17th September 2013

Did You Know? Issue 166

1. Brazil urges EU FTA ASAP: 2. Updated OGELs from UK ECO: 3. EU Set to Move Forward on Single Banking Regulator:4. Zero-rating supplies of goods for indirect export outside the EU:  5. Shanghai Free Trade Zone by end of September 2013:6.Russia Joins WTO Information Technology Agreement (ITA):  7. Armenia Chooses the Russian Customs Union not EU: 8. National Duty Repayment Centre (NDRC) HMRC: 9. Union Customs Code (EU-UCC): 10. Russia Measures Affecting TIR Movements
1. Brazil urges EU FTA ASAP: Brazil is hoping to get a quick agreement with the EU for a Free Trade Agreement before the end of the year.  Brazil is one of the major markets that will be losing preferential access to the EU under the 2014 revision of the Generalised System of Preference (GSP) scheme.  Brazil is also hoping to bring its own Mercosur economic partners into the FTA = Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela. Any deal could cover 80 billion dollars’ worth of bilateral trade between Brazil and the EU. Brazilian officials have insisted, however, they remained firmly committed to Mercosur.  Watch this space.
2. Updated OGELs from UK ECO: The following Open General Export Licences (OGEL) for dual-use goods have been updated and the new issue of the licences came into force on 6th September 2013.
1.         Open general export licence (export after repair/replacement under warranty: dual-use items)
2.         Open general export licence (export for repair/replacement under warranty: dual-use items)
3. EU Set to Move Forward on Single Banking Regulator:The European Parliament voted on 12th September 2013 on the creation of a single banking supervisor, which will oversee the largest 150 banks in the Eurozone. While the measure was a good bet to pass, a last-minute dispute between members of parliament and the European Central Bank, which will house the new supervisory authority, over transparency of the group's work threatened to derail the initiative. Internal markets commissioner Michel Barnier has said the authority will prove to be “a great asset for financial stability in Europe.”  The European Central Bank (ECB) welcomed the vote by the European Parliament which paves the way for establishing a banking union Press Release
4. Zero-rating supplies of goods for indirect export outside the EU:  From 1st October 2013 there comes into effect changes to the rules for zero-rating supplies of goods for export outside the EU.  Read Morehttp://www.hmrc.gov.uk/briefs/vat/brief2613.htm
5. Shanghai Free Trade Zone by end of September 2013:Operations at Shanghai’s free trade zone are expected to start at the end of September 2013 it was announced recently. The pilot FTZ covers four special customs supervision zones, namely Shanghai Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone, Waigaoqiao Bonded Logistics Park, Yangshan Bonded Port and Shanghai Pudong Airport Free Trade Zone, and has a total area of 28.78sqkm. Analysts believe that among several industries, those directly related to the FTZ such as trade, shipping, ports, logistics, construction, real estate and finance will benefit the most from the zone's establishment.
Three laws on foreign-invested enterprises, China-foreign equity joint ventures and China-foreign contractual joint ventures, and the Law on Protection of Cultural Relics were suspended with the establishment of the FTZ. It was previously reported that several financial industry regulators objected to the FTZ, believing it would have a huge impact on the existing regulatory system.  Read News Item
6. Russia Joins WTO Information Technology Agreement (ITA):  Russia is the newest member of the WTO and will gradually be adopting the WTO Rules for International Trade taking the number of Contracting Parties to 78. On the 13th September 2013 the Russian Federation joined the WTO plurilateral agreement that aims to reduce tariff barriers on some computer, telecommunication and IT products. The Information Technology Agreement (ITA) was originally signed in December 1996 supported by senior politicians such as the President of the USA Bill Clinton.
The ITA meant that customs duties are removed, by all contracting countries, from specified areas of the Harmonised System (HS) Code namely those covering products required to expand the global use of Information Technology, in other words computers (or to use the HS term Automatic Data Processing Machines -ADP) plus telecommunications equipment; semiconductors; computer software; semiconductor manufacturing equipment; and computer-based analytical instruments. One of the reasons this Agreement was important was because if tariffs remained on IT products it would lead to discrimination for poorer countries. Without tariffs the cost of IT products is reduced making these products and their global benefits more accessible.
7. Armenia Chooses the Russian Customs Union not EU:Armenia will join the Customs Union with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan rather than the EU the Armenian President announced on the 3rd September 2013.  Perhaps it isn’t that surprising as Russia is by far Armenia's largest trading partner and the largest foreign investor.  However, the European Union (EU) seemed to be taken by surprise, especially considering Armenia was expected to start discussion on a possible free trade agreement with Brussels during the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius November 2014
8. National Duty Repayment Centre (NDRC) HMRC: The UK NDRC is currently implementing a new database to process repayment applications for customs duty.  It was expected to go live on the 2nd September 2013 but unfortunately there has been a delay and it will not be available until November 2013. 
9. Union Customs Code (EU-UCC):
On the 11th September 2013 the European Parliament adopted the Union Customs Code by voting to complete the modernisation of EU Customs procedures.  The UCC will serve as the framework for new customs rules and procedures throughout the EU.  The Council should now adopt the Regulation for the Union Customs Code within the coming weeks, so that it can enter into force by 1 November 2013. 
Among the improvements that will be introduced with the new Code are measures to complete the shift by Customs to a paperless, fully electronic environment, and provisions to reinforce swifter Customs procedures for reliable traders (Authorised Economic Operators).
Read More and check out the Video.
1 minute in the Customs Union
4221 tonnes of goods are imported and exported – worth EUR6.3 million
534 customs declarations are made
219 counterfeit goods are detained
10. Russia Measures Affecting TIR Movements:
The Russian Federal Customs Service (FCS) announced on 13 September 2013 that the decision introducing a requirement for other guarantees for goods transported under cover of TIR Carnet will be applicable in the customs offices subordinate to the Siberian and Far Eastern regional customs administrations.
The TIR procedure will continue to be performed at all other customs offices until 1 December 2013.
            Russian customs originally scheduled their requests to claim additional guarantees for goods moved by road under cover of the TIR procedure, transport operators in August 2013 but the measures were temporarily postponed following the reaction from EU Member States.
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