In the previous report of October 2019 I wrote about the impact of a policy change from customs on the situation regarding the definition of exporter. Half way through November, customs announced, under pressure from the industry, that the transition period would be extended to April 1st 2020.
Customs Business Consultation
The trade association EvoFenedex has had several meetings in cooperation with the business community and customs to formulate a workable policy. The final interview would have been last Thursday, but there is no room to make adjustments in this regard. The flexible policy of the Netherlands in the recent period is simply no longer tolerated by the EU.
Neighboring countries are already fairly straightforward in this respect and unfortunately with 17 million inhabitants, the Netherlands has a little too less influence. But forces from the industry may now be combined with foreign employers’ organizations. One option could be to lodge an objection and possibly go as far as the European Court of Justice, one thing is certain a ruling is not received before April 1st 2020.
Why only with export
In the past few weeks I have been asked several times why this policy is being followed on the export side, and why not on import. There are two answers to that question.
In the first instance, the importer has no definition in the current customs legislation. There is nothing more or less mentioned in the delegated regulation that the importer must have an EORI number. Whether this number is linked to a company within or outside the EU is irrelevant.
The exporter is mentioned by name in Article 1, paragraph 19, delegated regulation, a clear description and what it must meet is included therein. The European Parliament now strictly adheres Dutch customs to this legislation. Now I automatically come to the second point, why with export?
The basis is that legislation, such as strategic goods and precursors, can be prosecuted by the government for export violations. To address a legal person that is not established in the EU appears to be too challenging.
Policy and impact
The policy from a customs point of view therefore remains the same, this means that April 1st is currently being used as the deadline. The industry in general can no longer wait for consultations between customs, EvoFenedex and the business community and will therefore do well to consult with customers and make preparations.
Of course, the logistics process may not be damaged by this. There are different situations where this new policy can have an impact. Consider, for example, an exporter whom always supplies EXW, or if a foreign company does not want to open a branch within the European Union, but simply allows itself to be fiscally represented for tax purposes. In both situations, consultation with a customs agent is advisable.
In the event that the exporter delivers EXW, it is advisable to change the Incoterm to FCA and to arrange a customs export document. This way you are then more in control of 0% VAT proof. You can see this as an extra service to your customer outside the European Union, so include these costs in your quotes. Please note that a lot of legislation can come your way, your customs agent can also advise on this.
Another persistent problem is the case where the current exporter is established outside the EU and may also be represented for tax purposes. In that case, your customs agent or forwarder can also act as an exporter by law, the question is whether they will take that responsibility and under which conditions.
Rapid Logistics approach
Rapid Logistics has been able to provide export declarations for exporters established within the EU for several years. The only thing that needs to be signed is the standard contract for direct representation. This is an authorization to allow Rapid to act as a customs representative.
For customers who have not established themselves in the EU, Rapid Logistics can offer a customized solution. If you are interested in such a solution, feel free to contact Rapid, via your own account manager or directly through me. Vincent ten Veen – firstname.lastname@example.org.