Proposal for a new Agreement between the EC and Switzerland

15 April 2009

The European Commission has issued a proposal for a Council Decision (20.03.2009) simplifying inspections and formalities in respect of the carriage of goods and customs security measures between the European Community and Switzerland.

In effect this proposal will incorporate the Agreement between the European Economic Community and the Swiss Confederation on the simplification of inspections and formalities in respect of the carriage of goods of 21 November 1990 into a new consolidated agreement in order to extend its scope to include customs-security measures.

The new agreement is envisaging changes to:

(a) Customs-security measures provided for in the acquis communautaire included in Chapter III of the Agreement

The New Chapter III (& Annexes I & II) contains provisions that are equivalent to the provisions added to the Customs Code and its Implementing Provisions for the purpose of providing a co-ordinated and effective response to security concerns in international trade. These provisions cover:

- The requirement that traders provide the customs authorities with details of goods before they are imported into the EU or exported from it;
- The possibility of allowing reliable operators to use a simplified version of the customs-security measures (Authorised Economic Operators)
- The introduction of uniform criteria for selecting risks to be controlled, which will be established using computerised systems.

(b) Provisions on measures to ensure the equivalence of customs security

The new Article 13 lays down that the Joint Committee is to establish arrangements for monitoring the implementation of customs security measures and for checking compliance with Chapter III and Annexes I & II.

The Agreement also provides that each contracting party may take appropriate rebalancing measures, including the suspension of the provisions of that Chapter if it finds that the other party does not adhere to the conditions or equivalence is no longer upheld.
This Proposal will go forward for debate in the European Council but it is not envisaged that there will be many changes to the proposal. Watch this space for future developments…


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