Nestor Nestor Diculescu Kingston Petersen
  October 10, 2006 - Romania

The New Romanian Customs Code Bill
  by Daniela Gramaticescu, Associate Lawyer Madalina Tilinca, Associate Lawyer

This article was first published in Invest Romania, October 2006 issue. 1 Common customs policy The enlargement of the European Union automatically triggered the enlargement of the scope and applicability of the common commercial policy promoted by the member states towards the new member states. A major element of this enlargement materialized into the abolishment of customs duties from the trade conducted between member states and the unification at the European level of the customs duties for goods imported from the non-member states. The implementation of the common commercial policy represented as well the application of the common customs tariff, of all commercial agreements of the European Union and, implicitly, of the actions to be taken for the protection of trade. This unification targets a precise goal – dismantling barriers and freeing trade as well as fostering the economy of the participating countries by the increase in the export-derived revenues, expanding the diversity of products and services offered to consumers also by cutting off their prices as a result of import-generated competition. 2 New bill on the Romanian Customs Code Within the same process of standardizing the commercial policy and harmonizing the internal legislation with “l’acquis communautaire”, the Parliament of Romania has recently prepared a new bill on the Customs Code, an accurate materialization of the Community Customs Code, as such was amended from its enactment up to date. This law is to be implemented uniformly on the entire Romanian customs territory to all exchanges of goods and commodities between Romania and other countries, either member or non-member states of the European Union. 3 Control in the Romanian customs system The Code regulates the institutional system of customs authority, being noted the provision that the National Customs Authority (Romanian: ,,ANV”) is organized and operates under the subordination of the Ministry of Public Finance within the National Fiscal Administration Agency (Romanian: ,,ANAF”). 4 New legal institutions Several new legal institutions are intended to be implemented through the passing of the new Romanian Customs Code. There are mentioned herein below some of the most leading such institutions. (i) Participants in the legal relationship under the customs law A newly introduced concept is that of authorized trader. Therefore, companies holding no disputed customs records, having exhibited an exemplary customs conduct throughout a definite period of time, may be granted a privileged status and, based on this qualification, they may enjoy certain customs control incentives and/or customs procedures, in general. (ii) Preferential origin of goods Unlike the old Code, the new one clearly distinguishes between the non-preferential and the preferential origin of goods, such distinction being noteworthy in consideration of the methods to establish the origin and the terms to be met for receiving the preferential treatment. (iii) Customs procedures The new Romanian Customs Code distinguishes between suspensive customs procedures (respecting foreign goods for transit, customs warehousing, inward processing procedure as a suspension system, procedure for processing under customs control, temporary admission) and economic customs procedures whose employment is contingent upon the issuance of an authorization by the customs authority Additionally, new customs destinations have been introduced such as free warehouses, that is premises located on the Romanian customs territory, but separated from the remaining territory through the applicable special customs procedures similar to the ones extant in the free zones (foreign goods are not considered to be located on the Romanian customs territory as long as they are neither released for free circulation, nor placed under a customs procedure). Should such premises offer the conditions and facilities required for a safe warehousing of goods, the free warehouse may be established solely upon approval by the Customs Authority. (iv) Customs declarations Among the significant amendments to customs declarations, it is worthwhile mentioning the oral declaration of goods, if the customs value thereof is not in excess of a given ceiling; the reduction of period set for the declaration of goods presented at the customs office; the possibility to amend the customs declarations after the release was issued etc. In addition, there have been taken over from the Community Customs Code and included in the new bill the provisions concerning the possibility to represent persons, either directly or indirectly, in their relationships with the customs authority for the preparation and fulfillment of customs formalities. 5 Mandatory increase in the customs control Given our location at the borders of the European Union, the requirements to facilitate trade as well as to protect the citizens of the Community shall considerably intensify their importance. Consequently, the very first day after the accession, the Romanian Customs Authority shall undertake the heavy task to accomplish the border control in strict compliance with the Community regulations and standards. From this day forward, Romanian borders shall become European Union borders and the protection of interests of both Romanian traders and citizens shall stand for the protection of interests manifested by traders and citizens all over the European Union.

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