The Transit/Free Zones Section
Disclaimer: The following text is being provided for information purposes only, and nothing in the text supplants the actual legislation, for which appropriate links are provided.
A brief overview of the Standard Transit Procedure
Community Transit is a suspensive customs procedure which allows goods not in free circulation, and those few Community goods for which Community Transit is required, to move within the EU while ensuring that any charges due on these goods at their country of destination are secured. Whilst under the procedure, the payment of any customs duty or other charges is suspended.
Community Transit is also used to control the movement of such goods to and from Andorra, San Marino and the “special territories” of the EU (such as the Channel Islands). The procedure is extended to cover the movement of goods across the EFTA countries by virtue of a separate customs convention and is then known as “Common Transit”.
Status of goods
Goods are divided into two categories: (a) Goods which have Community status (“Community goods”):
These are goods which:
- originate in the Union or
- which have been imported from a non-EU country and have been put into free circulation (see below) in the Community or
- which have been manufactured in the Community from materials or parts imported from a non-Community country provided the imported materials or parts are in free circulation.
The term “free circulation” is used to describe imported goods on which all import
formalities have been complied with and any customs duties or other charges have been paid and not refunded in whole or in part. Goods originating in the Union are also in free circulation unless a CAP exports refund or other refund has been claimed on them. Generally Union goods can move within the EU without any Customs controls. (b) Goods without Community status (“non-Community goods”)
These are goods, which are:
- from outside the Community on which no duty has been paid and no import formalities have been complied with.
The types of Transit movement
There are two types of Common/Community transit movement: (a) The External (T1) procedure is used for:
(b1) The Internal (T2) procedure is used for Community goods:
- non-Community goods on which import duties have not been paid and
- Community goods subject to a CAP refund.
(b2) The internal (T2F) procedure is used for Community goods:
- moving from one Member State to another through an EFTA country
- moving overland to an EFTA country and
- when moving from San Marino (except for goods falling within Chapters 72 and 732 of the Tariff) and when moving to or from Andorra (goods falling within Chapters 25-97 of the Tariff).
- moving to, from or between the “special territories”– also called the “non-fiscal territories”: The Channel Islands, the Canary Islands, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guiana, Réunion, Mount Athos, and the Åland Islands.
The principal legislation governing Community Transit and Status is contained in:
(1) Council Regulation (EEC) No. 2913/92 (OJ L302 of 19/10/92) establishing the Community Customs Code
(2) Commission Regulation (EEC) No. 2454/93 (OJ L 253 of 11/10/93) establishing the Implementing Provisions to the Community Customs Code
The legislation governing Common Transit is contained in the Convention between the European Union and the EFTA Countries on a Common Transit Procedure (OJ No. L226 of 13/8/87)
The Transit Manual
The purpose of this manual is to provide a tool to promote a better understanding of how the transit procedure works and the roles of the various participants. It is also a tool to better ensure a harmonised application of the transit regulations and an equal treatment of all operators.
Please follow the link below to peruse the relative legislation, the Transit Manual, and other practical information: http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/customs/procedural_aspects/transit/common_community/index_en.htm
Free Zones and Free Warehouses
Free Zones and Free Warehouses are defined as being parts of the customs territory of the European Union or premises situated in that territory and separated from the rest of it for certain purposes. Incentives provided by free zones and free warehouses serve mainly an economic purpose, such as fostering regional development.
Entry into a free zone or free warehouse is a customs-approved treatment or use. In principle the following goods are treated as not being on the EU customs territory upon entry into a free zone:
- Non-Community goods (Import Duties and Commercial policy measures are not applied),
- Goods for which repayment or remission of duties is claimed on export (Drawback system),
- Community goods that can benefit from export refunds.
The following briefly describes some of the incentives for using the free zones/free warehousing arrangements:
- Suspended payment of import, VAT and excise duties until release for circulation or another customs-approved treatment,
- Suspended application of commercial policy measures such as import licences,
- Storage of import goods in transit,
- Storage and preparation of import goods for subsequent marketing (e.g. packaging, labelling),
- Treatment of export goods as if they had already left EU customs territory.
The setting up of a free zone or free warehouse requires an authorisation or a national legal act for which an application may be lodged. An application in writing should be made by the operator to the Customs office responsible for the free zone (The Transit/Free Zones Section).
The customs authorities may however impose restrictions or prohibitions on certain types of activities and may prohibit certain persons not providing the necessary guarantees of compliance from carrying out activities in a free zone or free warehouse.
(1) Council Regulation (EEC) No. 2913/92 (OJ L302 of 19/10/92) establishing the Community Customs Code – Articles 166 to 181.
(2) Commission Regulation (EEC) No. 2454/93 (OJ L 253 of 11/10/93) establishing the Implementing Provisions to the Community Customs Code – Articles 799 to 814.