ICC Document & publication

ICC comments on the duty relief systems under the EU Customs Code

At a time when the European Union is considering other simplifications to its Customs Code, this paper identifies a need for a radical reassessment of the EU duty relief environment, and recommends an alternative solution.

Mobility and globalization have led to an increase of cross-border transactions of goods and services. It is imperative for the smooth operation of such trade that customs duty relief programmes are effective and easy to access, but throughout the world this is rarely the case.

The need for change

ICC believes that even the largest organizations sometimes decline to adopt available programmes, simply because the administrative burden is too onerous. This may be because the administrative cost outweighs the benefit, or because the degree of complexity takes to unacceptable levels the risk of non-compliance with legal requirements.


ICC is convinced that widespread adoption of a simplified duty relief structure such as is recommended in this statement will deliver the following significant benefits to the EU:

  • reduced cost of policing a variety of complex programmes;
  • more cost-effective revenue collection;
  • better risk comparisons based on common procedures adopted by all users of the relief;
  • secure, effective inland controls, predicated on accurately targeted risk analysis;
  • more efficient and correct application of simplified regulations, thereby ensuring that any differential treatment of traders is based on objective criteria;
  • more predictable and faster movement of goods;
  • increased trade, increased revenue, and improved economic performance, and – faster, more efficient and predictable border procedures encouraging increased foreign direct investment;
  • easier integration of the Customs Administrations and importers of the 2004 and future Accession countries.
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