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Document 62007CJ0143

Summary of the Judgment

Judgment of the Court (Fourth Chamber) of 24 April 2008.
AOB Reuter & Co. v Hauptzollamt Hamburg-Jonas.
Reference for a preliminary ruling: Finanzgericht Hamburg - Germany.
Agriculture - Regulation (EEC) No 3665/87 - Article 11 - System of export refunds on agricultural products - Condition for the grant of the refund - Refund paid to the exporter after submission of documents forged by its contracting partner - Goods not exported - Conditions for the application of sanctions.
Case C-143/07.



Agriculture – Common organisation of the markets – Export refunds

(Commission Regulation No 3665/87, Art. 11(1))


Article 11(1) of Regulation No 3665/87 laying down common detailed rules for the application of the system of export refunds on agricultural products, as amended by Regulation No 2945/94, must be interpreted as meaning that the sanction for which it provides is applicable against an exporter who has requested an export refund for goods, where those goods, as a result of fraudulent conduct on the part of the exporter’s contracting partner, were not exported.

Should it prove to be the case that export of the goods on which a refund was granted did not take place, it is obvious that the exporter has requested a refund in excess of that applicable, since, in the absence of actual exportation, no refund is due.

In addition, it is not possible to add a new exception, based in particular on the absence of fault on the part of the exporter, to the exhaustive list contained in that provision. The fault or error of a contracting partner is an ordinary commercial risk and cannot be considered to be unforeseeable in the context of commercial transactions. The exporter is fully at liberty to select his trading partners and it is up to him to take the appropriate precautions, either by including the necessary clauses in the contracts which he concludes with them or by effecting appropriate insurance.

(see paras 25, 36-37, operative part)