In order to guarantee the safety of the logistics chains as much as possible, the Dutch government is placing increasing emphasis on the enforcement and monitoring of legal requirements and measures in the field of safety. This is done, for example, by means of monitoring and horizontal monitoring of the logistics chain. Horizontal supervision means, on the one hand, broadening the scope for chain partners and, on the other hand, making demands on the chain partners. As of 1 July 2017, the requirements for customs representatives in the Netherlands will be tightened.
Article 18(3) of the Union Customs Code (UCC) – or the Customs Code of the Union (DWU) – allows EU Member States to determine for themselves the conditions to be met by a customs representative who wishes to act as a direct and/or indirect representative. In the Netherlands this has been implemented by means of Article 1:10 of the General Customs Act.
The Netherlands made use of this opening and complemented the DWU. The Dutch amendment to the Union Customs Code was developed by Customs in close cooperation with FENEX. Subsequently, consultants and logistics service providers were consulted. This amendment is intended for both direct and indirect tax representatives.
The aim of the measure is to improve the quality of declarations and increase transparency. The criteria have been further elaborated, more clearly defined and have become much easier to understand.
In concrete terms, as of 1 July 2017, all customs agents and representatives will have to meet more detailed AEO (-C) criteria. This applies to customs agents as well as (in)direct representatives and applies to import and export.
In parallel, a re-assessment process will start on 1 July and must be completed before 1 May 2019.
For companies that are now licensed as customs agents, Customs will check whether the agents meet the stricter criteria and assess whether they are eligible for a renewed AEO-C certificate. Following a positive re-assessment, the existing authorisations will be replaced by an authorisation for a customs representative.
Operators who do not have a customs agent authorisation and wish to continue to act as customs representative can apply for an authorisation as customs representative if they meet the renewed AEO criteria. Upon receipt of the application, Customs will assess the application and decide whether or not to grant the authorisation.
In ‘Customs Insight, no. 2 2017’, Van Schijndel recommends that companies should seriously ask themselves whether applying for a permit is worthwhile. Van Schijndel: “If you hardly ever submit declarations as a representative, it may be the time to decide to not apply for an authorisation certificate or to withdraw your authorisation. You can choose to submit declarations in your own name and for your own account from now on.
Fortunately, the re-assessment process runs parallel to the re-assessment of existing AEO certificates. As of 1 January, all Dutch customs representatives and agents have been informed of these changes.
From the 2nd half of 2017, direct and indirect representatives in the new AGS system will only be able to lodge declarations if they are authorised as customs agents or customs representatives.
In the context of increasing the safety of logistics chains, the question is whether the AEO-S (AEO Security) certificates will also be included in the reassessment of AEO certificates. The question also arises as to whether the mandatory sanction list and export control will be further scrutinised and I am referring to ‘closing the loop’.