The preferential origin of goods in customs with the presentation of valid certificates of origin. ECJ’s Judgment of April 7th, 2016
At the time of customs clearance for free circulation of goods within the customs territory of the Community, Regulation (EEC) 2454/93 of the Commission, laying down provisions for the implementation of the Community customs code, provides for the requirements so that goods can benefit in terms of customs duties due to the preferential country of origin.
Basically, it is applied advantages or reductions in import duties to goods whose origin is in a country or territory with which there is an agreement to implement a generalized system of preferences, for which purposes will be necessary to certify the origin of goods to the Customs Office of import. In General, Regulation 2454/93 establishes in its article 74 that products declared for free circulation in the European Union shall be exactly the same products exported from the beneficiary country where from are considered to be originating. These do not must have been altered, processed in any way, or subjected to operations other than those intended to keep them in good condition prior to its declaration for free circulation.
In addition, to be able to prove the origin of the goods, it must be submitted before the customs office the certificate of origin Form A, issued by the country of dispatch upon request by the exporter or his authorized representative.
With regard to the accreditation of the origin of the goods deal the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) on a litigation in which an importer in Germany of crude palm oil with origin from countries under a preference system, and which issued the corresponding certificates of origin, form A, used a single tank where mixed oil from different items from each of the countries, thus the Customs Office of import liquidated import duties without giving preferential treatment but at the full rate.
Considering the appeal filed by the importer, arises to the ECJ a question on if it should interpret article 74 of Regulation 2454/93 in the sense that if the requirements are met for products which are exactly the same in the case of an import of several items of crude Palm oil which are not imported separately, but mixed in the same tank.
The Court is quite clear on the matter as far as it understands, firstly, that there is not a substantial transformation of the products during transport processing, since they are fully interchangeable and exhibit the same features, which makes them to be in the same tariff treatment, so the fact that the products are mixed does not mean that these are different than the goods that were exported. Secondly, it considers the Court that it is allowed to the Customs Office to perform customs checking for preferential origin by the submission of the certificates of origin issued, this being the objective pursued by the customs regulation in terms of flexibility and simplicity.
Attached is a copy of the judgment with case number C-294/14.