The European Union proposed reforming its customs union with objectives that include making sure that trading platforms such as Amazon.com Inc and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. comply with the bloc’s regulations.
Platforms like Amazon, Alibaba or Zalando SE would have to ensure goods sold online comply with all customs obligations. In addition, they would have to charge customs duties and VAT at the time of purchase, so consumers will no longer face hidden charges or unexpected paperwork when the parcel arrives.
The customs union, one of the EU’s key features, facilitates trade with the rest of the world worth €4.3 trillion ($4.7 trillion) in 2021. It has been facing challenges including the rise of e-commerce, while customs officials play a significant role in enforcing sanctions against Russia since its invasion of Ukraine.
The proposal will abolish the current exception under which goods valued at less than €150 are exempt from customs duty, seen as heavily exploited by fraudsters. “Up to 65% of such parcels entering the EU are currently undervalued, so they can avoid customs duties on import,” Gentiloni said.
The reform would set up a new EU Customs Authority to oversee the data hub, a single online portal where importers will be able to log all the information on their products and supply chains, according to a statement from the EU’s executive arm.
Under the proposal, the data hub would open for e-commerce consignments in 2028, followed on a voluntary basis by other importers in 2032.
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