EU | Definition of “Exporter” for Customs Purposes Amended from 31st July 2018

The European Commission has changed the definition of exporter for customs purposes with effect as of 31st July 2018.

The reason for this amendment is to give businesses greater flexibility in choosing who may act as an exporter of record for goods exported from the EU.
The new definition of exporter is designed to be ‘less restrictive’ and reduces the conditions for being an exporter to ‘the essential requirements for the functioning of the export procedure”.
From 31st July 2018, the amended Customs legislation provides that the exporter:

• Needs to be established in the customs union territory and has the power to determine and has determined that the goods are taken out of customs union territory; or

Failing the above,

• Is established in the customs union territory and is a party to the contract under which goods are to be taken out of the customs union territory.

What this means is that in cases where there is no person established in the customs union territory who holds the power to determine and has determined that the goods are taken out of the EU, the business parties can make contractual arrangements to identify who will act as exporter as long as that person is established in the EU customs territory.
This change affords Member States the chance to relax their definition of exporter so that for example, they might allow a carrier, a freight forwarder or other party to act as such. Before this amendment, although this was possible in some Member States, it was not EU-wide.
These changes are welcome and should enable businesses to have greater certainty on the rules across the EU. If you would like to discuss them, please do get in touch with us.