New Union Customs Code (1/4) – mandatory use of the Binding Tariff Information (BTI’s)

As from the 1st of May 2016, the new Union Customs Code (UCC) (Regulation 952/2013), the Delegated Regulation (2015/2446) and the Commission Implementing Regulation (2015/2447) have entered into force. This new European customs legislation entails some important changes. Kneppelhout & Korthals lawyers will list and detail some of these changes.

Binding Tariff Information (BTI)

When a party does not know which commodity code to use for customs purposes, he can request information from the customs authorities concerning the classification of goods in the Combined Nomenclature. Based on the classification rules, the customs authorities will issue a Binding Tariff Information (BTI). A BTI provides legal certainty to the holder of the BTIW in respect of the classification. Apart from that BTI’s in general significantly contribute to uniformity. A correct classification in the CN can also be important in respect of other duties that apply upon importation such as antidumping duties.

Mandatory use of the BTI’s

By virtue of the Community Customs Code (Regulation 2913/92) the holder of a BTI to mention this BTI was not obliged to mention his BTI in his customs declaration. This has changed. As of the 1st of May 2016, the use of a BTI is mandatory. When a customs declaration is submitted for goods for which a BTI has been issued, it is obliged to mention the BTI and include the BTI-number in the subject declaration. This applies not only to new BTI’s, issued as of 1st of May 2016, but also applies to existing BTI’s issued before the 1st of May 2016. A BTI binds the BTI-holder as well as the customs authorities.

Requests to withdrawal are not possible anymore

As of the 1st of May 2016, it is no longer possible to ask customs to withdraw a BTI the holder no longer uses. Since a holder of a BTI is now obliged to use a BTI, a point of special attention is to file a complaint within 6 weeks after the BTI is issued, when the holder of the BTI does not agree with the classification by the customs authority. It is of key importance to object in time and ask customs to reconsider the classification decision, otherwise the the BTI is binding. In objection, and possibly in appeal with the customs court, the holder can challenge the classification in the BTI. For the same reason, we advise market players to prepare BTI applications with due care and attention. Careful research is needed. Do After all, BTI’s are now even more ‘binding’ than before.

Validity

As from the 1st of May 2016, the validity period of BTI’s is only three years instead of six years. BTI’s issued before this date, are still valid for the period and to the date mentioned in the BTI.

Which actions should you take?

If you have a BTI for goods for which you submit customs declarations (or let a customs agent submit), make sure the BTI-number is mentioned in the declaration. Again, this does not only apply to BTI’s issued under the new UCC, but also for BTI’s already issued before the 1st of May 2016. The same advise applies to customs agents. Customs agents need to make sure that they are aware of any BTI’s their  customers may have. We advise customs forwarders to request a copy of the relevant BTI(’s). If you have any questions or if you would like more information, please do not hesitate to contact one of our customs specialists.

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