any further EU policy action) is substantially reworked to better reflect the evolution of the current situation without additional EU intervention. A new Annex 16 was added focusing on individual case studies carried out in eight EU Member States regarding the existing situation, economic costs and benefits, and other relevant impacts of the policy options.

(4)The report should strengthen the impact analysis. Although it quantifies costs and benefits, it does not sufficiently account for varying impacts on different actors. It should be more transparent about the net benefits across Member States. It should expand on the support by member countries. It should point out how this goes beyond what participation in the trial phase suggests. The report should better explain the logic behind the analysis of cost savings.

Section 6.1 (Approach to the analysis of the options) has been revised to account for varying impacts on the different actors involved. EU-wide figures are used based on plausible ranges with regard to the costs and potential benefits that could be expected. Section 6.1 also provides a more detailed analysis of impacts, including cost savings by ensuring that the estimates take into account the differing extent to which individual Member States would be affected by the initiative.

(5)The analysis should better assess social, environmental and SME impacts. The report needs to explore potential risks and uncertainties (operational or other) related to implementing each of the options. It should analyse the extent to which the preferred option is future proof.

Sections 6.1 (Approach to the analysis of the options) and 6.2 (Analysis of the impacts of the policy options) have been revised to further assess the social and environmental benefits and potential implementation risks for each option. The impacts of the policy options on SMEs are addressed in section 6.1. Section 2.3.1 (Delays and inefficient use of financial and human resources) analyses the consequences of the problem for SMEs, particularly in terms of the disproportionate effects of current process redundancies on their participation in international trade.

 

(6)When comparing options, the report should be more transparent how it takes into account the views of different categories of stakeholders. The report does not explain why some views are weighted more heavily.

The introduction to section 7 (How do the options compare?) is revised based on the compulsory criteria (efficiency, effectiveness, coherence and proportionality) outlined in tool# 12 of the Better Regulation Guidelines. The revised report no longer relies on stakeholder input as a criterion for comparison.

2nd RSB Opinion - Recommendations

Changes introduced in the revised version

(B) Summary of findings

(4)Given the approximations and assumptions in the net benefit analysis, the report is not sufficiently transparent about the potential uncertainties of the actual results.

Section 6.1 (Approach to the analysis of the options) further explains that the potential uncertainties in the actual results are attributed to the scarcity of concrete data that could be extrapolated and the varying levels of complexity associated with clearance processes.

(5)The comparison section does not sufficiently integrate stakeholder views.

Section 7 (How so the options compare) has been revised to integrate the views of the stakeholder groups on the expected efficiency of the viable options.

(C) What to improve

(7)The report could better reflect the gradual approach of the initiative in the objectives.

Section 4.2 (Specific objectives) has been revised to further explain that the objectives of the initiative will be achieved gradually over the course of the next decade.

(8)Given the approximations and assumptions in the net benefit analysis, the report should be more transparent on the uncertainty of the results. The analysis should more explicitly assess the effect on SMEs across all relevant options. It should acknowledge that the benefits are unevenly distributed across Member States. The report could discuss the extent to which the combination of the preferred options are future proof.

Section 6.1 (Approach to the analysis of the options) has been revised to explain that the uncertainty in the results of the expected time savings is attributed to the scarcity of concrete data that could be extrapolated and the varying levels of complexity associated with clearance processes. Section 6.1 further assesses the current disproportionate effects on SMEs, arguing that reductions in administrative burdens triggered by the relevant options could be expected to increase their participation in international trade. Section 8 (Preferred option) addresses the reasons why the combination of the preferred options package is future proof.

(9)The comparison section could integrate stakeholder groups’ views on the viability of the options into the assessment criteria. The effectiveness assessment should focus on specific objectives, instead of the general ones. The report could be clearer how the scale used to compare the options was applied.

Section 7 (How do the options compare) has been revised to integrate the views of the stakeholder groups on the expected efficiency of the viable options and to clarify the reasons for using the general objectives to examine the effectiveness criteria. Further explanations have also been added to address the scores for each package of options and criterion.

Source: DG TAXUD

Evidence, sources and quality

Evidence was gathered from existing documentary sources including legislation and other policy documents, customs and trade statistics, evaluations and reports on relevant policies, and information on related initiatives. Particularly relevant were the following pre-existing documents:

·Evaluation of the electronic customs implementation in the EU 120 ;

·EU CSW-CVED and EU CSW-CERTEX pilot project documentation, including:

·EU CSW-CVED guidelines

·EU CSW-CERTEX business case 121

·EU CSW-CERTEX FLEGT guidelines

·EU CSW-CERTEX COI guidelines

·Evaluation and reports of various non-customs policies relevant to the initiative, such as:

oReport of the Environmental Investigation Agency on illegal trade in hydrofluorocarbons 122

oEvaluation of the ODS Regulation (DG CLIMA)

oStudy on the improvement of the EU system of export authorisation, and import and transit measures for civilian firearms, their parts and components and ammunition (DG HOME).

oFinal report of the Forum pilot project on the control of PIC

oFinal report data and information collection for EU dual-use export control policy review

These were based on extensive consultation about the pre-existing situation, and thereby provide evidence of the initiative’s underlying rationale. 

During the impact assessment project, the following additional evidence was gathered:

a)Consultation of the EU Customs Single Window Project Group (the project group). This included five written questionnaires (on volumes of relevant supporting documents; clearance processing times and costs; views to further develop option 6; experiences with EU CSW-CVED pilot; and a follow-up to fill gaps from previous consultations), a survey on the feasibility and desirability of the different policy options, and the results of discussions taking place during period project group meetings. Important challenges and constraints were encountered in evidence collection resulting from an extremely complex situation. This is due in part to the need to consider over 30 regulatory requirements, all involving specific legislation, business processes and stakeholders, and also to the diversity of the 27 Member States, whose authorities have different starting points, IT architecture, priorities and cost structures. While qualitative data on experiences and expectations is ample, quantitative data is scarce, and limited to a small proportion of Member States and relevant regulatory requirements. In many cases, stakeholders were unaware of the e.g. precise costs and amounts of time associated with dealing with given regulatory requirements. For some national authorities, the data was considered too sensitive to share, since it was claimed that central governments would reclaim any expected savings from a new initiative.

b)Four B2G use cases: To obtain the necessary insight for the analysis of the policy options on B2G collaboration, the project group decided to carry out a series of B2G use cases for a limited number of regulatory requirements (CHED-A and CHED-D, FLEGT, Waste Shipment formalities and FGAS). Member State customs authorities in Spain, Czechia and the Netherlands and a trade association (participating in the project group) respectively led these use cases, with the coordination of DG TAXUD and the collaboration of the partner DGs. A pilot conducted between Spain and DG SANTE to test the feasibility of option 6 supplements the use case on CHED-A and CHED-D certificates.

c)Field visits to eight Member States: To facilitate much of the detailed insight needed on the existing situation, costs, benefits and other likely impacts of the policy options, and experiences of EU CSW-CVED so far. The sample included Czechia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania and Spain. Each case study was comprised of 10-15 mainly face-to-face interviews with customs, partner competent authorities and economic operators, and a review of relevant documentation. These largely provided the desired evidence, though it was difficult to obtain quantitative data on some aspects, such as likely implementation costs at national level and amounts of time spent on given clearance procedures. Nonetheless, the case study interviews provided the information needed to make reasonable assumptions about these issues and thereby informed the quantitative estimations.

d)Commission officials working with various regulatory requirements in different DGs. Continuous exchanges of expertise and best practices took place among affected Commission DGs on dedicated topics to build up the internal expertise needed for this impact assessment. In April 2018, a two-day technical workshop was held in Washington D.C. between U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials and representatives from DG TAXUD, DG AGRI and DG ENV to exchange best practices on single window development and implementation. The results of these exchanges were regularly discussed and validated at meetings of the interservice steering group. This coordinated data collection and analysis approach proved instructive in ensuring the overall quality of the impact assessment report.

e)Views of economic operators through the project group participating trade associations, targeted interviews and the open public consultation.

f)Available data from the EU CSW-CVED pilot on the volumes of declarations requiring CED, CVED-A and CVED-P for four participating countries (Czechia, Estonia, Ireland and Latvia) were combined with qualitative information to make estimations on time saved for different stakeholders in the assessment of the efficiency of the EU CSW CVED pilot.

The following diagram illustrates the methods used to provide evidence for the preparation of the impact assessment. The triangulation of data sources collected from the consultation work strengthened the validity of the research.

External expertise used for the impact assessment:

The project group set up in December 2016 provided a framework for continuous exchanges among different experts in the field. This include customs policy and IT experts of Member States customs administrations, professionals from the trade community representing different business domains, specialists from partner competent authorities at EU and national level and representatives of the main international organisations related to international trade and experienced in single window facilitation tools (WCO, WTO and UNECE).

In addition, DG TAXUD commissioned an external study to evaluate the EU CSW-CVED pilot and EU CSW-CERTEX and to support the impact assessment. The external study report was written by Oxford Research, Coffey, Economisti Associati and wedoIT and published in March 2020 123 . This impact assessment has been further supplemented by the ICT assessment of impacts derived from the initiative assigned to other external consulting services.



Annex 2: Stakeholder consultation

Introduction

This synopsis report provides a summary of the stakeholder consultation carried out in the scope of the impact assessment. In serves both to present the outcome of the consultation activities and to show how the input has been taken into account.

Given the many actors that would be affected by and involved in implementing the EU Single Window environment for customs, stakeholder consultation has from the beginning formed an integral part of the policy development process. The consultation began in existing fora, and was formalised in the consultation strategy developed for the Inception Impact Assessment published in May 2018 124 and continued until late 2019. The consultation aimed to provide international trade stakeholders and the wider public with the opportunity to express their views on all relevant elements, as well as to gather specialised input on specific issues. The consultation responses have thus formed a vital part of the evidence base for the impact assessment, as well as satisfying transparency principles and helping to define priorities for the future initiative.

Consultation strategy

The consultation strategy in the Inception Impact Assessment acknowledged the importance of feedback from both international trade stakeholders and the wider public. On this basis, it defined the groups to be consulted and stipulated that both a public consultation and targeted methods would be carried out. Overall, feedback was sought from and collected from the following stakeholders:

-Member States’ customs authorities;

-Partner competent authorities (i.e. the Commission and Member States’ partner competent authorities or agencies) that rely on customs to control or implement their policies at the border. Among these are veterinary, sanitary, phytosanitary, agricultural and fisheries, environmental, pharmaceutical authorities, etc.

-Economic operators dealing with cross-border goods movement, both in terms of individual companies and as represented by national, European and/or international trade and business associations. They can be grouped according to their function for trade transactions:

oManufacturers, retailers and wholesalers who are active in the business of purchasing and/or selling goods, particularly those subject to the policies of partner competent authorities;

oImporting / exporting businesses;

oShipping and transport companies that organise and take care of the physical movement of goods, or arrange commercial transportation in the case of freight forwarders and logistics companies;

oPort and airport operators, terminal handlers, stevedores and warehouse operators, who are involved in the physical movement of goods;

oCustoms and other intermediaries, who are involved in the fulfilment of procedures, including brokers and any businesses that provide a service to one or a number of parties in the supply chain, usually in form of data processing and information exchange;

oEU businesses compliant with EU regulatory requirements that are affected by distortion of competition due to the uneven enforcement of these requirements.

-International organisations related to international trade and customs, such as UNECE, WCO and WTO;

-Other interested groups such as academics/researchers, professional consultants and interested citizens.

In addition to the feedback on the Inception Impact Assessment and the public consultation, a range of targeted methods were used. These preceded the direct work on the impact assessment with discussions in in the frame of the related EU SW-CVED and EU CSW-CERTEX projects, and existing fora such as the Electronic Customs Coordination Group (ECCG), the Trade Contact Group (TCG) and the Customs Business Group (CBG).

A range of specific targeted activities were then carried out, many of which within or making use of the project group 125 that was set up to define the scope of the EU Customs Single Window and to elaborate on the legal and policy instruments suitable for this initiative. Consultation in this forum included five written questionnaires, a survey on the feasibility and desirability of the different policy options and the results of discussions taking place during regular project group meetings and follow-up phone interviews.

More detailed feedback and evidence was collected from a sample of eight Member States in the form of case study visits. These were each comprised of 10-15 interviews with customs authorities, partner competent authorities and individual businesses. Additional data was also collected at a High-Level Seminar hosted by the Romanian Presidency in May 2019 and a set of ‘use cases’ related to future B2G collaboration, as well as a number of general interviews with stakeholders from different groups (national members of trade associations, transport intermediaries, international organisations and various affected Commission DGs.

Methodology and tools for processing the data

The consultation activities allowed for the collection data of both a qualitative and quantitative nature, which were processed and analysed systematically using appropriate techniques. Qualitative data (including interview responses) was coded according to key themes, then reviewed and analysed from different angles and presented in narrative form. Quantitative data (including survey responses and figures provided by stakeholders) was be processed using Excel, and analysed using statistical methods such as frequency counts, cross-tabulations and simple trends. Results were presented in terms of tables, charts and graphs.

Results of the public consultation activities

Feedback on the Inception Impact Assessment

The Inception Impact Assessment was published on 4 May 2018. Its purpose was to outline the context of the problem, introduce policy options for targeted EU level intervention, the potential impact of the initiative on other policy areas, and the main features of the consultation strategy. Stakeholders were able to provide feedback until 1 June 2018.

Five contributions were received on the Inception Impact Assessment. The respondents shared concerns about the existing challenges and welcomed the initiative and its objectives. All respondents viewed the single window as an important facilitation measure that would keep the EU economy competitive in the global marketplace. They highlighted that the development of a new legal framework would encourage the mandatory participation of the Member States in the EU Single Window environment for customs. According to one respondent, entry and exit formalities should also be accommodated within a comprehensive customs single window framework.

Public Consultation

The public consultation was launched on 9 October 2018. It remained open until 17 January 2019 for a total of just over 14 weeks (i.e. longer than the usual 12 weeks to take into account the winter holiday period). A questionnaire was available online in all official EU languages (except Irish, due to resource constraints) and promoted among the members of trade associations, relevant national authorities and other stakeholders. It consisted of 24 questions, divided into three sections, focused on respondents’ profiles, experiences with cross-border operations, and opinion on potential policy measures. Stakeholders could also upload additional contributions. A synopsis of the consultation has been published on the Europa website 126 .

The consultation showed widespread agreement about the existence and seriousness of the problems as identified in the impact assessment and welcomed the possibility of EU action to address these. In total, 371 valid responses were received, most of which represented businesses 127 .

Figure 9: Question #2.3 of the public consultation: Which of the following best describes you?

Over 80% of respondents reported having direct involvement in customs operations, the vast majority of which expected significant benefits from an EU Single Window environment for customs. Most respondents were also micro, small, or medium enterprises (MSME). Being disproportionately affected by the current problems, these expected large gains from the streamlined trade compliance that would come from the new initiative. Small enterprises were the largest segment of respondents, with 77 businesses, and five trade associations and organisations belonging to the group. The most represented Member States were France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK, the Netherlands and Poland, while the most represented non-EU countries were China and the United States.

Between one fifth and one third of the businesses involved in the cross-border movement of goods reported that their customs declarations involve CED, CVED-A, or CVED-P certificates, the processes for which would be among the first to improve when the new initiative is implemented.

Respondents highlighted key issues and challenges that currently affect negatively the work of organisations involved in the cross-border movement of goods in the EU. Most notably these issues had to do with the delays in customs clearance, continued use of paper documents, re-submission of the same information, insufficient support from authorities, differing data requirements among Member States, and inappropriate use of customs certificates, all of which would be addressed in the proposed initiative. The majority of MSME and larger businesses confirmed that these issues translate into concrete problems in their activities, such as additional operational costs for training, services, reporting obligations, etc. Around 35 respondents also indicated other issues affecting cross-border operations, including a lack of coordination among authorities.

Figure 10: Question #3.3 from the public consultation: To what extent you think that the issues listed below negatively affect organisations involved in the cross-border movement of goods in the EU?

Strong support was expressed for further EU action to improve the trade and transport of goods across borders. The potential objectives for a new initiative were considered important by over 90% of respondents.

Figure 11: Question #4.1 from the public consultation: Possible EU action to improve the trade and transport of goods across borders is likely to focus on one or more of the following objectives. Please indicate how important each of these objectives is to you and your organisation.

All proposed changes triggered by new EU action were expected to have very positive impacts on business operations, particularly on the reduction of administrative burden, the equal treatment of economic operators and the fight against fraudulent activities.

Figure 12: Question #4.2 Compared to the current situation, what impacts do you think the following changes would have on organisations’ operations in the movement of goods across borders?

Figure 13: Question #4.3 […] Please indicate what kind of effects (positive or negative) you think that the changes mentioned in question 4.2 would have on the following:

Other possible impacts of the proposed changes raised by some of the respondents, referred to aspects similar to those covered by Question 4.3 (particularly reduction in administrative burden, equal treatment of operators, and increased control thanks to enhanced fight against fraudulent activities). A couple of respondents pointed out that this may also translated in an increase in operators’ confidence in their ability to avoid mistake, and the related operators’ confidence in authorities. Finally, in another couple of cases, respondents pointed out that an EU action may have a negative on impacts on economic operators, particularly SME, in terms of costs to adapt to the changes.

Results of the targeted consultation activities

Project Group on the EU Customs Single Window 128  

A project group was set up to define the scope of the EU Customs Single Window and elaborate the legal and policy instruments suitable for the initiative. Launched in December 2016, the project group continued to meet regularly until June 2019, combining the expertise of customs and IT delegates from 19 Member States administrations and six representatives of trade associations. 129 The project group provided a valuable forum for sharing experiences, carrying out the preliminary work on the introduction of the draft legal proposal, and collecting data for the purposes of the impact assessment. Its activities were further augmented by promoting the participation of leading experts from the World Customs Organisation (WCO), United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), World Trade Organisation (WTO) and academia.

The project group held 13 regular meeting sessions during its duration. Ten of these meetings took place in various locations across the EU hosted primarily in the premises of national customs administrations. These onsite experiences allowed for knowledge sharing on a wide range of national initiatives on the single window from both a customs and IT perspective.

Principally, the project group analysed and discussed issues and trends related to the single window concept at EU and national level to assess the gap between the current situation faced by administrations and economic operators and its outlook for the future. Among its deliverables, the project group collaborated closely to develop the problem definition and the policy objectives and policy options that were taken forward as part of the study to support impact assessment.

Much of the data collection for the impact assessment took place in the framework of the project group. This included five written questionnaires (on volumes of relevant supporting documents; clearance processing times and costs; views to further develop option 6; experiences with EU SW-CVED; and a follow-up to fill gaps from previous consultations), a survey on the feasibility and desirability of the different policy options, and the results of discussions taking place during period project group meetings.

A survey was also carried out to analyse the policy options defined for the impact assessment. Although preferences about the potential scope of a new initiative were diverse in terms of the ambition of commitments at national and EU levels, both the Member States and trade associations showed strong will for new EU action to improve the current situation.

Among its key findings, the survey concluded that in terms of the political and technical feasibility for the G2G solutions, Member States indicated a clear preference for option 1 focusing on regulatory requirements managed through EU electronic systems. Option 2 also received strong support from about half of the Member States. Among the responses related to the B2G exchanges, option 6 on interoperable national Customs Single Windows emerged as the favoured choice. Its flexibility was seen as a major advantage allowing Member States to pursue their own initiatives while benefiting from a degree of standardisation that would benefit traders. The majority of trade associations believed that apart from the baseline scenario, all the other options would to some extent make clearance processes smoother for their members.

B2G use cases

Consultation in the project group and early case study fieldwork showed that evidence on the policy options for B2G collaboration was especially hard to obtain. This was because there is no experience in this domain and the practical implications of these options had not yet been worked through in enough detail. To obtain the necessary insight, it was thus decided that the project group will carry out a series of B2G use cases to analyse the potential application of option 6 to a limited number of regulatory requirements. The use cases were led by Member State customs authorities in Czechia, the Netherlands and Spain and one trade association (participating in the project group), with the coordination of DG TAXUD and the collaboration of the partner DGs. They covered regulatory requirements for the import of live animals, sustainable and legal forest management, waste shipment and fluorinated greenhouse gases. The B2G use cases showed the applicability of this approach to the first two formalities and the difficulties of its implementation in the context of the other two. In addition, a pilot is being conducted between Spain and DG SANTE to test the feasibility of the single-entry point concept for CHED-A certificates.

Field visits in 8 MS

Eight country 130 case studies were carried out between October 2018 and February 2019 to provide evidence for the impact assessment. By collecting and analysing data on the current situation and expected future developments, the case studies aimed to generate insight on the nature and scale of any existing problems and likely impacts of the policy options defined for the potential new initiative. The eight Member States were selected with a view to covering complementary areas of interest and achieving a degree of representativeness for instance with regard to the types of border crossing.

Each case study consisted of 10-15 interviews with customs officials, partner competent authorities, and economic operators and a review of relevant documents. The case studies revealed detailed insight on the existing situation and experiences with the EU SW-CVED pilot project, costs, benefits and other likely impacts of the policy options. The research was narrowed down to national specificities and varied according to geography, trading profile, administrative set-up and participation (or not) in the EU SW-CVED and EU CSW-CERTEX). Although it was difficult to obtain quantitative data on certain aspects, such as likely implementation costs at national level and amounts of time spent on given clearance procedures, the case study interviews provided evidence to make reasonable assumptions about these issues.

High Level Seminar on the EU Single Window environment for customs initiative

The EU Romanian Presidency hosted a two-day high-level seminar in Bucharest on 16-17 May 2019 on the initiative related to the establishment of an EU Single Window environment for customs. This seminar was jointly organised with DG TAXUD with the participation of senior management officials from national customs administrations, candidate countries, representatives of trade associations and keynote speakers from the US Customs and Border Protection, UNECE, the World Bank and the EC DIGIT.

The objective of the Seminar was to present and discuss with the senior management of national customs administrations and representatives of trade associations the policy options identified during the impact assessment exercise. A series of workshops were held to address the relevance of the policy options in the government-to-government (G2G) and business-to-government (B2G) context, with informal polls conducted to gauge support for different policy options.

In view of the G2G cooperation, the meeting participants expressed strong, nearly unanimous support for the establishment of a legal framework to govern the exchange of information between customs and partner competent authorities, particularly as it relates to the verification of supporting documents to the customs declaration, hosted in EU systems. This layer of G2G cooperation is already running in parallel with the EU Customs Single Window Certificates Exchanges (EU CSW-CERTEX) pilot. The meeting participants expressed strong support for the development of a legal framework for the EU Single Window environment for Customs, which will legitimate the EU CSW-CERTEX and build on current initiatives.

Support was also provided with preconditions for the development of a legal framework to allow the interoperability between customs and national certification systems for EU supporting documents to the customs declaration. 131 However, this option deserved a more detailed analysis, including the identification of the list of procedures and certificates in scope, efficient allocation of resources, responsibilities, timing and funding, and the establishment of benchmark measures for success.

Most notably, national customs authorities expressed their views on viable policy options in an informal poll taken at this seminar. The poll revealed a widespread perception that the connections that would be facilitated by option 2 are important. On the other hand, while few respondents were not enthusiastic with this option, most offered support with pre-conditions 132 as shown in the graph below.  

Figure 14: High-level seminar – support for option 2 (G2G)

Source: Informal poll of participants (mainly from national customs authorities) at the High-level seminar on the EU Single Window environment for customs initiative

Asked whether harmonised single access points at national level would be desirable, 87% responded either ‘fully desirable’ or ‘quite desirable’ as demonstrated in the graph below. The reasons given for these responses corresponded to the envisaged benefits of the initiative, including cutting costs, increasing efficiency, simplification, faster clearance and release of goods, better reuse of data, increased effectiveness of controls and better risk management.

Figure 15: High-level seminar – support for option 6 (B2G)

Source: Informal poll of participants (mainly from national customs authorities) at the High-level seminar on the EU Single Window environment for customs

With respect to the B2G interaction, it was concluded that the possibility of establishing harmonised access points at national level to fulfil customs and non-customs formalities should be voluntary. Data harmonisation and standardisation were viewed as a fundamental precondition for providing increased benefits for trade before considering the mandatory application of this option. In addition, the meeting participants expressed strong agreement on the extension of the economic operator registration and identification (EORI) number to the formalities required by partner competent authorities for the international trade in goods.

EDPS

To ensure the protection of personal data and privacy, the Commission consulted the European Data Protection Supervisor on the processing of personal data within the EU Single Window environment for customs.

Taking account of feedback received

A concerted effort was made, particularly through discussions in the project group and High-Level Seminar to feed back on the ongoing consultation activities and to ensure that the views and concerns of affected stakeholders were carefully considered throughout the impact assessment exercise. This was particularly the case for the analysis of the problem and the development and analysis of the policy options, where the arguments presented in the impact assessment are broadly in line with stakeholder views.

Annex 3: Who is affected and how?

Practical implications of the initiative

The practical implications are given by stakeholder group.

Member States customs administrations

Option 1

This option would lead to important process changes that would save significant time in the customs clearance. In broad terms, instead of needing to ask economic operators to provide physical documents to support customs declarations, the necessary documents would be delivered to customs IT systems (in the correct data format) electronically and securely from the respective EU electronic system. For the regulatory requirements covered by this option, this would obviate the need to consult paper documents or external systems, introduce possibilities for automated verification and reduce reliance on manual documentary checks. The change would be especially pronounced for regulatory requirements where quantities of authorised goods can be split across multiple customs declarations. Verifying that ‘write-offs’ were correct currently requires time-consuming checks of paper documents and interactions with partner competent authorities, often based in other locations or Member States. With the introduction of automated quantity management under this option, the verification would be instantaneous and secure, preventing any goods over the authorised quantity from being cleared. Moreover, having all information in electronic form makes it easier, where relevant, to coordinate checks with partner competent authorities.

Significant human resource savings are expected for the national customs administrations. The automated verification of supporting documents will require less human resources and ultimately expand the control capacities of customs authorities. For standard cases (e.g. where the decision of the competent authority is favourable and there are no inconsistencies between the customs declaration and the supporting document) the documentary check can be fully automated, thus requiring no human intervention. As regards non-standard cases, the initial automated check will identify those to subsequently revert them to a customs officer, thus facilitating the intelligent allocation of human resources. Additionally, given the 24/7 availability of the automated supporting documents verification service, the clearance of standard cases may happen even outside the working hours.

Reduced risk of receiving falsified supporting documents, as customs authorities would receive the data directly from the partner competent authority certification system.

Option 6

Data simplification and harmonisation between customs and non-customs formalities and better alignment of procedures.

The risk of fraud and the number of errors could be reduced because the data and documentation required would be sent just once to all the authorities involved.

Improved risk management steaming from increased amount of electronic data obtained from economic operators as part of the customs declaration and the easier data sharing among authorities. It could enable joint risk analysis if necessary.

Option 8(ii)

This would allow customs and partner competent authorities to exchange, collect and receive information about economic operators more easily, facilitating the implementation of option 1 and 6.

Partner competent authorities

Option 1

Better enforcement and control of their policies. Quantity management at EU level would in particular avoid fraudulent use of supporting documents over the authorised quantities. The automated exchange of information between authorities would in addition eliminate to the risk of clearing goods under a falsified supporting document. Moreover, standardising the exchange of information between EU partner competent authorities systems and national customs systems, would also bring the opportunity to harmonize the implementation of non-customs legislation by national customs administrations across the EU.

Processes would also be simplified and made more efficient for partner competent authorities. Instead of needing to provide validated supporting documents to economic operators (who then take them onwards to customs authorities), this option would allow electronic versions to be transferred to customs authorities directly, in an automated way. This would reduce the time needed to document the results of checks, as well as making it easier to arrange and coordinate controls efficiently.

Option 6

Data simplification and harmonisation between customs and non-customs formalities and alignment of procedures.

The risk of fraud and the number of errors could be reduced because the data and documentation required would be sent just once to all the authorities involved.

Possibility to benefit from data validation performed by customs according to the rules agreed in advance.

Improved risk management steaming from increased amount of electronic data obtained from economic operators as part of the customs declaration and the easier data sharing among authorities. It could enable joint risk analysis if necessary.

Option 8(ii)

This would allow customs and partner competent authorities to exchange, collect and receive information about economic operators more easily, facilitating the implementation of option 1 and 6.

Economic Operators

Option 1

The option is expected to generate major efficiency gains and time savings in the clearance of goods. Instead of presenting supporting documents in paper form for the customs clearance, transferring them physically between authorities, economic operators would benefit from the direct automated exchange between authorities through this G2G connection. This also means that application for supporting documents and customs declarations could be lodged in parallel, simplifying business processes and reducing delays, while speeding up processing. In addition, customs authorities would, in the majority of the cases, be able to verify the supporting documents in an automated way, thus reducing time and resources needed by economic operators to attend documentary controls. Given the 24/7 availability of the automated supporting documents verification service, the clearance of standard cases may happen even outside the working hours.

Moreover, the G2G information exchange could also led to coordinated checks between customs and partner competent authorities, avoiding the movement of containers at cost to the economic operators that previously took place.

Finally, this option would enable a harmonised implementation of non-customs legislation by national customs administrations by standardizing the exchange of information between authorities. It would play a role in furthering the single market, eliminating possibilities for distorted competition.

Option 6

This is essentially a trade facilitation tool that would provide economic operators with a single point of entry for the submission of customs and non-customs information. This solution would simplify clearance procedures and address key problems such as the need to submit similar information to multiple authorities for the same movements. Instead of needing to submit data to different authorities at different times, and in different formats, this option would rationalise the process, allowing customs and non-customs data to be submitted together. This would eliminate data redundancies and enable easier monitoring of the status of requests and automated verification of documents related to a number of regulatory requirements.

Option 8(ii)

This would allow customs and partner competent authorities to exchange, collect and receive information about economic operators more easily, with the purpose of reducing the administrative burden on economic operators and facilitating the implementation of option 1 and 6.

Citizens

Option 1

The envisaged social and environmental impacts of this option are very important. These would be felt first by customs and partner competent authorities, whose ability to work effectively would be improved. Ultimately, citizens will benefit from a better compliance and enforcement of non-customs EU regulatory requirements. An efficient exchange of information and integration of procedures would allow for the early detection of fraudulent activities This would have positive impacts on protecting public health and safety; enhancing security; preserving the cultural heritage and protecting animal welfare and the environment.

Option 6

The simplification of regulatory requirements, the decrease of clearance time and the resources needed to deal with them, may ultimately benefit citizens as lower costs may be transferred to them in the form of lower prices.

The improved cooperation and coordination between authorities, better risk management, reduced fraud and errors and better compliance and enforcement of EU policies in the scope of this initiative would indirectly lead to a better protection of the citizens and the environment.

Option 8(ii)

N/A

Summary of costs and benefits for the preferred option package

Preferred option: package of options 1+6+8(ii)

Total for gradual implementation years 1-7

Costs
(-€m, low and high ranges except for EC costs)

European Commission

64.73

Member State authorities

64.38

127.73

Total

129.11

192.46

Benefits (€m, low and high ranges)

Member State customs

212.87

336.89

Member State Partner Competent authorities

25.91

64.77

Economic operators

494.10

688.41

Total

732.88

1 090.08

Net impact (€m, low and high ranges)

540.42

960.97

EUR benefits per EUR spent, low and high ranges

3.81

8.40

Annual total once fully operational, from year 8 onwards

Costs
(-€m, low and high ranges except for EC costs)

EC

6.35

MS authorities

5.91

11.75

Total

12.26

18.10

Benefits (€m, low and high ranges)

Member State customs

60.82

96.25

Member State Partner Competent authorities

7.40

18.51

Economic operators

141.17

196.69

Total

209.39

311.45

Net impact (€m)

191.29

299.19

EUR benefits per EUR spent, low and high ranges

11.57

25.40


Annex 4: Analytical methods

The impact assessment is based on the triangulation of evidence from a wide range of sources which has been analysed using the usual methods for social and economic research. While more advanced methods, such as econometric modelling, were considered, these were deemed unsuitable due to the expected limited scale of second-order effects on international trade.

The methods used are described in detail in various parts of this document as follows:

·Standard cost model: this was used to analyse the direct economic impacts of the policy options, as described in section 6 of the main report.

·Stakeholder consultation: extensive public and targeted consultation activities were carried out, with the data analysed in different ways and fed into the impact assessment. The activities and analytical methods are described in Annex 2: Stakeholder consultation.

·Evaluation of EU SW-CVED and EU CSW-CERTEX: as described in Annex 14, the evaluation was based on the triangulation of evidence from several desk research sources and stakeholder consultation.

·ICT assessment: the extensive stakeholder consultation showed that the impact of this initiative must be also assessed from an IT perspective within the G2G and B2G areas. For this reason, DG TAXUD commissioned an external contractor to assess the relevant ICT impacts derived from the implementation of the viable policy options. As described in Annex 15, the report analyses in detail the IT requirements and implications for each viable policy option, focusing on three main IT project management domains: project timeline and integration, governance and operations and system architecture.



Annex 5: Acronyms 

Acronym

Explanation

AGREX

Agriculture Export Licence

AGRIM

Agriculture Import Licence

AACE

African Alliance for e-Commerce

ACE

Automated Commercial Environment (U.S.)

APEC

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation

ASEAN

Association of Southeast Asian Nations

B2G

Business-to-Government cooperation

CBP

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

CBSA

Canada Border Services Agency

CCFV

Certificate of conformity for fruits and vegetables

CED

Common Entry Document for Feed and Food of non-Animal Origin

CEFIC

European Chemical Industry Council

CHED

Common Health Entry Document for Plants, Plant Products and Plant Propagation Material, Products of Animal Origin and Live Animals

CHED-A

Common Health Entry Document for Animals

CHED-D

Common Health Entry Document for Feed and Food of Non-Animal Origin

CHED-P

Common Health Entry Document for Animal Products

CHED-PP

Common Health Entry Document for Plants and Plant Products

CITES

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora

CLECAT

European Association for Forwarding, Transport, Logistics and Customs Services

COI

Certificate of Inspection (for import of products from organic production into the European Union)

CVED

Common Veterinary Entry Document

CVED-A

Common Veterinary Entry Document for Animals

CVED-P

Common Veterinary Entry Document for Products of Animal Origin

DG

Directorate-General

DG AGRI

Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development

DG CLIMA

Directorate-General for Climate Action

DG ENV

Directorate-General for Environment

DG GROW

Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises

DG HOME

Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs

DG MARE

Directorate-General Maritime Affairs and Fisheries

DG MOVE

Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport

DG SANTE

Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety

DG TAXUD

Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union

DG TRADE

Directorate-General for Trade

EC

European Commission

ECHA

European Chemicals Agency

ECOFIN

Economic and Financial Affairs Council, responsible for EU policy in three main areas: economic policy, taxation issues and the regulation of financial services

EDI

Electronic data interchange

EDIFACT

Electronic Data Interchange For Administration, Commerce and Transport

eDUES

Electronic Dual Use Export Authorisation System

eIDAS

Electronic Identification, Authentication and trust Services

ePIC

IT system for Prior Informed Consent (PIC)

EU

European Union

EU-CSW

EU Customs Single Window

EU CSW-CERTEX

EU Customs Single Window CERTificates EXchange

EU CSW-CVED

EU Customs Single Window – Common Veterinary Entry Document

EORI

Economic Operator Registration and Identification

FGAS

Fluorinated greenhouse gases

FLEGT

Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade

FTE

Full-time employee

G2G

Government-to-Government cooperation

HFCs

Hydrofluorocarbons

IAS

Invasive Alien Species

ICEGATE

Indian Customs Electronic Commerce Gateway

ICS

Import Control System

ICS2

Import Control System 2

ICSMS

Information and Communication System for Market Surveillance

ICT

Information and Communication Technology

IID

Integrated Import Declaration

IUU Catch

Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing regulation, Catch certificate

IPCSA

International Port Community System Association

IT

Information Technology

ITDS

International Trade Data System (U.S.)

KPCS

Kimberley Process Certification Scheme

MASP-C

Multi-Annual Strategic Plan for Customs

MRN

Movement Reference Number

MS

Member State

MSME

Micro, Small, or Medium Enterprises

NGO

Non-Governmental Organisation

NCTS

New Computerised Transit System

NMSWs

National Maritime Single Window(s)

ODS

Ozone-Depleting Substances

PCA

Partner Competent Authority

PCS

Port Community System

PGA

Partner Government Agency (U.S.)

PDF

Portable Document Format

PD-NEA

Portal Dashboard for National Enforcement Authorities

PIC

Prior Informed Consent

RAMMAP

Reform and Modernization-Monitoring Activities and Projects

REACH

Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals

REX

Registered Exporters System

RIN

Reference Identification Number

SME

Small and Medium Enterprises

SPEED

Single Portal for Entry or Exit of Data

SWIFT

Indian Single Window Interface for Facilitation of Trade

SWIM

Single Window Interactive Map

TARIC

TARif Intégré Communautaire, Integrated Tariff of the European Union, multilingual database integrating all measures relating to EU customs tariff, commercial and agricultural legislation

TFA

Trade Facilitation Agreement

TFEU

Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union

TRACES

TRAde Control and Expert System

TRACES NT

TRAde Control and Expert System New Technology

UCC

The Union Customs Code

UN

United Nations

UN/CEFACT

United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business

UNECE

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

UUM&DS

Uniform User Management & Digital Signatures

VAT

Value Added Tax

WCO

World Customs Organisation

WTO

World Trade Organisation

XML

Extensible Markup Language


Annex 6: Glossary

Term

Definition

APEC

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation. A forum established as a vehicle for multilateral cooperation among the market-oriented economies of the region to better manage their growing interdependence and sustain economic growth. Begun in 1989 as an informal grouping of 12 Asia-Pacific economies (Australia, Brunei, Canada, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and the United States), APEC admitted the People's Republic of China, Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong in 1991, Mexico and Papua New Guinea in 1993, Chile in 1994, and Peru, Russia and Vietnam in 1998.

ASEAN

Association of Southeast Asian Nations. A geopolitical and economic organisation of ten Southeast Asian Countries. Formed in 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand and subsequently expanded to include Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

Business to Government (B2G)

The electronic sharing of data and/or information systems between businesses and government agencies, departments or organizations.

Centralised Clearance

Simplification that allows economic operators to declare goods in one Member State (Supervising Customs Office) and present them in a different Member State (Presentation Customs Office). This allows economic operators to centralise the accounting and payment of customs duties for all their customs transactions in the Supervising Customs Office.

Certificate of origin

A specific document identifying the goods, in which the authority or body empowered to issue it certifies expressly that the goods to which the certificate relates originate in a specific country.

Competitive advantage

An attribute that allows a company to outperform its competitors.

Consortium

An agreement or individuals or companies who join together for a common purpose.

Cost-benefit analysis

A systematic approach to estimating the strengths and weaknesses of alternatives used to determine options which provide the best approach to achieving benefits while preserving savings.

Customs authorities

Customs administrations of the Member States responsible for applying the customs legislation and any other authorities empowered under national law to apply certain customs legislation (as defined in Article 5(1) of Regulation (EU) 952/2013).

Customs controls

Specific acts performed by the customs authorities in order to ensure compliance with the customs legislation and other legislation governing the entry, exit, transit, movement, storage and end-use of goods moved between the customs territory of the Union and countries or territories outside that territory, and the presence and movement within the customs territory of the Union of non-Union goods and goods placed under the end-use procedure (as defined in Article 5(3) of Regulation (EU) 952/2013).

Customs declaration

The act whereby a person indicates, in the prescribed form and manner, a wish to place goods under a given customs procedure, with an indication, where appropriate, of any specific arrangements to be applied (as defined in Article 5(12) of Regulation (EU) 952/2013).

Customs formalities

All operations carried out by an economic operator or customs authorities to comply with customs legislation.

Customs fraud

Any act, which a person deceives, or attempts to deceive, the customs and thus evades, or attempts to evade, wholly or partly, the payment of import or export duties and taxes or the application of prohibitions or restrictions laid down by the regulatory provisions enforced or administered by the customs administrations.

Customs legislation

The body of legislation made up of all of the following:

(a) the Code and the provisions supplementing or implementing it adopted at Union or national level;

(b) the Common Customs Tariff;

(c) the legislation setting up a Union system of reliefs from customs duty;

(d) international agreements containing customs provisions, insofar as they are applicable in the Union (as defined in Article 5(2) of Regulation (EU) 952/2013).

Customs procedure

Any of the procedures (release for free circulation, special procedures, export) under which goods may be placed in accordance with the Union Customs Code.

Customs Union

The merger of two or more customs territories with the effect that (Art. XXIV GATT and Art. 23 EC Treaty)

·customs duties and non-tariff barriers are eliminated between the members of the union for substantially all trade, and

·a common customs tariff and common rules for non-tariff barriers are introduced for substantially all trade with non-member countries.

Data model

The process of defining how the logical structure of a database is modelled, using text and symbols to represent the way  data  needs to flow.

Data transformation

The process of converting the format of non-customs data into customs declaration compatible data and vice versa without changing their content.

Digitalisation

The method, practice, or process of converting (usually analog) information into a digital form, which is computer-readable.

ECOFIN

The Council configuration on Economic and Financial Affairs composed of the Ministers (or State Secretaries) of Economic Affairs of the Member States of the EU.

Economic operator

A person who, in the course of his or her business, is involved in activities covered by the customs legislation (as defined in Article 5(5) of Regulation (EU) 952/2013).

Economies of scale

A proportionate saving in costs gained by an increased level of production.

Export

The customs procedure for taking Union goods out of the customs territory of the Union (as defined in Article 269 of Regulation (EU) 952/2013).

Exclusive competence

Areas in which the EU alone is able to legislate and adopt binding acts (Article 3 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union - TFEU).

Government to government (G2G)

The electronic sharing of data and/or information systems between government agencies, departments or organizations to facilitate increased efficiency.

Impact assessment

The formal, evidence-based procedures that assess the economic, social, and environmental effects of public policy .

Import

The act of bringing or causing any goods to be brought into a Customs territory.

Improved compliance

The principle of seeking to continually improve the level of voluntary compliance with customs legislation.

Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol

An international agreement to gradually reduce the consumption and production of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The amendment was agreed upon at the twenty-eighth Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol held on October 15, 2016, in Kigali.

Labour costs

Sum of all wages paid to employees, as well as the cost of employee benefits and payroll taxes paid by an employer.

Level playing field

A set of common rules and standards that prevent businesses in one Member State undercutting their rivals and gaining a competitive advantage over those operating in other Member States.

Multi-Annual Strategic Plan for Customs (MASP-C)

Overall project management tool prepared by the EU Commission in partnership with Member States to ensure operational planning and implementation of all e-Customs IT projects.

One-off cost

A cost that is paid once and not repeated .

One-stop shop

Set of services provided by customs authorities in close cooperation with partner competent authorities whereby in respect of the same goods, customs and non-customs controls are performed at the same time and place, as referred to in Article 47 of Regulation (EU) 952/2013.

Partner competent authority

Any Member State authority or Commission services that have the legally delegated power to perform a designated function in relation to the fulfilment of the relevant Union non-customs formalities.

Phased implementation

A process of transition from an existing system to a new one that takes place in stages.

Phytosanitary

Relating to the health of plants, especially with respect to the requirements of international trade.

Port shopping

The practice of exporters and importers choosing a particular port based on their assessment of customs' treatment, rather than on the quality of physical facilities and efficiency.

Prohibitions and restrictions

A limited range of goods prohibited or restricted at import and export, including live or dead animals or plants, foodstuff, illegal or dangerous goods, products of endangered species, protected items of international heritage, firearms, weapons or explosives, medicines, etc.

Proportionality principle

Principle that regulates the exercise of powers by the EU and seeks to set actions taken by EU institutions within specified bounds to what is necessary to achieve the objectives of the Treaties (Article 5(4) of the Treaty on European Union).

Quantity management

The activity of monitoring and managing the quantity of goods authorised by partner competent authorities in accordance with Union non-customs legislation based on the information provided by customs authorities on the clearance of related consignments.

Quota

Any pre-set quantity, authorised for importation or exportation of given goods, during a specified period, beyond which no additional quantity of these goods can be imported or exported. (WCO)

Recurrent costs

The costs of maintaining and operating a given programme once the initial, one-off investment has been completed.

Release of goods

Act whereby the customs authorities make goods available for the purposes specified for the customs procedure under which they are placed (as defined in Article 5(26) of Regulation (EU) 952/2013).

Risk

The chance of something happening that will have an impact on customs objectives, including potential non-compliance with customs laws and failure to facilitate trade.

Risk management

Systematic identification of risk, including through random checks, and the implementation of all measures necessary for limiting exposure to risk (as defined in Article 5(25) of Regulation (EU) 952/2013).

Sectorial legislation

Body of legislation aiming at the protection of health, safety, security, environment, cultural goods or imposing sanctions in the framework of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) affecting the international movement of goods.

Single window

A facility that allows parties involved in trade and transport to lodge standardized information and documents with a single-entry point to fulfill all import, export, and transit-related regulatory requirements (UNECE Recommendation No 33). 

Standard cost model

A method for assessing administrative costs imposed by a regulation on, among other things, businesses and public administrations. It is based on the identification of information obligations whose costs for the regulatory addressees can be measured and quantified. Impact can be calculated by comparing the total costs under the baseline scenario with costs under a new intervention.

Principle of subsidiarity    

In areas in which the European Union does not have exclusive competence, the principle of subsidiarity means that the Union is justified in exercising its powers when Member States are unable to achieve the objectives of a proposed action satisfactorily and added value can be provided if the action is carried out at Union level (Article 5(3) of the Treaty on European Union).

Supply chain

A logistical management system that integrates the sequence of activities from delivery of raw materials to delivery of the finished product into measurable components.

Supporting documents

Certificates, attestations, licences and permits issued by partner competent authorities to certify the fulfilment of Union non-customs formalities.

A comprehensive list of EU customs key terms is available at:

https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/glossary_en#heading_1

Annex 7: Overall volumes of EU supporting documents

Overall volumes of EU supporting documents where data were available

EU supporting document

Overall volumes and, where available, trends in last few years based on partner DG estimates

Common Entry Document (CED)

The number of CED increased by over 20%, from around 180 000 in 2015 and 2016 to over 220 000 in 2017 133 . Spain alone was the destination of over 40% of all CEDs and experienced a nearly 50% increase between 2015 and 2017.

Common Veterinary Entry Document: Animal Products (CVED-P)

The number of CVED-P issued increased by 10% between 2015 and 2017, from about 340 000 to nearly 380 000 per year 134 . There is a high degree of concentration in terms of destination countries, which remained stable over the three years under consideration. Cumulatively, the three top countries are the destination of more than half of all CVED-P in all three years (Germany, Spain and Italy), and the share increases to around 80% with the Netherlands and France.

Common Veterinary Entry Document: Live Animals (CVED-A)

An average 47 000 CVED-A were issued per year, with a 4% increase between 2015 and 2017. Cumulatively, the top three Member States include over half of all CVED-A (UK, Germany, and France). Once Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain are added, the share increases to 75%. While the overall share did not change significantly over the three years, some of the "smallest" destination countries did experience changes, with Finland tripling the number of CVED-A between 2015 and 2017, while Latvia halved it for example. 135

Import Catch Certificates (CC)

The 28 136 Member States registered nearly 580 000 import Catch Certificates (CCs) in 2014-2015, or about 290 000 per year (no trend data were available). Spain alone accounted for nearly one fifth of all import CCs. Cumulatively, the three top countries represented nearly 50% of all import CCs over the period considered (Spain, Germany and France).

Ozone-Depleting Substances licences (ODS)

2 433 ODS licences had been issued to companies as of 2018. Since 660 annual licences could be used for multiple shipments, however, the number of shipments per year was estimated to be around 16 000. 809 companies were registered.

Reporting on F-gas activity 137

1 699 companies had reported on their fluorinated greenhouse gases or F-gas activity (production, import, export and destruction of F-gases) during 2017 (33% more than in the previous year). Companies are distributed across all EU Member States, the largest numbers are located in Poland, Italy, Germany, France, the United Kingdom and Spain.

Export notifications of hazardous chemicals 138

8 787 export notifications have been issued in 2019. This represents a 55% increase since 2015. The largest number of export notifications come from Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Belgium and the United Kingdom.

REACH

More than 22 000 substances are registered under REACH. Registration requirements for chemical substances produced or imported in volumes higher than one tonne per year were finalised in 2018. Nearly 97 000 registration files were submitted to European Chemicals Agency by more than 15 000 companies.

Source: Extrapolations based on partner DGs


Annex 8: Categorisation of regulatory formalities

The non-customs regulatory formalities can be grouped into several categories, depending on whether they relate to EU or national legislation and whether the information required is available nationally or at EU level. In some cases, where a third-country authority issues the supporting documents, the information is unavailable at both EU and national levels. The existing regulatory formalities can therefore be categorised in four groups:

a)Category 1: EU regulatory requirements set out in EU legislation for which the customs-relevant information is available or planned to be made available for all Member States at EU level.

Regulatory requirement(s)

Description

Owner of legislation

EU Systems

CHED-A

Common Health Entry Document for Animals

DG SANTE

TRACES NT

CHED-P

Common Health Entry Document for animal Products

CHED-D

Formerly, CED certificate

CHED-PP

Common Health Entry Document module for Plant Protection

COI

Certificate of Organic Inspection

DG AGRI

FLEGT

Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade

DG ENV

ODS

Ozone-Depleting Substances Licence

DG CLIMA

ODS2 Licensing system

FGAS

Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases: Registration (“Kigali License”); Authorisation/Quota

EU IUU Catch

Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing regulation, Catch certificate

DG MARE

Not yet specified

PIC

Prior Informed Consent

DG ENV/ DG GROW

ePIC (ECHA)

REACH

Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals

DG GROW

PD-NEA tool 139

Import licence cultural goods

Import licence cultural goods

DG TAXUD

Not yet specified

Import statement cultural goods

Import statement cultural goods

DG TAXUD

Not yet specified

Export licence cultural goods

Export licence cultural goods

Not yet specified

Products Safety and Compliance

Products Safety and Compliance (non-food products)

DG GROW

ICSMS

Waste

Waste Shipment Regulation documentation

DG ENV

Not yet specified

b)Category 2: EU regulatory requirements set out in EU legislation for which the information is available either only nationally, namely in the individual Member State system where compliance data is submitted and verified or in a combination of national and non-mandatory EU systems that do not gather customs-relevant information for all Member States at central level. E.g. for some regulatory requirements like dual use goods licences the competent DG at EU level is developing or considering developing a non-mandatory system for those Member States willing to join and that would eventually coexist with national ones. These future EU systems and the corresponding formalities are not considered under category 1 because, in principle, they would not make available information from all Member States at EU level, but only from the participating ones.

Regulatory requirement(s)

Description

Owner of the legislation

National Systems

non-mandatory EU Systems

AGRIM

Agriculture Import Licence

DG AGRI

Yes

AGREX

Agriculture Export Licence

DG AGRI

Yes

CCFV

Certificate of conformity fruits and vegetables

DG AGRI

Yes

TRACES NT

EU Dual-Use

Goods, software and technology that can be used for both civilian and military applications.

DG TAXUD

Yes

eDUES

Export of firearms

Export of firearms, their parts and components and ammunition Regulation 258/2012

DG HOME

Yes

eDUES

EU surveillance document

EU prior surveillance regime for certain iron, steel and aluminium products

dg trade

Yes

eDUES

Drug precursors

Drug Precursors provisions Regulation 111/2005

DG TAXUD

Yes

CITES

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species

DG ENV

Yes

IAS

Invasive Alien Species

DG ENV

Source: DG TAXUD

In June 2019, DG AGRI in collaboration with DG TAXUD conducted a survey on the digitalisation of AGRIM/AGREX licences in the Member States. This survey showed that out of 18 respondents, 15 Member States have an electronic licensing system in place for the application process; in 12 of them, licences are issued electronically. In 11 Member States, the electronic licensing system is interconnected to customs systems allowing the electronic verification of licenses; in just 9 cases does the interconnection foresee real time quantity management based on the quantities imported or exported in the Member State.

In addition, a study 140  evaluating the implementation of Regulation 258/2012 against illicit manufacturing and trafficking of firearms found that among Member States for which information is available, five Member States (AT, CZ, DE, EE, UK) have fully electronic licensing systems. The application is only paper-based in seven Member States (DK, FI, HU, LU, PL, PT, SI), the Belgian Capital Region and the Belgian Walloon Region. Nine Member States (ES, FR, IE, IT, LT, LV, NL, RO, SE, SK) and the Belgian Flemish Region allow for submitting applications in both electronic and written forms.

c)Category 3: National regulatory formalities introduced by national legislation in accordance with Article 36 of the TFEU 141 . There is no comprehensive list of the existing national regulatory requirements, but they are multiple and disparate. The national regulatory formalities provided by some Member States are listed below as an example:

France

Licence code

Description

Owner of the legislation

2413

Seeds importation document

National regulation

2044/2045

Radionuclides import/export document

National regulation

0030

Registration certificate required for exports of second-hand vehicles

National regulation

2409/2403

Explosives and powder authorisations

National regulation

2043

Authorisations for narcotics - psychotropics

National regulation

2041

Importation autorisation for medicines

National regulation

2405

Export authorisations for war materials

National regulation

Source: French customs

Spain

Licence code

Description

Owner of the legislation

1311

Pesca ilegal exportacion

National regulation

1310

Soivre seguridad importacion

National regulation

1313

Farmacia exportacion

National regulation

1306/1403/
1404/1407

Farmacia importacion

National regulation

1406

Muestras biologicas

National regulation
(RD 65/2006)

1405/1413

Sanidad exterior importacion

National regulation

1412

Sanidad animal importacion

National regulation

1106

R.E.A importacion

National regulation

1104

MDDU. Material defensa

National regulation

1117

MDDU. Otro material de defensa

National regulation

1118

MDDU. Armas de fuego

National regulation

1408

CEXGAN exporta

National regulation

Source: Spanish customs

Italy

Licence code

Description

Owner of the legislation

01AO

Autorizzazione Ministero dello Sviluppo Economico

National regulation

02AO

Comunicazione di cui all'art.12 del DPR 187/2001

National regulation

03AO

Certificato di conformità.

National regulation

04AO

Attestazione dell'avvenuta sorveglianza radiometrica

National regulation

05AO

Documento di trasporto unico

EU Reg. 2446/2015

06AO

Attestazione dell'origine estera del prodotto

National regulation

02CC

Nulla osta sanitario.

National regulation

03CC

Certificato di esenzione dal controllo del rispett....

National regulation

04CC

Certificato di controllo

EU regulation
1333/2008 (Art 6)

01CH

Identificativo registrazione presso l'ECHA

ECHA

01CR

Modiche quantita

National regulation

02CR

Dichiarazione di merce sana, leale, mercantile (ar....

National regulation

03CR

Dichiarazione dell'origine della merce

National regulation

04CR

Dichiarazione dell'origine dei prodotti composti e....

National regulation

05CR

Dichiarazione di non trasbordo in caso di esportaz....

National regulation

06CR

Dichiarazione di trasbordo in caso di esportazione....

National regulation

02CS

Autorizzazioni/Nulla Osta per l'importazione di pr....

National regulation

05CS

Autorizzazioni/Nulla Osta per l'importazione di pr....

National regulation

06CS

Autorizzazioni/Nulla Osta per l'importazione di f....

National regulation

07CS

Autorizzazioni/Nulla Osta per l'importazione di pr....

National regulation

09CS

Nulla Osta sanitario per l'importazione di indumen

National regulation

10CS

Nulla Osta per l'importazione di indumenti usati, ....

National regulation

11CS

Nulla osta per introduzione di parti di cadavere,o....

National regulation

12CS

Nulla Osta sostanze gas tossici e sostanze pericol....

National regulation

13CS

Autorizzazione/Nulla osta sanitario U.S.M.A.F. all....

National regulation

13RS

Richiesta di autorizzazione/Nulla osta Sanitario U....

National regulation

01IT

ITDER

National regulation

Source: Italian Customs

The Netherlands

Licence code

Description

Owner of the legislation

0005

Vervoersdocument Uitvoeringsbesluit accijns art. 3a

National regulation

0006

Ontheffing verdrag chemische wapens Art. 3 (4) Uitvoeringswet verdrag chemische wapens

National regulation

0010

Vergunning kolenbelasting Art. 36 Wet belastingen op milieugrondslag en Mededeling 18 nr. DGB/2010-630

National regulation

0011

Vergunning voor het binnenbrengen; afgeg. Door min. Vrom Kernenergiewet, Handboek VGEM, onderdeel 40.02.00

National regulation

0015

Invoervergunning productschap Art. 3 (2) Algemeen douanebesluit

National regulation

0022

Verklaring bewijs van typegoedkeuring blustoestellen Verklaring dat belanghebbende in bezit is van een bewijs van typegoedkeuring besluit blustoestellen

National regulation

0023

Consent als bedoeld in de Wet wapens en munitie Consent als bedoeld in artikel 14 Wet wapens en munitie

National regulation

0027

Invoerverg. (overige prod.) Afgegeven door het min. Van vrom Art. 6 en 8 Opiumwet

National regulation

0029

Kwaliteitscertificaat / PD-begeleidings-formulier.

National regulation

0030

Inventaris als bedoeld in waarborgwet Inventaris als bedoeld in art. 50, 1e lid, waarborgwet 1986

National regulation

0040

DO040-Verklaring vernietiging goederen onder toezicht Douane Art. 5 lid 37 letter c, DWU

National regulation

0061

Geleidebiljet ondermaatse vis Geleidebiljet voor het vervoer van ondermaatse vis in de gesloten tijd als voorzien in art. 12

National regulation

0084

Factuurverklaring voor textielproducten Art. 2 regeling aanwijzing bewijsstukken, inzake de oorsprong van textielproducten

National regulation

0097

Wegvoeringsexemplaar Bijlage VI Algemene douaneregeling

National regulation

0099

Zuiveringsexemplaar

National regulation

1119

Voorfixatiecertificaat landbouw in depot bij productschap

Regulation 376/2008/EC, Art 24

1500

Fytosanitaire controle De aangegeven goederen vallen niet onder het toepassingsgebied van EU Richtlijn 2000/29 van de Raad. (fytosanitaire eisen).

Regulation 2000/29/EC

1600

Kwaliteit controle De aangegeven goederen vallen niet onder het toepassingsgebied van Uitvoeringsverordening (EU) Nr. 543/2011 van de Commissie. (kwaliteitsnormen G&F).

Regulation EU 543/2011

1700

Fictieve bescheidcode inzake economische- en landbouwregimes taric-NL toepassing

National regulation

1800

Fictieve bescheidcode inzake gezondheid en kwaliteit TARIC-NL toepassing

National regulation

1900

Fictieve bescheidcode inzake overige regelingen bij invoer TARIC-NL toepassing

National regulation

1998

Fictief

National regulation

1999

Fictieve bescheidcode bij uitvoer (zwaar bescheid) TARIC-NL toepassing

National regulation

2010

Formulier l ter bestemming (F) Formulier landbouw L(F)

National regulation

2095

Formulier zekerheid rvo(invoer)

National regulation

8002

Verklaring nederlands stamboek Art. 9 Fokkerijbesluit

National regulation

8003

Geleidebiljet/Ontheffing vervoer vis

National regulation

8004

Uitvoercertificaat preferentiele regeling kaas

National regulation

8005

Oorsprongs- en geldigheidscertificaat voor uitvoer van bepaalde kaas

National regulation

8006

Uitvoeringswet verdrag Chemische wapens, Strategische goederen, Handboek VGEM, onderdeel 30.06.00

National regulation

8007

Uitvoeringswet verdrag Chemische wapens, Strategische goederen, Handboek VGEM, onderdeel 30.06.00

National regulation

8009

Gezondheidscertificaat dieren Art. 77 van de gezondheids- en welzijnswet voor dieren

National regulation

8010

FORMULIER L(F) TER verzending/uitvoer L(F) formulier. Restitutie (Nationaal)

National regulation

8011

Uitvoervergunning/ontheffing cdiu handelspolitiek In- en uitvoerwet

National regulation

8016

Uitvoervergunning/verlof opiumwet Art. 6 en 8 Opiumwet

National regulation

8022

Uitvoervergunning militaire goederen CDIU Art. 6 Besluit strategische goederen

National regulation

8025

Uitv.Verg.Reg.Goed.Tweeerlei Gebr. Egypte, Syrie, Oekraine Vergunning inzake Regeling goederen voor tweeerlei gebruik voor uitvoer naar Egypte, Syrie en de Oekraine

National regulation

8030

VERGUNNING VERZAMELZENDING UITVOER Beleidsbesluit nr. 2009/2057

National regulation

9003

PRO FORMA voorlopige factuur of een waardeverklaring Commentaar 7 punt 9 en 10 van het Comite Douanewetboek, afdeling douanewaarde

UNECE Recommendation 01 code 325

9004

Vergunning in het kader van vo. (EG) Nr. 1186/2009 Art. 7:2 Algemene douaneregeling

Regulation EU 1186/2009

9999

Overige Bescheiden

National regulation

Source: Dutch Customs

d)Category 4: Regulatory formalities certified by a third-country authority where the compliance information is presented directly to customs authorities in the EU as a supporting document to the customs declaration. These include Certificates of Origin issued by third countries with which the EU has agreements in place, and other certificates such as the VI 1 certificates for wine or the Kimberley Process Certificates.


Annex 9: Single window initiatives at national level

Single window developments/initiatives at national level

Member State

National Custom Single Windows: Current state of play

Austria

·The Customs Single Window scheme is fully operational.

·The Customs Single Window facility is managed by both customs administration and involved regulatory agencies, such as Ministry of Trade/Ministry of Agriculture/Agency for Agricultural Products.

·Economic operator submits the required information to the issuing authority.

·The issuing authority sends license data automatically at the moment of their issuing to the customs system via web service using XML. Customs sends back the relevant data for customs declarations.

·EORI number is used by the regulatory agencies participating in the Customs Single Window scheme.

Belgium

·A final scheme has been selected, and a study phase has been carried out based on which a Proof of Concept will be performed.

·Customs administration is the leading authority for the Customs Single Window scheme, although its role is not formalised.

·The majority of certificates requested by the economic operators are currently paper-based.

Bulgaria

·Customs administration manages the SW facility and the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency is the involved regulatory agency.

·Customs provides a Single Access Point to all its electronic services.

·8 customs competent customs offices are designated for the introduction of goods subject to veterinary controls.

·Paper CVEDs are also used.

·Import declarations and T1 (transit declarations) are affected within the Customs Single Window scheme. TIR and ATA carnets are excluded.

·ЕО submits the required information to the issuing authority.

·Links between customs information systems, EU CSW-CVED and Bulgarian Food Safety Agency IT system are based on a web services and asynchronous exchange massages.

·The connection between the systems is established by the protected government network.

Czechia

·Customs administration is the leading authority for the Customs Single Window scheme, although its role is not formalised.

·Economic operator submits the required information to the issuing authority.

·Data harmonization is carried out for cross border regulatory agencies participating in the Customs Single Window.

·Data transformation for CVED documents is performed by DG TAXUD and by the customs administration for CITES documents.

·Web services and XML are used for data exchange.

·Automatic validation is based on type of TARIC certificate (e.g. C400) in box 44 of customs declaration. Box 44 of the customs declaration was expanded to include “certificate item and item quantity.”

·Preparatory phase for the quantity management functionality.

·The quantity management functionality is based on the actual “write-off” of the available quantity (rather than the “reservation of quantity”) because the reservation system is too complicated for single use transactions, like CITES permits and FLEGT licenses.

Estonia

·The Customs Single Window is not yet operational. No central database will be created. Each authority runs its own database that will be connected to the customs system.

·Expressed interest in joining the EU CSW-CERTEX project starting from Release 1.4.0 of the EU CSW-CVED project.

·The Customs Single Window scheme is anticipated to expand in the following areas: feed, cultural goods, CAP goods, strategical goods (dual-use and export control), medicines and explosives.

·Economic operator submits the required information to the issuing authority.

·One-stop shop in road transport.

·All authorities are obliged to exchange information by using Data Exchange Layer X-Road pursuant to national legislation. The exchange of information with TRACES will be resolved via SPEED.

·Customs declaration system and IT systems of regulatory agencies will be amended in order to harmonise data for all systems and avoid transformation of data. If this harmonisation will not be possible, data transformation will be decided on a case by case basis.

·The MobiCarnet private sector initiative will allow to lodge electronically:

TIR-carnet data (transmit XML via X-road to NCTS), invoice, CMR, packing list and certificates.

France

·Customs Single Window scheme has been operational since December 7, 2015 (“Guichet Unique National” initiative).

·The customs administration is the leader of the Customs Single Window facility. Its role is formalised by national legislation.

·All authorities issuing permits and certificates required for imports and exports are progressively to be involved in the Customs Single Window mechanism. The current scope includes CITES, AGREX, seed import declaration and the radionuclide export and import certificates.

·Economic operator submits the required information to the issuing authority.

·Economic operator provides the type code and the reference of the document submitted in box 44. For each document added in box 44, customs authorities request economic operators to provide extra information specific to the document reference (imputation segment/boxes) which allow the implementation of the quantity management functionality.

·Automation of both customs cross-checks and quantity management is available.

·The PDF of the supporting document is made available to customs agents when they consult the electronic declaration.

·Exchanges are carried out by web service (http) SOAP calls, whereas data is sent in XML.

Germany

·The customs information system (ATLAS system) mirrors the national Customs Single Window.

·Bi-directional interfaces for export licences through which the certificates are received by customs from the competent authorities. In case of single export licences and maximum value export licences, quantity management is carried out by the customs clearance system.

·Single-directional interfaces for AGREX and AGRIM through which the certificate and licence datasets are received by customs from the competent authorities. No quantity management is implemented in the customs clearance system for AGREX and AGRIM.

·Option to join EU Customs Single Window: Certificates exchange has been discussed in January 2017 with various business/technical experts.

Greece

·Currently, the Customs Single Window project is undergoing the inception phase.

·Customs is the leading authority in the Customs Single Window initiative but the relationship with the regulatory agencies is established through the National Committee on Trade Facilitation whose role is legally formalised.

·Both legal and regulatory national amendments have been introduced for the Customs Single Window initiative.

·Economic operator submits the required information to the issuing authority.

·An economic operator is legally obliged to send certificates to customs electronically through ICISnet (National Integrated Customs System). All supporting documents for export procedure are uploaded to this system since 2014.

Italy

·Customs administration is the leading authority, formalised by national legislation. The role of the competent authorities involved in the national Customs Single Window is formalised by Presidential Decree n. 242/2010.

·The organisational setup for Customs Single Window activities includes a central monitoring and control committee, a subcommittee for interoperability between customs administration and other government agencies, a technical working group and several procedural working groups for each agency.

·Economic operator submits the required information to the issuing authority.

·Data integration and harmonization is performed only once at the start of each project by means of an IT system alignment process. As such, data transformation is no longer needed, and the information is exchanged via the XML message. The coordination of controls is integrated in this process.

·Only import declarations are affected by the Customs Single Window scheme. Only AGREX licenses are affected at export.

·The quantity management functionality is implemented for AGRIM / AGREX licenses and is under development for certificates issued by the Ministry of Health. A database replication is established from the EU database to the Ministry of Health which sends the information to customs. Requests from economic operators are replicated after passing through TRACES. The database replication approach enables the customs administration to perform quantity management and send feedback to the competent authority. Economic operators can monitor the lifecycle of the customs declaration/ supporting documents by using the portal of the Italian Customs Agency.

·Web services and XML are used for data exchange.

·A new Customs Single Window facility that will allow economic operators to send information only once is anticipated to be developed pursuant to Decree n. 169/2016 Art. 20.

Ireland

·National Customs Single Window is run and managed by both the customs administration and other regulatory bodies involved.

·In 2014, Irish customs implemented an Electronic Manifest System (EMS). All Manifest data (for both Air and Sea) is received in the EMS. Data from the EMS is shared with the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and the Department of Agriculture and Health. Plans are in place to share the data with other government agencies.

·Customs have an in-house Arrivals System which stores information on the Arrival of all flights and ships into Ireland. This system interfaces with all customs electronic systems (Clearance, ICS, Manifest, etc.) to update the status of declarations. The information on the Arrival of Ships is received from SafeSeasIreland, while the information on flights is received from the Airport Authorities. With this facility in place, the requirement for the operators of the flights or ships to send customs Arrival Notifications is waived.

·The manifest and arrival notifications are deemed to be the temporary storage declaration. Customs declarations that are lodged or written off are matched against the temporary storage declaration. As such, the system indicates goods under the temporary storage procedure and those that are released.

·ICS receives pre-arrival information in advance and interfaces with the arrival system. The status of the ENS is updated to “arrived” at the time of arrival, at which point the system performs a check on the declarant. If the declarant allows for the re-use of data by customs, the data is moved from ICS to the manifest system to be reused as presentation and temporary storage.

·The current system does not allow different information to be lodged by different parties, but Ireland intends to update the system pursuant to the UCC requirements, particularly as it pertains to temporary storage.

·Economic operator submits the required information to the issuing authority.

·The certificate data is sent directly to the customs clearance system from the issuing authority via the EU database. Only the status of the certificate is relevant to the clearance of the customs declaration.

·Web services and XML are used for data exchange.

Latvia

·The EU CSW-CVED is in production since 20.09.2015.

·Economic operator submits the required information to the issuing authority.

·The exchange of certificates data is performed via the Rural Support Service (AGRIM/AGREX) and Food and Veterinary Service (through TRACES). Data exchange between customs and Rural Support Service systems is established via a special channel. Customs receives the data regarding issued certificates (AGRIM/AGREX) which is validated during processing (submitting) the corresponding customs declarations. After the declaration is released, the information (endorsement of certificate) is sent back to the Rural Support Service.

·Quantity management for AGREX/AGRIM is managed automatically in the customs system. No quantity management is available for CED/CVED certificates as such, but customs system provides a summary of the affected declarations to customs officers for manual verification.

·SOAP web services are used with the Rural Support Service. REST Web services are used for data exchange with TRACES.

·Trader obligations are governed by national regulations.

·LV Customs Single Window solution for railway uses the SMGS consignment note (the SMGS system railway manifest) presented in every transit declaration as a transport document. LV railway companies use NCTS for transit procedures declaring both national and international movements.

Lithuania

·Customs has implemented a project in 2015 for the implementation of the Customs Single Window system with partners, such as the State Food and Veterinary Service, the Department of Cultural Heritage under the Ministry of Culture, the National Paying Agency under the Ministry of Agriculture and the State Enterprise Centre of Registers.

·Conformance testing for the Customs Single Window interface was completed in 2016.

·Legislation has come into force for issuing AGRIM and AGREX licenses which are issued only electronically.

·The Customs Department under the Ministry of Finance has been nominated as a lead authority to implement the Customs Single Window.

·The Economic operator submits the required license information directly to the issuing authority.

·An interface has been developed in Customs Single Window whereby customs authorities and anyone can search for any certificate/licence issued by project partners.

·Quantity management for AGREX/AGRIM is managed automatically and takes place in the information system of the National Payment Agency under the Ministry of Agriculture.

Luxembourg

·Currently, the national Customs Single Window called “Single Window for Logistics/SWL” project is undergoing the inception phase. The Customs Single Window for Logistics is not yet operational.

·The Customs Single Window initiative is coordinated by the Ministry of the Economy in close collaboration with all engaged governmental services, particularly with the Luxembourg Custom’s Administration.

·A multiannual project portfolio has been implemented since September 2015 (2015-2020). A Customs Single Window programme management team (Single Window for Logistics team) is in place.

·The Economic operator can apply for most certificates electronically but the licence is issued on paper if an original copy is required by the country of destination.

·The relationship with the regulatory agencies participating in the Customs Single Window is formalised.

·A data harmonisation project has been set up in order to build a LU Customs Single Window data model. GEFEG.FX tool to build our national Customs Single Window for Logistics data model. The certificate data will be mapped against one common data set based on the EU CDM to achieve the objective of data reuse.

Malta

·No Customs Single Window facility is yet in place.

·Plans to join the EU CSW-CERTEX project in the future.

·The Customs Single Window facility will be managed by customs authorities in collaboration with various involved stakeholders.

·All certificates are paper-based. Export licences will soon be issued electronically by the Commerce Department.

·Currently, economic operators submit the required information to the issuing authority.

Netherlands

·The Maritime Single Window (MSW) is being enhanced to all modes of transport into Single Window for Trade and Transport (SWTT).

·A EU CSW-CVED-like Single Window has been established where information from phytosanitary certificates is combined with declarations for free circulation. The Customs Single Window Phyto is managed by the Phytosanitary authority.

·Customs is the lead authority and its role is formalised in the Logistics Policy of the Netherlands Government, in a multi departmental steering group and other national agreements.

·Veterinary and phytosanitary certificates are issued only electronically. AGRIM and AGREX certificates are currently on paper, but will be available electronically in the near future.

·The required information for the Maritime Single Window (SWTT) is sent to the Customs Single Window and distributed to the competent authorities. The phytosanitary information is directly sent to the competent authority, which shares it with other authorities.

·Economic operators can access TRACES directly, or use the FFPS platform, which will automatically transfer the information to TRACES. The information delivered to TRACES is also stored at the national Food Feed and Product Safety Organisation.

·XML and EDIFACT messages are used to receive data.

·With regard to Data Integration and Harmonisation, a governmental forum on standardisation has chosen the WCO data model as the basis for all governmental authorities.

·Data fields for the bills of lading, airway bills, container type identification and container number have been harmonised.

·The use of EORI-numbers is harmonised between different authorities.

·Customs performs integrated risk assessments on goods and execute the coordination on controls and inspections.

Poland

·Currently, the national Customs Single Window project is in the elaboration phase. The relevant documentation (functional specifications, etc.) is being finalised.

·AGRIM-AGREX pilot project has been developed. The deadline for implementation depends on the progress of deployment of the new IT environment of the National Revenue Administration.

·No legal amendments have been implemented with regard to the national Customs Single Window.

·The National Revenue Administration is the national coordinator for the Customs Single Window project, but it does not have a formalised role. Cooperation agreements on the Customs Single Window are anticipated with other system stakeholders (government agencies).

·EU CSW-CVED for transit is fully operational. Communication between NCTS2 and EU CSW-CVED takes place automatically after receipt of IE015 message containing veterinary document: C640 /CVED-A/ or N853 /CVED-P.

Portugal

·Initial steps toward the process of developing and implementing a national Customs Single Window which is anticipated to be run by the customs administration.

·The automatic exchange of information between customs declaration and other certificates started with AGREX.

·The electronic AGREX licence allows the cross check and exchange of data between the SLE - External Licensing Service and customs export declaration (STADA – EXPORT). This connection includes quantity management.

·An integrated IT customs system for the fulfilment and treatment of declarative formalities associated with the arrival and departure of vessels and aircrafts to and from PT ports and airports, SDS (System for the Integrated Treatment of the Means of Transport and Goods) has been developed to incorporate data related to the entry and exit manifests.

Spain

·Fully operational system for exchanging certificate data. A one-stop shop to coordinate physical controls on goods is currently completing the pilot phase.

·A common repository is available to all parties involved for the required documentation.

·Two national regulations were modified, and seven agreements were signed to implement the Customs Single Window facility.

·Customs administration is the lead authority for the national Customs Single Window.

·Two alternatives are available. Traditional approach: traders could declare certificates in box 44 of the SAD. In this case, the certificate's data are retrieved from the issuing authority and automatically cross-checked with the customs declaration. Pre-SAD approach: the economic operator lodges a pre-customs declaration which is assigned a file number (MRN) in order to enable information exchange with involved authorities. The MRN is used to request certificates from the relevant competent authorities which issue the corresponding certificate and send it automatically to customs. The MRN is the key to match the SAD with the certificate. The advantage is that the certificate is directly applied to SAD upon receipt. Hence, the economic operator does not need to declare it in box 44.

·The pre-SAD approach allows the coordination of controls. The main advantage is that customs can apply risk analysis tools prior to the arrival of the goods, thus providing involved authorities with better information in advance. If any of the competent authorities involved needs to check the goods before issuing the certificate, they communicate it to the Customs Single Window to coordinate all necessary controls. MRN is again the key for the information exchange.

·A minimum data set has been established for the pre-SAD. The complete customs declaration is lodged according to Article 171 UCC.

Sweden

·The Customs Single Window scheme is fully operational and is managed by the customs administration. Legal/regulatory amendments were applied to existing legislation.

·The economic operator submits the declaration to customs which passes through from Customs Single Window facility to the competent authority.

·Customs receives licenses from the competent authority via EDI.

·Veterinary checks are performed separately.

·Confidentiality and data protection are ensured by applying strong authentication measures.

Source: Data provided by the Member States participating in the Customs 2020 Project Group

Annex 10: Single Window initiatives At international level

In recent years, the concept of the ‘single window’ has gained momentum at the international level. Various standardisation bodies and international organisations such as the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), its subsidiary, the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT), the World Customs Organisation (WCO) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) have promoted this concept and supported capacity-building efforts for its implementation through international standards and guidance documents. Over the past few decades, UNECE has developed a series of interlinked recommendations that represent best practices on trade facilitation, including a number of formal recommendations applicable to the implementation of the single window. As an example, the graph below references the UN’s approach for the creation of a single window.

Figure 16: Key steps in the creation of a single window

Source: UNECE/UN/CEFACT

In its most widely acknowledged international definition 142 , the single window is “a facility that allows parties involved in trade and transport to lodge standardised information and documents with a single-entry point to fulfil all import, export, and transit-related regulatory requirements” whereby trade data is only required to be reported once. With its emphasis on collaboration between authorities and better sharing of information, the single window concept offers a vision for most countries to support both trade facilitation and the enforcement of regulatory requirements. The elimination of procedural redundancies and reduction of clearance times in the fulfilment of regulatory formalities is viewed as a competitive advantage in global trade that contributes to well-positioned economies and ease of doing business.

The establishment of a single window has been proposed by the World Trade Organization (WTO) as one of the key elements to develop within the context of its Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). The WTO TFA that entered into force in 2017 includes a ‘best endeavour clause’ 143 committing the signatory parties to establish single windows. Countries around the world are now actively involved in digitalising their customs and other related procedures required for international trade to simplify and streamline processes for dealing with regulatory requirements. Some have implemented national single windows or have embarked on initiatives to develop single windows, while others are building on existing developments to provide key features of the single window or studying future implementation. Some initiatives to realise the single window concept pursued by EU’s international trading partners are summarised below.

The single window initiative in the United States dates back to the mid-1990s when a number of recommendations were formulated to harmonise data for an integrated government oversight of international trade. The initiative remained in the pipeline until 2014 when President Obama signed Executive Order 13659 144 , mandating completion of an electronic single window by December 2016. The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency fully implemented the initiative in January 2017. The Automated Commercial Environment/International Trade Data System (ACE/ITDS) systems provide one electronic interface through which the trade submits the required information for customs and different government agencies, known as partner government agencies (PGA). ACE is the primary electronic filing environment that connects the trade community with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and 47 PGAs of the federal government shown below.

Figure 17: U.S. Partner Government Agencies

Source: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

This interface ensures compliance with U.S. laws and regulations, while enhancing transparency and increasing predictability in the movement of goods. Efficiency for the trade results from the sharing of common data across PGAs. The U.S. single window aims to improve the competitiveness of the United States in the global economy through trade facilitation, and enhance PGA enforcement.

Similar developments were observed in Singapore where the Single Window for Trade (TradeNet) became operational in 1989, bringing together more than 35 border agencies. The TradeNet system began as an electronic data interchange (EDI) system that links multiple parties involved in external trade transactions to a single point of transaction for most trade formalities. TradeNet integrates import, export and transhipment documentation processing procedures, enabling customs and other competent authorities to monitor the movement of goods and enforce regulatory requirements across policy areas.

In China, some degree of single window has been in place since 2012, although each province has its own local version of the single window system with different functionalities and levels of maturity. Various pilots were launched in Shanghai and several coastal ports on a “single declaration, single inspection and single release” model but it was not until late 2017 that a standard single window platform became operational, centralising data for all ports of 31 provinces under the direction of the central government. The integrated platform is currently running in parallel with the local single window systems, allowing enterprises to submit data only once, which is then automatically passed to the relevant government authorities. This will rationalise the former ‘linear’ process of customs clearance and lead to a shift towards a more integrated and synchronised approach with ‘parallel’ enforcement of regulatory formalities, reducing administrative costs and the time needed for customs clearance.

The single window initiative of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) streamlines processes for the exchange of commercial import data between the Government of Canada and the import community to eliminate duplicate and redundant data requirements and simplify border processes. Besides the CBSA, nine government departments and agencies (PGA) representing 38 government programs participate in the single window initiative. A critical part of the CBSA Single Window Initiative is the Integrated Import Declaration (IID), an electronic message that the CBSA has developed to allow traders to submit both CBSA and applicable PGAs import data requirements. This means that the CBSA and PGAs collect required import data from a single declaration, instead of multiple submissions. Transmitted electronic data is shared among CBSA and regulating agencies for easy access, processing and monitoring. The use of the IID became mandatory for all applicable import transactions in Canada as of April 1, 2019. PGA licenses, permits, certificates and other data can be provided on an IID and validated by PGAs before the arrival of the goods. Related data that cannot be populated into the IID fields may be submitted as digital image through a Document Image Functionality.

Similarly, the Indian Single Window Interface for Facilitation of Trade (SWIFT) allows importers and exporters to lodge their clearance documents online at a single point. The necessary permits from non-customs regulatory agencies are obtained online without the trader having to approach participating government agencies (PGA) separately. Some of the main features of the SWIFT project are the integrated declaration, the integrated risk assessment and the online clearance platform. Starting in April 2016, traders electronically submit customs clearance information required by relevant PGAs through an integrated declaration at a single-entry point, i.e. the Customs Gateway (ICEGATE). The integrated declaration replaces the separate submissions of application forms required by different PGAs involved in the clearance process. When filing the integrated declaration, an automated routing feature enables the customs IT system to identify consignments that require clearance by the PGAs. SWIFT’s Integrated Risk Management feature allows all PGAs to integrate their risk criteria in the system and carry out risk-based inspection and testing based on selective targeting of consignments. These risk-based targeted controls would enable PGAs to focus on high-risk consignments, while generating a faster and more efficient customs clearance and control procedures. Finally, the system records and gathers clearance related decisions and approvals from relevant PGAs and delivers the results to the trader at a single point through an online clearance platform.

It should be noted that it is challenging to estimate the exact number of currently operating single window systems around the world due to the different models adopted, national laws and the extent of operations and functions performed. However, following the entry into force of the WTO TFA, 72 countries have provided transparency notifications 145 with regard to the operation of the single window. Moreover, China, Chinese Taipei, El Salvador, Brazil, Mexico and Saudi Arabia have shared their experience concerning the partial or full implementation of single window platforms in the WTO context. Other countries, like India, have indicated willingness to present their single window developments at the WTO TFA Committee meeting in February 2020. Likewise, Singapore and New Zealand have started bilateral negotiations to apply the once only submission principle in their custom procedures.

At the regional level, the single window is comprised of several national single windows, allowing countries to integrate relevant data into a single regional portal. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Single Window initiative in the Asia-Pacific region has played an important role in building the necessary political support and policy environment for single windows at the national level. This association is currently in the process of implementing a Government-to-Government (G2G) exchange of information between the national single windows of its member countries (some of which have been operational for many years) so that a single submission of information can be sufficient for all ASEAN members.

Figure 18: Single Window system development status in Asia and the Pacific 

Source: United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP)

Similarly, the African Alliance for e-Commerce (AACE) has steadily progressed on the strategy of implementing single window environments for efficient trading regimes in the African nations. Beneficial projects and initiatives have been evaluated over the recent years through continuous workshops in this field.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) countries are discussing the path forward for the implementation of the single window in the context of regional economic integration and the need for further facilitation of international trade. CBSA has also been eager to explore a Regional Single Window with the U.S. and Mexico.

In an effort to inform on the progress to date on Single Window environments and trade facilitation measures, the World Customs Organization (WCO) has created an online interactive map 146 for its members, known as the Reform and Modernization-Monitoring Activities and Projects (RAMMAP) and Single Window Interactive Map (SWIM). Devised as a structured database, this platform integrates several sources of information ranging from WCO surveys and websites of member administrations to publicly available information from international stakeholders, while acting as a hub for further performance monitoring activities.

Annex 11: Number of declarations covered by options 1, 2 and 6

Estimated number of declarations per year subject to regulatory requirements covered by option 1

Regulatory requirements covered

Estimated no of declarations / year (thousands)

Import requirements

CHED-PP

972

CHED-P*

655

CHED-D**

641

Catch import

417

Waste import

231

COI

135

CHED-A***

96

FLEGT

57

ODS import

13

Combined estimates for FGAS, Cultural goods import, Product safety

482

Total imports

3 699

Export requirements

Waste export

188

PIC

126

ODS export

72

Export licence cultural goods

20

Catch export

23

Total exports

429

Overall total

4 128

Annotation: *Based on figures for predecessor CVED-P;    
**Figures based on predecessor CED;
   
***Figures based on predecessor CVED-A.

Source: Declarations and supporting documents data from Member State customs authorities; Extrapolations based on Eurostat trade data.



Estimated number of declarations per year subject to regulatory requirements covered by option 2

Regulatory requirements covered

Estimated no of declarations / year (thousands)

Import requirements

CCFV import

625

AGRIM

244

CITES import

134

Precursors import authorisation

1

Additional import declarations

50

Total imports

1 054

Export requirements

CCFV export

814

Dual use export

595

CITES export

141

AGREX

72

Drugs precursors export

19

Total exports

1 641

Overall total

2 695

Annotation: †Combined estimated total of regulatory requirements for which data was unavailable, namely the Trade Surveillance Document. 

Source: Declarations and supporting documents data from Member State customs authorities; Extrapolations based on Eurostat trade data



Estimated number of declarations per year subject to regulatory requirements covered by option 6

Regulatory requirements covered

Estimated no of declarations / year (thousands)

Import requirements

CHED-PP

972

CHED-P*

655

CHED-D**

641

CCFV import

625

Catch import

417

COI

135

CHED-A***

96

FLEGT

57

ODS import

13

Combined estimates for cultural goods import and trade surveillance document

361

Total imports

3 971

Export requirements

CCFV export

814

ODS export

72

Catch export

23

Cultural goods export

20

Total exports

928

Overall total

4 899

Annotation: *Based on figures for predecessor CVED-P;    
**Figures based on predecessor CED;
   
***Figures based on predecessor CVED-A;
   
†Combined estimated total of regulatory requirements for which data was unavailable, namely cultural goods import and the trade surveillance document.

Source: Declarations and supporting documents data from Member State customs authorities; Extrapolations based on Eurostat trade data.

 


Annex 12: Analysis of the discarded policy options

Analysis of the impacts of policy options 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8(i)

Overview

Stakeholder views

Economic impacts

Social and environmental impacts

Category I: G2G options

Option 3

This option is similar to option 2, but it concerns national rather than EU regulatory requirements. Data from a limited number of Member States suggests these could cover dozens of regulations in each country across a wide range of policy areas.

National customs authorities have expressed largely negative views towards this policy option. This is due to its uncertain scope and the unfeasibility (or potentially huge expense) of making the necessary connections between a large number of electronic systems and EU CSW-CERTEX.

While the nature of the benefits would be similar to those described for option 1, these would be limited, since only goods subject to national requirements in one Member State, but dealing with customs in another, would be affected. The likely costs would be very high in light of the many connections needed.

If implemented, the social and environmental benefits would be similar in nature to those described for option 1. However, their scale would be limited because only a relatively small number of customs declarations is likely to be affected.

Option 4

This option would cover EU regulatory requirements for which third-country documents are required, such as the Certificate of Origin, VI 1 document for wine imports and the Kimberley Process Certification for diamond imports. While a number of examples were identified, the volume of electronic systems or customs declarations that would be affected is unclear.

Given the uncertain scope and difficulties of technical implementation, national customs authorities have considered this option a low priority. There are also doubts about whether it is legally feasible, since it is unlikely that third-country authorities could be obliged to make the necessary connections.

For the customs declarations subject to the regulatory requirements covered, the benefits would be of a similar nature to those described for option 1. Since this is uncertain, the scale of the benefits is unknown. The costs are also hard to define, though a considerable proportion would be incurred by third-country authorities.

If implemented, the social and environmental benefits would be similar in nature to those described for option 1. However, their scale is impossible to gauge due to the unknown scope of the regulatory requirements to be covered.

Category II: B2G options

Option 5

This option would set up an EU trader platform for dealing with the regulatory requirements covered under option 1.

Customs authorities and economic operators expressed negative views towards this option. This is mainly because, since economic operators would still need to deal with customs and partner competent authorities separately, clearance processes were seen as unlikely to be significantly improved.

This option would entail considerable costs to develop and implement, mainly for the Commission but also for national and partner competent authorities. There would also be potential costs for economic operators needing to adjust to the new system. Some economic benefits could be realised, mainly for economic operators who could deal with multiple non-customs requirements using a single platform. However, it did not seem likely that these benefits would be large enough to justify the investment required.

To a limited extent, this option could be expected to improve authorities’ ability to share information and thus reduce errors and improve enforcement / compliance. However, expectations of such benefits among stakeholders were limited.

Category III: Cross-cutting option

Option 8(i)

This option would extend EORI to partner competent authorities for registration, identification and validation purposes. This would imply the registration of additional businesses who are not registered with the customs authorities. EORI would become a common registration and identification number for customs and partner competent authorities involved in international trade.

Customs authorities and economic operators expressed largely favourable views towards opening the use of EORI to partner competent authorities. However, the partner DGs presented a diversity of cases where the replacement of current registration systems by EORI would be extremely complex. In addition, some of the registration requirements are so domain specific that customs authorities would not be equipped to administer efficiently.

This option would particularly benefit economic operators by providing a single registration mechanism for customs and non-customs formalities. Extending the EORI system to non-customs domains for registration and identification purposes would require additional businesses (including those based in third countries or involved in intra-community trade) to register for the system. This might come at a cost of increased complexity and thus limit the economic benefits that could be generated.

This option would provide incremental social and environmental benefits for any other option it would supplement. It would facilitate information sharing between customs and partner competent authorities and simplify the procedures to enforce regulatory requirements across policy domains.

Annex 13: Comparison of economic impacts for all option packages

The following three tables summarise the comparison of the direct economic impacts for the different packages of options. These contain the information needed to compare the options in terms of their likely direct economic impacts compared to the continuation of the baseline scenario. More precisely:

·Packaging: the options are packaged as described in section 7, meaning that the impacts shown represent the sum of those for the options included in each package.

·Three timeframes are shown in the tables:

oTotal costs and benefits for years 1-7: presents the sum of impacts to be expected for years 1-7, during which one-off implementation costs would be incurred and economic benefits would be phased in for all packages comprised of combinations of options 1, 2, 6 and 8(ii). Since packages containing option 7 will not realise any benefits during years 1-7, only costs are shown for these.

oTotal costs and benefits for years 8-12: presents the sum of the impacts to be expected for years 8-12. During this time, the packages comprised of combinations of options 1, 2, 6 and 8(ii) would be fully operational. The figures thus show the total impacts for the first 5 years of full operation. The packages containing option 7 would be phased in during this time, meaning the total of costs incurred and gradually increasing benefits are shown.

oAnnual costs and benefits during full operation: for all packages of options, the table shows the recurrent costs and full direct economic benefit that would be expected each year. This would be year 8 onwards for the packages comprised combinations of options 1, 2, 6 and 8(ii), and year 13 onwards for the packages containing option 7.

·Net impact: for all three timeframes, the ‘net impact’ rows show the sum of the costs and benefits. The degree of uncertainty in expected impacts is taken into account by using high and low ranges for each package of options. As shown, the net impact varies significantly but is positive for all packages except those containing option 7. These packages show negative net impacts due to the large implementation and recurrent costs

·EUR benefit per EUR spent: to help illustrate differences in the expected value for money of the option packages, the last rows show the benefit of each EUR spent. Values greater than one depict net benefits, while values less than one depict net negative impacts (since EUR 1 achieves less than EUR 1 in benefit).

Table 20: Comparison of the total benefits and costs for years 1-7 147

 

Total costs and benefits for years 1-7

Packages of options for G2G collaboration only

Packages of options for G2G and B2G cooperation

1

1+2

1+8(ii)

1+2+8(ii)

1+6

1+2+6

1+6+8(ii)

1+2+6+8(ii)

1+7

1+2(i)+7

1+7+8(ii)

1+2(i)+7+8(ii)

Costs
(€m, low and high ranges except for EC costs)

EC

28.7

63.7

29.7

64.7

63.7

98.7

64.7

99.7

4 028.7

4 063.7

4 029.7

4 064.7

MS authorities

14.4

56.4

15.4

57.4

63.4

105.4

64.4

106.4

4 000.0

4 084.0

4 001.0

4 085.0

28.7

112.7

29.7

113.7

126.7

210.7

127.7

211.7

9 333.3

9 417.3

9 334.4

9 418.4

EOs

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0