Prague, March 27th, 2009
A meeting of Directors General of Customs from the EU Member States, the candidate countries Croatia and Turkey, as well as Serbia, FYROM, Norway and Switzerland ended in Prague today. The motto of the meeting was “Moving Forward Together”. The Directors General discussed the so-called Prague Challenge, which outlines the basic direction of development in the sphere of the electronisation of customs procedures (eCustoms).
The meeting of Directors General was organised on 26 and 27 March by the Directorate General of Customs of the Czech Republic as a part of EU Presidency, in cooperation with the European Commission (DG TAXUD, Customs 2013 programme). Its aim was to discuss fundamental issues concerning the further development of customs procedure automation and to given a new impulse to the eCustoms programme.
“The European customs system is currently undergoing a fundamental change related to a joint security risk analysis, to the preparation of the implementation of a modernised customs code, and to the gradual deployment of the systems in the demanding eCustoms programme, which will mean a transition to a paper-free customs process and therefore further simplify international trade, enhancing the EU’s competitiveness on world markets,” said the Deputy Minister of Finance of the Czech Republic, Peter Chrenko.
“In addition to control, customs administrations have another task in the chain of international trade, and that is the simplification of trade. The exchange of information must be fast, reliable and safe. Cooperation with the business sphere is very important for the success of eCustoms projects. That is why we, as a part of this seminar, have invited representatives of an international organisation, i.e. the UN, as well as representatives of the entrepreneurial sector, in order for them to relay to us their practical experience and opinions with respect to eCustoms projects,” said the Director General of the Customs Administration of the Czech Republic, Pavel Novotný.
eCustoms is a tool for helping the EU’s foreign trade
The programme with the working title ‘eCustoms’ was launched in 2002. At that time, the operation of the first European customs information system had already been launched – the NCTS (New Computerised Transit System) – to manage and control operations in the transit of goods among the signatories of the Convention on Common Transit, i.e. the then EU Member States, the EFTA countries and four EU candidate countries (Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic). The successful operation of the NCTS, increased demands from business for the modernisation of customs processes and the Council’s requirements, led to the European Commission (DG TAXUD) being charged with the planning and launching, in cooperation with Member States, of further customs systems with the aim of fully switching from a written to an electronic form of customs declarations. A complete electronisation can be expected to speed up the relevant transactions, make them more precise and less expensive and significantly simplify foreign trade.
Spokeswoman of the Ministry of Finance
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