On 22 September, French Secretary of State for the Budget Christian Eckert presented an action plan for the benefit of enterprises in view of the new EU customs code which will enter into force on 1 May 2016. The plan’s objective is twofold: to simplify the customs operations of French enterprises, and to attract new enterprises to France for their customs clearance operations set out in the new act. Below are some details of the main measures proposed.
Simplifying and fluidifying exchange. The action plan by the French government, dubbed “Dédouanez en France” (literally, “Clear through customs in France”), includes 40 measures with a view to preparing enterprises for the new Union customs code. The plan is to speed up the processes for simplifying customs formalities. For this purpose, the French government has undertaken to develop the “Guichet Unique National” (single window for customs clearance), which will allow French customs authorities to connect their information system with those of other administrations, effectively speeding up the process for obtaining the authorisations, certificates and licences needed when clearing goods subject to specific regulations through customs. Other measures in favour of French SMEs include the strengthening of the cellules conseils aux entreprises (advice units for enterprises), to allow visitors to benefit from a single, identified contact, and to reverse-charge VAT when importing.
Certain target figures have been defined:
- Allowing at least 1,000 VAT reverse charging operators to benefit from the measure;
- Increasing the number of companies certified as Approved Exporters by 50%;
- Increasing the share of Authorised Economic Operators working in foreign trade with third countries to 80% (see the short video below concerning the FIT company, 1,000th AEO certified by customs);
- Exceeding a rate of 95% for customs declarations cleared in less than five minutes by 2018.
Tapping into the business flows that tie in with customs clearance. The action plan’s second underlying objective is to improve France’s attractiveness for companies that seek to export to the EU, and that choose France as their sole customs clearance service platform, as part of the EU’s new Union customs code. To do so, the government has asked the customs authorities to better heed companies’ needs concerning their choice of customs clearance location, and to become more closely involved in projects implemented by logistics platforms. Christian Eckert also pointed out that French customs will mobilise its network of customs agents in France’s leading partner countries (US and North America, China and Asia, Brazil and South America) to support companies that work with these regions.
What do you make of these measures? By all means share your thoughts and comments with us at the end of this article!