EU Customs Union

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Contact Details

European Commission Taxation and Customs:
European Customs Information Portal (ECIP):

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Established 1958, when the then 6 member states of the European Economic Community, currently H-XD0665 - European Community, set up the customs (or tariff) union to reach common rates of customs duties and to apply common trade provisions to third countries in stages. Common Customs Tariff (CCT) was introduced in 1968, by which time customs duties and restrictions in internal trade had been abolished, creating what was then called the 'Common Market'. Internal border controls were maintained mainly for VAT and excise duty control purposes until coming into force of the European Single Internal Market in Jan 1993. By this time, common customs legislation had been introduced on a case-by-case basis to implement the common tariff, replacing existing purely national laws. This was amended and consolidated into the Community Customs Code (Council Regulation EEC No 2913/92 establishing Community Customs Code) and implementing provisions (Commission Regulation EEC No 2454/93 of 2 Jul 1993) in 1994, to provide a common framework for import and export procedures. There are currently no customs controls in internal single market commerce, while common tariffs and trade measures are applied at external frontiers of the F-XF2147 - European Union (EU) according to common unified customs management legislation. The strategy for the Customs Union adopted by E-XE2442 - European Commission (EC), 8 Feb 2001, as a communication to E-XE3068 - Council of the European Union, F-XF0667 - European Parliament (EP) and E-XE0669 - European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), was replaced by the Strategy for the Evolution of the Customs Union of 1 Apr 2008. It follows the process of reforms launched by the adoption of the Modernized Customs Code (Regulation EC No 450/2008 of EP and Council of 23 Apr 2008) and the Decision No 70/2008/EC of the EP and of the Council of 15 Jan 2008 on a paperless environment for customs and trade, by modernizing customs working methods, developing staff competences and reallocating resources in an efficient and effective way.


Develop and manage the Customs Union; develop and implement tax policy across the EU for the benefit of citizens, businesses and member states.


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Directorate General for Taxation and Customs Union (DG TAXUD) of the European Commission has overall responsibility for management. DG for Trade is responsible for tariff rates and commercial policy and trade defence.


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GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities



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