Customs and Trade –Newsletter March 2012

Welcome to March 2012 edition of the IEA Customs & Trade Newsletter


In this edition we wish to update you on;


  1. Jail Penalty for Wrong Declarations
  2. AEO reaches 10,000 across EU
  3. Waste exporting to China –regulations must be observed
  4. The MCC has been renamed the Union Customs Code , but also some unexpected changes have also been included
  5. REACH –substance evaluation commenced 29th Feb 2012
  6.  EU Free Trade Agreements –Georgia , Moldova & Armenia –Consultation
  7. EU Free Trade Agreement with Kazakhstan


I hope you find this newsletter valuable to you in your day to day business, and that it enables you to effectively manage your supply chain and meet your companies’ international trade compliance requirements. Please note we are in the process of setting up the IEA Supply Chain Council, if you are interested in joining the Council please let me know.

If you have any queries on the content, please give me a call, or send me an e-mail;



John Whelan

Chief Executive

Irish Exporters Association



1. Jail Penalty for Wrong Declarations

Following the recent high profile Revenue court case on illegal declaration of apples versus garlic, there appears to be some confusion on the details of the case which caused a custodial sentence of 6 years to be imposed.  This would appear to have been a straight forward smuggling case where Revenue (Customs) brought charges under Section 186 of the customs Consolidation Act, 1876. The details of Section 186 are outlined below. Two sentences of 5 years each were imposed, the second mitigated to 1 year, giving a total of 6 years with all to run concurrent.

This information might be useful to you in case the issue comes up at any stage.



Neri Spa of Livorno, Italy has become the 10,000th Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) by signing up to an EU-wide customs scheme that makes international trading faster and safer at customs checks on the EU borders.  In the EU, only 1 in every 10 AEO applications has been rejected.

Total number of Irish applications:          

In March Total to date                                                                  103 

Of Which;

Applications accepted                                                                    93

Withdrawals:                                                                                  7

Rejections:                                                                                     0

Certified:                                                                                       78

Valid:                                                                                            74

Currently suspended                                                                        2*

Revoked                                                                                          2*


Algirdas Ĺ emeta, Commissioner for Taxation, Customs, Anti-fraud and Audit, said:

"I welcome the 10,000th Authorised Economic Operator. This impressive number is an indication of the success of the AEO concept after only three years in existence. It shows that ensuring the security of the supply chain can go hand in hand with facilitating trade for business." 

Since 2008 European companies have had the possibility to apply for an AEO status to be able to benefit from customs simplifications and to be in a more favourable position to comply with the new EU security requirements. The number of companies that have signed up in the EU has grown steadily over the past 3 years. The EU wants its major trade partners across the globe to recognise the AEO status to facilitate and protect international trade even more in the future.

Switzerland, Norway, Japan and USA mutually recognise the EU's AEO label.



3.Waste Exporting To China –Regulations must be observed

Scrap and waste trade has recovered significantly following the global economic turmoil of recent years. However, there have also been regulatory changes which exporters and shipping companies need to be aware of.

Scrap Metals used to reside under the broad terminology of waste materials for export, however  recent EU legislation isolates specific materials, including ferrous and non ferrous metals, as a ‘product’ as opposed ‘waste’, specifically where these substances can be recycled and supplied as raw materials to industry. As a consequence, article 6 of the European Parliament and Council Directive 2008/98/EC becomes operational. Aluminum iron and steel scrap, meeting specific criteria regarding recovery operations and purity as defined in Council Regulation No 333/2011, can be defined as a ‘product’, which may relieve certain industry requirements under Annex IV of the Waste Shipment Regulation (EC) No 1013/2006, the provisions of which should be carefully checked. Each consignment will still require a statement of conformity.

Additional to national or regional legislation, the Basel Convention, agreed and ratified to regulate the appropriate trade in waste, defines how such shipments are to be treated. Under the Convention, waste is defined as ‘substances or objects which are disposed of or are intended to be disposed of or are required to be disposed of by the provisions of national law.

China introduced and implemented specific requirements relative to the importation of solid waste into Mainland China in August 2011. The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), is the responsible governmental body in China for the management and regulatory inspection of imported scrap materials, including scrap metal and solid waste. According to the Law on Import and Export Commodities Inspection, and Law on Prevention on Pollution and Solid Waste, it is compulsory for all imported scrap shipments to be inspected by the Chinese Inspection and Quarantine Authorities (CIQ).

This latest announcement -the ‘Regulation of Managing Importation of Solid Waste’-prohibits both the transshipment of waste via Chinese Ports plus ‘to order’ bills of lading, under articles 5 and 8 respectively. The regulation equally articulates specific requirements that must be in place (including valid import licences) specifying also that the ultimate importing company’s registration certificates be produced. This certificate must clearly identify that the import of solid waste is for use as a raw material following recycling. A pre-shipment inspection certificate under article 25 of the regulation is essential. (CCIC PSI certificate:

Thus, it is important for all organizations involved in the export and shipment of scrap metals or solid waste to understand national legislation relating to these movements, as well as the laws of the country for which the materials are destined. Specific attention to product conformity, description and type, and suitable audit trails of documentation, licenses and registration certificates are necessary to avoid expensive time, effort, and the potential of fines or imprisonment. In a global environment with sensitized media publicity surrounding issues of the environment and sustainability, companies can ill afford to draw attention to themselves via inappropriate activities even through ignorance. Conversely, there are opportunities to exploit opportunities for well appraised media for recycling and enhancing sustainability for materials that re-enter the production cycle in the form of raw materials to industry.



4.The MCC has been renamed the Union Customs Code , but also some unexpected changes have also been included

The Modernised Customs Code (MCC) was adopted in June 2008 (Regulation (EC) No. 450/2008). It became clear last year that the MCC needs to be amended to take account of:


a)      The need to align the comitology rules (i.e. how the implementing legislation is to be adopted) with the changes brought about by the Lisbon Treaty; and

b)      To address certain issues that have arisen in the discussions that took place on the MCC Implementing Provisions.


The Commission published the text of the recast MCC, now known as the Union Customs Code (UCC) on 20th February 2012  - Recast MCC/Union Customs Code. It has also been placed on the Revenue website. The changes to the UCC, when compared to the original MCC, are highlighted.



                Next Steps


The EU Council, the Commission and the European Parliament will now consider the UCC, the content of which will be discussed in detail in the coming months. It is of vital importance that export and business interests feed into this process any issues that they wish to raise in relation to the content of the UCC.


Member States have been requested by the Commission to submit their written observations on the UCC to it by the 13th April. Those written responses will then form the basis for discussions on the UCC, which will take place in the Customs Union Group.


It is expected that those discussions will commence in May/June of this year. It is also anticipated that those discussions will continue for the remainder of 2012, with a view to their being concluded under the Irish Presidency in the first half of 2013.



                Main change between MCC and UCC


The most significant issue with the UCC, when compared to the MCC, is the comitology arrangements proposed by the Commission. In essence, the Commission wants a situation where implementing provisions are decided by the Commission to the greatest extent possible i.e. the UCC confers delegating powers to the Commission. This will be a significant change from the present situation where most implementing provisions require a qualified majority agreement from the Member States. The change needs to be carefully considered and much of the debate in the Council (including the CUG) on the UCC is likely to revolve around how much power is delegated to the Commission



                Views of Trade/Feedback process


Customs Division would greatly appreciate any comments that trade/business wish to make on the proposals in the UCC. All comments can be returned, via email, to




5. REACH –substance evaluation commenced 29th Feb 2012


We would like to inform you that the process of substance evaluation under REACH has begun, with the publication of the first Community Rolling Action Plan (CoRAP) by ECHA on February 29th. 

Substance evaluation is the process whereby substances listed in the CoRAP are evaluated by Member States to clarify an initial concern for those substances. At the end of the evaluation process (which takes up to 12 months), further information may be requested from the registrants of the substances when additional data is considered necessary to clarify the suspected risk. Following that, risk management measures may be recommended in order to control the risks to human health and/or the environment.


The first CoRAP addresses 90 substances and these will be evaluated in 2012, 2013 and 2014 (the CoRAP will be updated annually, starting in 2013). Ireland will evaluate 1 substance in 2012, 4-methylanisole, and this work will be undertaken by the Health and Safety Authority. ECHA has produced a fact sheet and a series of Q&As on this process. These, which are available on ECHA's website at the following link, should answer any questions that companies may have.



However, if any company has further questions or concerns on this, they are welcome to contact  the HSA Chemicals Helpdesk by email or by calling 1890 289 389.



 6. EU Free Trade Agreements –Georgia , Moldova & Armenia –Consultation

The European Commission has opened negotiations with Georgia, Moldova & Armenia for a deep and comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, and has asked for input from Ireland as well as all other member states.

The inputs can be submitted by way of filling out the questionnaire   at DG Trade website;

The closing date for filling out the questionnaire is 24th April 2012.

You may wish to advise me ( ) at the IEA and we can co-ordinate the inputs from Ireland with the Dept of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation.




7. EU Free Trade Agreement with Kazakhstan

The EU has also opened negotiations with Kazakhstan for an enhanced partnership and cooperation agreement. Again the means of putting your views to the EU is by means of a questionnaire to be found on the DG Trade website, link

 The close date for submissions is 24th April 2012



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