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The EU Single Window For Customs Is Coming! How Can It Help?

The EU Single Window for Customs has the potential to cut red tape for businesses - drastically. Find out how and what we think about it.

Did you miss it? On the EU's single window for customs, EU legislators have reached a tentative agreement. The EU and member states will need to invest in this project, which is estimated to take several years to implement. This agreement in principle is significant, despite the fact that it will take time to materialise. The EU just took two years to get here, which isn't a long time. When the European Commission suggested a single-window environment for customs on October 29, 2020, the Union Customs Code was still in effect.

Why create a single Customs window? It aims to reduce the time it takes to clear customs and the likelihood of fraud are the primary objectives of this project. Red tape and administrative burden minimization must be the primary goal for businesses.

What will businesses gain from this? Once the system is fully established, businesses will no longer be required to submit documents to several agencies via various websites. Thanks to the single window environment, customs and other authorities will be able to immediately verify that the items in issue meet EU regulations and that all relevant formalities have been performed. Customs has a lot to keep an eye on. For example, health and safety, the environment, agriculture, fisheries, cultural heritage, and market monitoring are all examples of non-customs regulations that must be enforced at EU external borders. This involves additional paperwork on top of customs declarations and impacts the transportation of hundreds of millions of tonnes of commodities every year. One system will be able to handle the data requirements of 60 non-custom laws. Traders' electronic data will be accessible and exchanged by EU member states involved in goods clearance at the EU's external borders. Automation is the new king!

Automation has made manual intervention unnecessary! Any goods entering or exiting the EU should have their non-customs formalities checked by the customs single window. As a result, non-custom formalities will no longer be subject to manual document controls. What's the plan here? Implementing this Customs Single Window will be done by interfacing with current national-level import, export, and transit systems. In order to get the most out of the single window, the member states want to put money into streamlining their operations and upgrading their IT infrastructure. Is it possible that there are 27 national customs windows instead of just One? Using a national single window, member states will allow enterprises to input information about the items they are importing into or exporting from the European Union (EU). The EU CSW-CERTEX system will connect these national single-window settings to the EU databases that manage non-customs formalities, allowing all relevant authorities to access pertinent data and work more effectively on border checks in the future. Let's not waste any more time. With the new rules, cross-border trade is likely to improve and administrative costs for traders would be reduced, especially by saving time and simplifying clearance. Steps to take next The provisional agreement must be adopted by the EU Council and the European Parliament before the full adoption procedure can begin. Takeaway The EU's decision to establish a Single European Customs Window is a major step forward for global trade. It can lead to a more efficient and coordinated approach to commodities clearing if done correctly. As a result, the border will be cleared more quickly and with less friction. In addition, there will be less red tape as a result.


There are only two things we need to be aware of: Delays and Dilutions. Businesses must keep a close eye on this trade facilitation in order to receive it as quickly as feasible. A thorough examination is required. In which case, what's not to like about it?

About the author

Arne Mielken has been following EU Customs Policy since 2005. He is Policy Director of a European trade association and represents it at the EU Commission's Trade Contact Group, a prime forum for Customs Administration - Business Exchange. He speaks regularly about customs and global trade matters at conferences and seminars as a thought leader. He is Managing Director of the support & consultancy, training, and brokerage firm Customs Manager Ltd.


A European Single Window from the EU Commission

Press Release

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