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Europe

New Eurasian Economic Union customs code to take effect Jan. 1, 2018
The new code covering Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan includes the following provisions.

– Customs declarations may be submitted without being accompanied by supporting documents, although such documents must be in the filer’s possession when the declaration is submitted, be retained for five years, and be provided if requested pursuant to a risk analysis.
– Customs declarations will generally be submitted electronically and paper declarations will be used only in exceptional cases.
– Customs authorities will be able to use electronic systems to automatically register customs declarations and release goods.
– The regulations applied by EEU member countries to incomplete and periodic declarations, as well as declarations for products that have not been assembled or have been disassembled, will be harmonized.
– Goods imported during the implementation of investment projects may be released before submission of the customs declaration in accordance with the legislation of EEU member countries.
– Customs declarations may be registered a maximum of one hour after they are submitted.
– Goods may be released a maximum of four hours after the customs declaration is registered if customs authorities do not request supporting documents or impose any form of customs control to verify information in the declaration.
– Authorized economic operator status will be recognized throughout EEU member countries and may be obtained by all entities involved in international trade, including importers, exporters, carriers, customs representatives (brokers), and owners of temporary storage or customs warehouses.
– EEU members may offer mutual recognition to foreign AEOs in the future.

Customs declarations may still be filed only in the EEU country where the filer is registered as a legal entity, and the goods should be located in the territory of the country where the declaration is filed. It is anticipated that no earlier than 2020 filers will be able to file customs declarations to any customs authority in any EEU member country regardless of where the filer is located.

All EEU member countries were required to amend their national customs legislation to conform with the EEU customs code, which required significant changes in some cases. Entities involved in international trade with these countries should be prepared to face difficulties for at least the first year as authorities work to develop and implement these changes.

For detailed information on the upcoming changes and how to prepare your company, please contact us.

EU agrees to second phase of Brexit negotiations
The European Commission has said sufficient progress has been made on the first phase to move onto discussing the framework of a future relationship, including issues such as security and trade. However, EU officials say the second phase will be “significantly harder” than the first.
[BBC News]

New EU tax guidelines for cross-border investors
The new code of conduct aims to help investors who, as a result of how withholding taxes are applied, end up paying taxes twice on the income they receive from cross-border investments. Implementation of the code will be voluntary for EU member states.
[European Commission]

Mercosur trade deal will not be concluded this year
The talks will be extended into 2018 after the EU asked for more time to analyze proposed changes.
[Reuters]

Parliament approves EU-Kazakhstan partnership agreement
The agreement provides for a better economic environment for operators in areas such as trade and services, the establishment and operation of companies, capital movement, government procurement, and intellectual property rights.
[Euractiv]

EU to extend economic sanctions on Russia until mid-2018
[Reuters]

UK revokes 18 general export licenses
[UK government]

Middle East

Iran-Eurasian Economic Union preferential trade agreement in force Jan. 21
The agreement will eliminate tariffs entirely or reduce them by up to 80 percent for 200-250 categories of products.
[Financial Tribune]

Africa

Nigeria signs economic cooperation agreement with European Free Trade Association
Areas of cooperation will include trade in goods and services, trade facilitation, investment, intellectual property rights protection and enforcement, trade and sustainable development, and e-commerce.
[African Review]

Continental FTA to be signed in March 2018
The agreement includes provisions on tariffs, rules of origin, customs cooperation, trade facilitation, non-tariff barriers, technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, trade remedies, and trade in services.
[Independent]