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9.3.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 73/17

3.2. The ESC particularly welcomes the priorities given at the end of the Commission’s document. As
which have been set whereby almost half of the funding the figures indicated are merely estimates, the ESC
is to be allocated to the establishment of the New urges that a flexible approach be adopted when
Computerized Transit System (NCTS) and for the allocating funding, in the light of the needs of the
purposes of harmonizing-data exchange facilities individual systems.
between the Member States and the Commission [Com-
mon Communication Network/Common Systems Inter- 3.5. The ESC requests that it be given annual reports
face (CCN/CSI)]. on the targeting and the effectiveness of funding.
3.3. The ESC already underlined the importance of
these two objectives in its opinion on the ‘Customs 2000’ 3.6. These reports should indicate where funds have
action programme and its opinion on the action plan been switched between systems.
for transit in Europe (1).
3.4. An ‘indicative breakdown of “Custom 2000” 3.7. The ESC attaches particular importance to the
computerization projects’, classified by a system, is fact that Community customs applications should be in
line with the internationally recognized UN/EDIFACT
standard. This would also ensure that communication
(1) OJ C 355, 21.11.1997. with economic players is as it should be.

Brussels, 10 December 1997.

The President
of the Economic and Social Committee
Tom JENKINS

Opinion of the Economic and Social Committee on the ‘Proposal for a European Parliament
and Council Regulation (EC) amending Regulation (EEC) No 2913/92 establishing the
Community customs code (transit)’

(98/C 73/05)

On 4 December 1997 the Council decided to consult the Economic and Social Committee,
under Article 100a of the Treaty establishing the European Community, on the above-mentioned
proposal.

The Section for Industry, Commerce, Crafts and Services, which was responsible for preparing
the Committee’s work on the subject, adopted its opinion on 3 December 1997. The rapporteur
was Mr Giesecke.

At its 350th plenary session (meeting of 10 December 1997) the Economic and Social Committee
adopted the following opinion by 106 votes to two with two abstentions.

1. Introduction 2. Commission proposal

1.1. The EC Customs Code, which entered into force 2.1. The proposal for amending Regulation (EEC)
on 1st january 1994, establishes the framework for No 2913/92 establishing the Community customs code
Community customs legislation. Requirements have makes adjustments to the transit procedure. These
changed considerably since the Code’s entry into force, adjustments are mainly the consequence of the action
thereby making amendments necessary. plan for transit in Europe (1).

1.2. Both economic operators and customs adminis-


trations consider that the provisions should be made
simpler and clearer. (1) COM(97) 188 final.
C 73/18 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 9.3.98

2.2. The main aim of the external transit procedure 3.5. From the Committee’s point of view, the transfer
is to make it easier to transport non-Community goods of responsibility for procedural provisions to the Com-
within the Community customs territory. The use of mission could be welcomed if individual decisions are
this procedure for Community goods is to remain an taken properly using the ‘comitology’ procedure, i.e.
exception. Article 91(1)(b) is to be adjusted to meet these after consulting economic operators and customs admin-
requirements. istrations.

2.3. The concept of discharge of a transit procedure


4. Specific comments
is to be defined by amending Article 92.

2.4. With regard to the provision of guarantees, 4.1. Amendment to Article 91(1)
shipments by sea are to be treated on a par with shipments
by road. The general waiver regarding guarantees is 4.1.1. Presumably, hardly anything is to change in
to be abolished by amending Article 94(2). practice. The field of application must, however, be laid
down in the Customs Code implementing provisions.
2.5. Article 95 is to be reworded so that the criteria
4.1.2. The fact that non-Community goods are what
for waiving guarantees are included in the Customs
they are, which plays a role especially in the cases of
Code implementing provisions.
goods subject to a market regime, can only be proven
under the transit procedure. The T5 documents used
2.6. Article 96(2) is to be deleted, since the incurrence under market regime legislation do not provide an
of a customs debt as a result of removing goods from adequate check.
customs supervision is regulated elsewhere (Article 203).
4.2. Amendment to Article 92
2.7. Since there is no scope any more for national
transit regulations, the deletion of Article 97(2) will 4.2.1. The proposed new wording fills a gap in the
ensure greater transparency and a more uniform appli- present definition and is therefore welcomed.
cation by the Member States.

4.3. Amendment to Article 94


2.8. The amendment to Article 192 makes allowance
for the special requirements with regard to the provision
of a security under the international transit procedure. 4.3.1. The reform of transit by sea is considered by
the Commission to be necessary on the basis of the
findings of a task force over a period of 2¡ years.
2.9. The amendment to Article 215 is designed to Guarantees are now to be required, too, for transit
make it possible to determine exactly who is responsible procedures by sea. However, a distinction is to be
for the incurrence of a customs debt. made between scheduled services (regular services only
between ports within the Community customs territory)
and non-scheduled services.
3. General comments
4.3.2. In the case of scheduled shipping services —
which represent, as it were, an extended bridge — the
3.1. The Commission proposal intends to eliminate goods transported are to be assumed to be Community
a number of shortcomings in the present Customs Code goods just as they are in road transport. Since transit
which came to light recently when checks were made on procedures are necessary only in the case of non-
the operation of the transit procedures. Community goods, the proposed amendment to
Article 94 will not hamper intra-Community trade in
the Committee’s view.
3.2. The proposed transfer of procedural provisions
from the body of law laid down by the Council (Customs 4.3.3. The goods carried by non-scheduled services
Code) to the Commission’s sphere of responsibility are to be assumed — as in the past — to be non-
(Customs Code implementing provisions) has both Community goods (third country status).
advantages and disadvantages.

4.4. Amendment to Article 95


3.3. The swifter and more flexible adaptation of
provisions to the needs of economic operators and
customs administrations might be beneficial. 4.4.1. The proposed amendment to Article 95 is in
line with point 4.6.2 of the Committee opinion (1) on the
Commission Communication concerning an action
3.4. However, frequent changes could be seen as a
disadvantage vis-à-vis the stability offered by the Code
in the past. (1) OJ C 355, 21.11.1997.
9.3.98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 73/19

plan for transit in Europe. It is to be welcomed in 4.6. Amendment to Article 97


principle. The criteria for the modular guarantee are
to be specified in the Customs Code implementing 4.6.1. The deletion of Article 97(2) poses no problems,
provisions. since there is no scope any more for national transit
procedures. The flexibility which Member States also
require is guaranteed by the Customs Code (Article 91).

4.7. Amendment to Article 192


4.5. Amendment to Article 96
4.7.1. The Committee endorses the proposed amend-
ment.
4.5.1. The deletion of Article 96(2) has no effect
legally, since the incurrence of a customs debt through 4.8. Amendment to Article 215
the removal from customs supervision is regulated in
Article 203 of the Customs Code. Non-punishment in 4.8.1. The rewording seems advisable because of the
the event of deadlines being slightly exceeded must still differing turnover and consumption taxes in the Member
be ensured. The amendment is welcomed. States.

Brussels, 10 December 1997.

The President
of the Economic and Social Committee
Tom JENKINS

Opinion of the Economic and Social Committee on the ‘XXVIth Report on Competition
Policy (1996)’

(98/C 73/06)

On 24 April 1997, the Commission decided to consult the Economic and Social Committee,
under Article 198 of the Treaty establishing the European Community, on the ‘XXVIth Report
on Competition Policy (1996)’.
The Section for Industry, Commerce, Crafts and Services, which was responsible for preparing
the Committee’s work on the subject, adopted its opinion on 3 December 1997. The rapporteur
was Mr Simpson.
At its 350th plenary session (meeting of 10 December 1997) the Economic and Social Committee
adopted the following opinion by 98 votes to two with four abstentions.

1. Preliminary comments 1.3. Because of the close relationship between the


policy questions raised by the analysis in the Fifth Survey
and the review of policy and decisions on State aid in
1.1. The Economic and Social Committee (ESC) has, the Competition Policy report, the ESC decided to
each year, taken the opportunity to comment on the prepare one opinion dealing with both documents.
report prepared by the European Commission on Com-
petition Policy.
1.4. These reports offer a valuable insight into many
of the difficult questions faced by the Commission in
1.2. The report on developments in 1996, the XXVIth the evolution and promotion of competition policy and
in the series, was published in April 1997, within days the application of State aids.
of the separate publication of the Fifth Survey on State
Aid in the European Union. The report on State aid,
containing information for the years 1990 to 1994, 1.5. The ESC commends the Commission on the
updates the last survey published in 1994. expeditious publication of both documents.