ECJ Rules on Scope and Use of Binding Tariff Information (BTI)

27 April 2011

The ECJ recently ruled on whether a company could enjoy rely on a BTI issued to another party (in this case a sister company).

The Sony Case (153/10) found that an importer (Sony Supply Chain Solutions) could not rely on a BTI issued to another party (Sony Computer Entertainment (Europe)) if it was acting in its own name and on its own behalf rather than as a direct or indirect representative for the BTI holder. The fact that the importer was an associate company and acting on instructions of the BTI holder did not extend the protection of the BTI.

The ECJ did go on to state that an interested party may challenge the imposition of customs duties by submitting as evidence a BTI issued in respect of the same goods in another Member State although the BTI cannot produce the legal effects attached to it. The BTI will be persuasive but not legally binding.

Importers should take care to get BTI in their own name. If you are aware of an existing BTI that supports your case then this should be referred to in your BTI application. Also, if you are aware of a BTI for a similar product which is classified to a code you disagree with then you should submit arguments distinguishing your product from this ruling or setting out your reasoning for why it is wrong.

If you have any customs-related queries then contact us on (01905) 619229 or alternatively drop us an email at and our team of specialists will be only too willing to assist you.



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