What is BTI?
Binding Tariff Information (BTI) is a Community-wide system which provides traders with tariff classification decisions which are legally binding throughout the EU.
BTI decisions are issued by the Customs administrations in all Member States. The legislative provisions governing BTI are contained in Council Regulation (EEC) No. 2913/92 and Commission Regulation (EEC) No. 2454/93.
Benefits of BTI for traders
It gives traders legal certainty regarding decisions, for example, where a BTI is invalidated due to, for example, a change in Community legislation; in such cases, traders may be entitled to a period of grace in order to complete any binding contracts entered into on the basis of that BTI. BTI also promotes uniform application of the rules of classification throughout the Community for traders regardless of the Member State in which they operate. Traders will be always informed of any classification changes which may affect their BTI.
An application for BTI should be made on the application form which is attached to an Application booklet which may be obtained from the BTI Unit or may be downloaded from the Customs website or from the European Commission’s website. Applications should only be made where an import or export operation is actually envisaged.
The Customs administration shall issue BTI within a maximum period of three months from when all the information required for the correct classification of the product is received.
An application must be in respect of only one type of goods e.g. goods, product or item relating to a single nomenclature code.
Information supplied for the purposes of obtaining a BTI will be stored on a database of the Commission of the European Communities and may be used by Customs authorities throughout the Community to ensure uniform application of the Customs Tariff. However, any information in respect of which confidentiality is sought will be included in the database but not disclosed to the public or Customs administrations of other Member States.
If you disagree with the classification given on the BTI you may apply to the Customs authorities to have the decision reviewed.
BTI may be invoked only by the holder or an agent acting in the name and on behalf of the holder making a customs entry in respect of goods covered by that BTI.
Where the holder or agent wishes to invoke a BTI, it should be declared on the Single Administrative Document (SAD) to which it relates by inserting code “D 22” and the “BTI Reference No.” in Box 44. In addition, a copy of the BTI document should be attached to the hard copy of the SAD.
Validity of BTI
In the ordinary course, BTI will be valid for a period of three years from the date of issue. It may, however, be invalidated earlier in circumstances where, for example, it is affected by EU or international Customs tariff measures or by a judgement of the European Court of Justice.
Where the validity of BTI is affected in this way, there is provision whereby it may continue to be invoked, for a period of up to six months, to take account of binding contracts entered into by the holder and for the duration of any import licence or advance-fixing certificate. Temporary extensions of application of BTI in such cases must be approved by Customs authorities.
A BTI will be treated as void if it is found that it was provided on the basis of inaccurate or incomplete data from the applicant.