Although traders often complain about the European Commission's bureaucratic legislation, it is hard not to see Brussels' consistent drive to digitalise the supply chain. The next stage of such efforts is related to the planned thorough reform of the Customs Union, which will consequently facilitate the flow of goods within the European Union.
In September this year, the legislative process will start in the Council of the EU. If one were to try to summarise what the planned reform is about in one sentence, it would have to be: simplification of procedures through the rapid exchange of data in the system.
What changes are planned? The whole change is based on digital transformation and the reduction of burdensome customs procedures that delay the delivery of products from the producer and distributor to the recipient. The customs system is to be less controlling and more monitoring of the flow of goods, while being equipped with tools and resources to stop unwanted imports. At the heart of the new system is to be the EU Customs Office, a decentralised EU agency that will oversee an EU customs data centre.
Details are not yet known, but it is known, for example, that companies will only be able to log on to one portal when submitting customs information and will only be able to submit goods data once for multiple shipments. A ‘Trust & Check’ programme will also be implemented, allowing some traders to market their goods without active customs intervention. We will have to wait a little longer for the new system to come into force, as the EU Customs Data Centre will be available for traders to use from January 2032 and mandatory participation in the digital exchange of information will start six years later.