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Inception date: 01 May 2016 | Removal date: open ended

Import-related non-tariff measure, nes

On 16 March 2009 the European Council adopted a resolution (2009/C 71/01)collectively endorsing the development of a "EU customs action plan to combat IPR infringements for the years 2009 to 2012 set out in the Annex" (of the said resolution.) In that Annex, further EC action was motivated in the following terms: 
"Nevertheless, it was recognised that the increasing diversity of products seized and new trends, such as the importation of small consignments resulting from Internet sales, indicated that further measures were required and that there was no room for complacency. The need to respond to this growing problem was underlined as the trade in counterfeit goods represented a real threat to each citizen and society as a whole. 
The Commission considered that the efforts undertaken by the customs authorities to protect the economic interests and the health and safety of citizens must continue and a further action plan was recommended. Such a plan should cover the main areas contained in the previous plan, namely legislation, operational performance, industry cooperation, international cooperation, and communication. The new plan should take into account relevant developments in the customs area, such as the modernised Community Customs Code, as well as external factors, such as the increase in sales over the Internet. In particular, the new EU Action Plan should focus on:

  • improving and where necessary modifying, existing IPR legislation,
  • improving cooperation with right holders,
  • strengthening operational cooperation between customs in the EU and with third countries,
  • developing further international cooperation on IPR enforcement,
  • improving publicity and awareness, and
  • responding to the problem of Internet sales and delivering ad hoc training to customs officers.

The new plan should also take into account other new trends and forms employed in the distribution of counterfeit goods dangerous to society, resulting from the globalisation of world trade, and growing involvement of organised crime."
In an accompanying Appendix it was suggested that the "possible establishment of an infringement in cases where fake goods are found in transit" should be considered. Such a matter has already been the subject of a trade dispute between the EC and two other countries. Support was also articulated for the successful conclusion of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).
In terms of the GTA's amber assessment of this measure, it should be stressed that the protection of intellectual property rights per se was not a source of concern. The manner in which any new regime would be implemented, in particular the potential for misapplication of any new rules plus any diminution in the rights of importers into the EC, accounts for the assessment reported here.
On 28 July 2015, the European Commission announced a modernisation of the customs procedures within the European Union.
The amendments will include the following points:

  • "Simplifications of the customs procedure inward processing which allows the processing of non-Union goods without payment of import duty and other charges to support creation of added value in the EU;
  • Clearer rules to ensure equal treatment of economic operators in the EU;
  • Wide-ranging provisions which will allow customs decisions and authorisations to be valid across the EU in the future;
  • Establishing common data requirements as the basis for new IT systems linking Member States' customs administrations to ensure a seamless exchange of information" (cf. Sources)

The Member States will have until 1 May 2016 to enforce the new regulations.



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