Customs rejects unsigned proofs of preferential treatment from Turkey

The European Commission, in agreement with the Member States, has made it clear that preferential treatment of goods from Turkey requires the signature of a competent Turkish customs official on the movement certificate A-TR, EUR.1 or EUR-MED. Entrepreneurs are threatened with a subsequent survey for imports already carried out. A review of imports from Turkey and, where appropriate, their correction at customs should now be carried out by traders on their own initiative.

Preferential treatment on presentation of an A.TR, EUR. 1 or EUR-MED

The EU grants tariff preferences for products imported from Turkey on the basis of several agreements. Depending on the agreement concerned, either the movement certificate A.TR, EUR. 1 or EUR-MED is required.

For some weeks Turkey has been using a new electronic procedure for applying for and issuing A.TR, EUR movement certificates. 1, and EUR-MED, in which the signature of the Turkish customs officer responsible for issuing the goods is waived.

Rejection of unsigned preference documents

The EU and its Member States have now pointed out that preferential treatment of goods from Turkey requires the fulfilment of all, including the formal, criteria. In this respect, movement certificates must bear the signatures of the exporter of the goods and of the Turkish customs authorities.

The new electronic movement certificates are no longer to be taken into account with immediate effect due to the missing signature of the Turkish customs administration and are also not acceptable in their current form. If the certificates are not signed, the preferential treatment is now to be rejected in principle.

Review of past imports

Imports of goods already completed are also affected. The main customs offices of the Member States of the European Union will now check imports from Turkey retroactively from 24 April 2018 for compliance with the formal requirements for movement certificates. In the case of incomplete movement certificates, subsequent collection procedures are to be initiated, with the risk of customs duties being imposed retroactively. In this context, the initiation of criminal proceedings cannot be ruled out, as customs always considers compliance with the rules to be the duty of importers.

Signatures can be added

Importers will, however, have the opportunity to react to the Commission’s decision and to have their suppliers’ competent customs office in Turkey sign the relevant documents. Anyone importing goods from Turkey should now carefully review their movement certificates and, if necessary, promptly correct their customs declarations in order to reduce the risk of subsequent collection and prosecution.

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