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European Union Customs Code changes may push up prices

Concerns are being provoked among auto traders over the latest implementation of the harmonised and modernised European Union customs code.

Detailed reforms will be introduced step-by-step by the European Commission until June 2013, and two recent proposals have sparked fears at the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMIF) that they could increase the customs valuation of some vehicles when imported into the EU from non-EU countries.

Because most duties reflect a set percentage of that price, the cost of these cars, SUVs and vans would rise. RMIF director Sue Robinson told AM: “The RMIF is concerned about the implications of these proposals and is currently investigating how they will affect our members.”

One planned reform would scrap a valuation called the ‘first sale of export’ price. This would stop importers from declaring the price that a foreign exporter paid to a local supplier before they shipped the goods to Europe.
This could be less than the price paid by the eventual European customer, and so the duties would be lower. This system has been opposed by the World Customs Organisation – and the commission is taking its advice and suggesting its abolition.

A second change focuses on royalties and licence fees covering permissions to exploit intellectual property rights.

The commission is currently consulting on these proposals.

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