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Cargo Screening [www.aircargonews.net]

Cargo Screening [www.aircargonews.net]

Both the European Union (EU) as well as the United States’ Transport Security Administration (TSA) have approved South African air cargo security systems.

Poppy Khoza , The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) director, says, “The two affirmations place South Africa in a unique position, making the country the only one on the continent with such recognition and agreements in place.”

“This essentially means that, following audits by the European Union and the United States, South Africa is acknowledged as one of the countries where the level of aviation security is regarded as robust and reliable. This will benefit air carriers operating between South Africa and the two regions.”

In the case of the US, the TSA carries out yearly assessments of South Africa’s aviation security regime with the last audit conducted in June 2014.

The results of the audit indicate that South Africa did not attract any findings or observation and in some instances, the standards were found to be higher than in previous years.

“The TSA audit comes after almost a year since the SACAA and the TSA concluded a recognition agreement on air cargo security programmes, thus acknowledging that South African systems are on par with the stringent requirements of the USA.”

“This agreement also enhances air cargo security measures and initiatives between the two countries. Most significantly, the agreement enables quicker facilitation of goods between the two countries, and helps eradicate duplicative or redundant measures while still ensuring the highest levels of security that both the TSA and the SACAA require.”

The EU recognition means that South Africa has been included in the list of third countries where air carriers are exempted from the application of the ACC3 (Air cargo and mail carrier operation into the EU from a third country airport) regime of which the requirements are viewed as stringent to operators from countries outside the EU.

In terms of the ACC3 process, carriers wishing to carry cargo into the EU have to request an ACC3 status, and this process requires rigorous screening of air cargo or the existence of a properly functioning and secure air cargo system.

As from July this year, cargo operators flying to the EU destinations must therefore either hold a valid EU validation report, proving that they have adequate security measures in place, or in the absence of such assurance, cargo operators will have to use the services of EU validators to pronounce their cargo as secured.

“The services of EU validators are not free and come at a cost to air carriers, but it does acknowledge that security measures applied in South Africa and the EU are equivalent.”

“This recognition by the EU is a significant milestone for the country and South African carriers, as this means that they can now benefit from an exemption from the ACC3 regime, provided that the level of risk remains similarly low, commensurate with a robust oversight system being in place.”

Source: SAnews.gov.za

European Parliament By Cédric Puisney (via Wikipedia)

European Parliament
By Cédric Puisney
(via Wikipedia)

On 25 February 2014 the European Parliament gave its approval to the Proposal for a Directive of the Parliament and of the Council to approximate the laws of the Member States relating to trade marks (recast).

The interesting new provisions contained in the proposal include certain measures which numerous organizations and enterprises across a broad range of sectors have long been calling for, in that they are intended to put an end to the freedom of transit of counterfeit goods through the customs territory of the EU even when those goods are destined for a country outside the Union. The measures approved in this regard are, specifically, the following:

  1. The holder of the trademark right may prevent goods coming from third countries and bearing a counterfeit trademark from entering EU territory.
  2. The holder of the right may take appropriate legal steps and actions against counterfeit goods. These include the right to request national customs authorities to implement measures to detain and destroy such goods under the new customs Regulation (EU) No. 608/2013.
  3. The holder of the right may also prevent the entry into the EU of small consignments of counterfeit goods, particularly in the context of sales over the Internet.

A small consignment is defined in Regulation (EU) No. 608/2013 as a postal or express courier consignment containing three units at most or having a gross weight of less than 2 kg.

Parliament proposes that in these cases the individuals or entities who ordered the goods should be notified of the reason why the measures have been taken and similarly be informed of their legal rights vis-à-vis the consignor.

The provisions thus approved in connection with small consignments follow on from the recent judgment of the Court of Justice in case C-98/13, published on 6 February 2014, in which it was held that, even where the sale of goods for own use had taken place through a website in a non-member country, the holder of the intellectual property right could not be deprived of the protection afforded by the customs regulation and the consequent power to prevent those goods from entering the European market, without there being any need first to ascertain whether the goods had previously been the subject of an offer for sale or advertising targeting European consumers.

In conclusion, the European Parliament has taken a great step forward in the fight against counterfeiting on all fronts and not just inside its territory. Source: ELZABURU

European union concept, digital illustration.The European Commission has set out plans to ease customs formalities for ship but it’s as yet unclear as to how the changes are likely to affect EU ports.

Known as the Blue Belt, the proposals aim to create an area where ships can operate freely within the EU internal market with minimum administrative burden when it comes to safety, security, the environment and taxes.

Although free movement of goods is a basic freedom under EU law the Commission says that it’s not yet a reality for the maritime sector which needs to play more of a part in getting more trucks off congested roads.

Siim Kallas,Vice-President, European Commission, said: “We are proposing innovative tools to cut red tape and help make the shipping sector a more attractive alternative for customers looking to move goods around the EU.”

The new proposals will require amending the existing Customs Code Implementing Provisions (CCIP).

Under the new proposals Regular Shipping Services procedures will be made shorter and more flexible. The consultation period for Member States will be shortened from 45 days to 15 and companies will be able to apply in advance for an authorisation from countries they intend to do business with to save time.

The Commission also proposes putting in place a system which can distinguish EU goods on board a ship (which could be fast tracked through customs) from non-EU items, which would need to go through the appropriate customs procedures.

This new “e-Manifest” system would allow the shipping company to relay all goods information in advance to customs officials.

The Commission expects to make the Blue Belt proposal a reality by 2015. Source: PortStrategy.com

ZimbabweThe Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (IEPA) Zimbabwe signed with the European Union (EU) is set to suffocate the country’s trade and industrial development policies due to the removal of taxes, a regional non-governmental organisation has warned. Zimbabwe alongside Mauritius, Seychelles and Madagascar concluded the IEPA with the EU that would result in the removal of taxes between the African countries and the EU.

But in an analysis of the trade pact, the Southern and Eastern Africa Trade, Information and Negotiations Institute (Seatini) said the elimination of the export taxes is a blow to both the National Trade Policy (NTP) and Industrial Development Policy (IDP) meant to promote the trade and industrial revival respectively.

Last year, the Zimbabwean government launched the Industrial Development Policy 2012-2016 that advocates value-addition or beneficiation and the NTP to guide the country’s trade with the rest of the world.

“There is no doubt that for Zimbabwe to successfully implement the NTP and IDP it will need to use tools such as export taxes. However, Article 15 of the interim EPA agreement that Zimbabwe signed and ratified provides for elimination of export taxes, thereby suffocating the policy space Zimbabwe is referring to in its National Trade policy on the need for value-adding natural resources,” Seatini said in a discussion paper, Zimbabwe’s control over its natural resources in the WTO context.

Article 15 of the IEPA provides that for the duration of the agreement, the parties shall not institute any new duties or taxes on, or in connection with, the exportation of goods to any other party in excess of those imposed on products destined for sale. The organisation recommended that Zimbabwe “must exercise its right to develop its economy and protect the environment through the use of export taxes, until such a time when the economy can competitively trade with the rest of the world enabling it to then gradually eliminate the taxes on a product by-product basis”.

It also recommended that government should consult widely all relevant ministries and the private sector on its existing and proposed laws relating to any prohibitions and restrictions on the export of natural resources especially metals and minerals. Seatini warned that the use of export restrictions would be in violation of World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.

Article XI:2(a) of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade does not allow WTO members to impose prohibitions and restrictions on the importation of any product, unless they (restrictions and prohibitions) are temporary, addresses critical shortages, relates to foodstuffs or other products and are essential to the exporting WTO member. It said it would be difficult for Zimbabwe to prove the critical shortage requirement. Source: The Standard – Zimbabwe

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the European Union (EU) signed today a Mutual Recognition Decision between CBP’s Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program and the EU’s Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) program.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner David V. Aguilar and European Union Taxation and Customs Union Directorate Director-General Heinz Zourek sign the Mutual Recognition Decision between CBP’s Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism program and the EU’s Authorized Economic Operator Program.

CBP Acting Commissioner David V. Aguilar and Director-General Heinz Zourek, European Union Taxation and Customs Union Directorate (TAXUD) signed the decision, which recognizes compatibility between the EU and the U.S. cargo security programs.

“Today’s decision on the mutual recognition of the EU and U.S. trade partnership programmes is a win-win achievement: It will save time and money for trusted operators on both sides of the Atlantic while it will allow customs authorities to concentrate their resources on risky consignments and better facilitate legitimate trade,” said Director-General Zourek.

C-TPAT is a voluntary government-business initiative to build cooperative relationships that strengthen and improve overall international supply chain and U.S. border security. C-TPAT recognized that U.S. Customs and Border Protection can provide the highest level of cargo security only through close cooperation with the ultimate owners of the international supply chain such as importers, carriers, consolidators, licensed customs brokers, and manufacturers. Source: US CBP

Related article

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the European Union Taxation and Customs Union Directorate (TAXUD) have agreed to language for the U.S.-EU Mutual Recognition Decision today which will lead to its signing in the Spring of 2012. Once signed, the Mutual Recognition Decision will recognize the respective trade partnership programs of the U.S. and the EU—CBP’s Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) and the EU’s Authorized Economic Operator (AEO)—with reciprocal benefits.

In 2007, CBP and TAXUD initiated efforts to implement Mutual Recognition between C-TPAT and AEO. Mutual Recognition is an industry partnership program that creates a unified and sustainable security posture that can assist in securing and facilitating global cargo trade. Upon achieving mutual recognition with a foreign partner, one program may recognize the validation findings of the other program.

C-TPAT is a voluntary government-business initiative to build cooperative relationships that strengthen and improve overall international supply chain and U.S. border security. C-TPAT recognizes that U.S. Customs and Border Protection can provide the highest level of cargo security only through close cooperation with the ultimate owners of the international supply chain such as importers, carriers, consolidators, licensed customs brokers, and manufacturers. CBP currently has mutual recognition with: New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Korea and Jordan. Source: USCBP

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The European Commission adopted a regulation revising rules of origin for products imported under the generalised system of preferences (GSP). This regulation relaxes and simplifies rules and procedures for developing countries wishing to access the EU’s preferential trade arrangements, while ensuring the necessary controls are in place to prevent fraud.

The Regulation adopted by the Commission today will considerably simplify the rules of origin so that they are easier for developing countries to understand and to comply with. The new rules take into account the specificities of different sectors of production and particular processing requirements, amongst other things. In addition, special provisions are included for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) which would allow them to claim origin for many more goods which are processed in their territories, even if the primary materials do not originate there. For instance, an operator in Zambia that produces and exports plastics to the EU will benefit from the new rules of origin, because even with up to 70% of foreign input the exported plastics can still be considered as originating from Zambia. These new rules should greatly benefit the industries and economies of the world’s poorest countries.

The proposal also puts forward a new procedure for demonstrating proof of origin, which places more responsibility on the operators. From 2017, the current system of certification of origin carried out by the third country authorities will be replaced by statements of origin made out directly by exporters registered via an electronic system. This will allow the authorities of the exporting country to re-focus their resources on better controls against fraud and abuse, while reducing red-tape for businesses. The new rules of origin will apply from 1 January 2011.

For more information on the new proposal please check: http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/index_en.htm