US Complaint Over the EU Customs System. PENDING WTO CASE Dzifa Acolatse ● Jean-Guy Afrika ● Sarah Ayers ● Aleksandra Ciric. Background of the Case - Introduction.
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PENDING WTO CASE
Dzifa Acolatse ●Jean-Guy Afrika ●Sarah Ayers ●Aleksandra Ciric
~ Robert Zoellick
“Although the EU is a customs union, there is no single EU customs administration. Lack of conformity, coupled with lack of procedures for prompt EU-wide review can hinder US exports, especially for small to mid-sized businesses.”
~ Robert Zoellick, (former) US Trade Representative,USTR Office
Source: US Dept. of Commerce-US Census Bureau-Foreign Trade Division
Data Source: US Dept. of Commerce - “A Profile of U.S. Exporting Companies, 2000-2001”, Table 5b & Table 5a
GATT 1994 Issues
Customs laws in the EC are administered by Member States authorities.
● Key aspects of customs law administration
are left to the discretion of Member States,
reviewable by national courts.
● Review by an EC forum (the European
Court of Justice) may be available only after
years of domestic litigation.
♦Member States of the EU are required, due to the EC Law of supremacy over national laws, to adopt all laws and regulations and bring them into their national governing system.
♦However, due to the variation of forms that administration efforts take on in each Member State, the speed and efficiency with which this is performed varies as well.
♦This is a HUGE concern given the recent enlargement of the EU to include many Central and Eastern European nations whose administrative techniques are underdeveloped.
♦In addition, some of the newer Member States are allowed an extra amount of time to incorporate EC Law into their national system.
European Commission- Administrative and Executive Body
Member State¹ Law
Member State² Law
Member State³ Law
Implemented and Enforced by:
Implemented and Enforced by:
National Customs Authority¹
National Customs Authority²
National Customs Authority³
Finland United Kingdom
10 New Members
Central and Eastern European
Countries-CEEC, plus Cyprus & Malta
Bulgaria and RomaniaEuropean CommunitiesGATT/WTO Signatory – January 1, 1995
1. See to the proper functioning of the agreement;2. Examine all issues arising from its application;3. Take measures necessary for customs cooperation in accordance with the objectives of this agreement;4. Exchange views on any points of common interest regarding customs cooperation, including future measures and the resources for them;5. Recommend solutions aimed at attaining the objectives of this agreement.
In a March 2001 report by the EU Court of Auditors, the European Commission stated:
“The objective that for all trade in goods the Community should operate as a real customs union with uniform treatment of imported goods can be fully obtained only if the customs union is operating on the basis of a single customs administration, which is not the case.”
►If a dispute panel is established, the US must present evidence that the EU customs system has indeed harmed US businesses.