Glossary of customs terms.
AES stands for "Automated Export System", ECS for "Export Control System". Both are abbreviations for an international IT project which has been initiated for the export field by the European Commission in cooperation with member states. The AES integrates the acceptance of electronic export declarations and the electronic data interchange between the customs office of export and the customs office of exit from the EU. In Germany the name of the corresponding IT process is ATLAS. With effect from 01 July 2009 the ATLAS electronic export process replaced the previous paper-based export procedure. This means that from 01 July 2009 the electronic exchange of data with the customs authorities became binding for companies which operate in international trade. The electronic transmission of export data between the various national processing systems is implemented via ECS.
ATLAS (Automatisiertes Tarif- und Lokales Zoll-Abwicklungs-System) is an internal IT system operated by the German customs authorities and forms the basis for the automated processing and monitoring of goods transported across borders. With ATLAS, written customs declarations and administrative documents (for example notice of import duty) are replaced by electronic communications. This automates, simplifies and speeds up customs operations.
The export declaration is required by the responsible customs office (office of export) for goods shipped to countries outside of the EU. It acts as a customs document for export controls, a document of registration with the export trade statistics and if necessary as proof of exemption from value added tax. In Germany a written export declaration must be submitted for any shipment with a value which exceeds the statistical threshold of € 1000. Since 1 July 2009 export declarations can only be submitted electronically using the ATLAS export procedure.
The Export Accompanying Document (EAD) replaces the existing declaration on the Single Administrative Document (Form 0733). You will receive the EAD with the Movement Reference Number (MRN) which is required for the export of the goods after the export declaration has been processed successfully by the responsible customs office.
In accordance with the customs code the export declaration has to be submitted to the customs office which is responsible for the location where the shipper is located or where the goods are packed or loaded. In the two-stage process the declaration is submitted to this customs office. The processing of all export formalities as well as the monitoring of exit from the EU is implemented at the customs office of exit. You are requested to use the two-stage export procedure wherever possible, because with DPD parcels are not normally processed via customs offices which have the status of a customs office of exit (internal customs offices).
The customs office of export is the customs office which is responsible for the area where your company is located. Among other tasks the customs office of export is responsible for accepting your export declaration after checking all the information and documentation it contains.
As a rule the customs office of exit is the last customs department before the shipment leaves the European Union. It is responsible for monitoring and confirming the export and for transmitting the confirmation of exit to the customs office of export.
In the electronic process the export certification is sent by the customs office of exit only to the company making the export declaration.
The abbreviation stands for "Export Control System/Automated Export System", an international IT project which has been initiated for the export field by the European Commission in cooperation with member states. The AES integrates the acceptance of electronic export declarations and the electronic data interchange between the customs office of export and the customs office of exit from the EU. In Germany the name of the corresponding IT process is ATLAS. The electronic transmission of export data between the various national processing systems is implemented via ECS.
November 2009 saw the launch of an EU wide system for the registration and identification of economic operators (EORI = Economic Operators Registration and Identification System). The EORI master data (which correspond to the ATLA master data) is saved in a central EU database and serves as the sole identification feature in the implementation of all customs formalities.
For goods shipments with a value of less than 1,000 EUR there is the option of a verbal declaration. A verbal declaration is a physically expressed declaration of intent and is restricted to special cases (see directive on implementation of the customs code, Customs code DVO Article 226). A commercial invoice or pro forma invoice is sufficient for the verbal declaration.
For this purpose the EORI system (Economic Operators' Registration and Identification System) is being launched for companies, for the purpose of transmitting the data to the EU. The economic operators' data is saved under the so-called EORI ID number.
In accordance with the directive on export trade AWV § 4c (3), an export shipment is defined as "the quantity of goods which an exporter exports at the same time via the same customs office of exit for the same country of destination". This means that all shipments which are sent to the same consignee on the same day have to be combined. If the combined goods value is greater than 1,000 EUR an export declaration with an MRN (movement reference number) has to be drawn up for these shipments.
In accordance with customs regulations, every shipment of goods or documents to a country outside the EU has to be declared. Documents only need to be clearly marked (e.g. DOX), but for goods an accompanying commercial invoice or pro forma invoice is required. A commercial invoice is drawn up if the goods have a commercial value. A pro forma invoice is drawn up if the goods have no commercial value. The commercial invoice provides information about the consignor and consignee for the goods, and above all contains a complete description of all contents and details of their value. An original and five copies have to accompany the parcel. With DPD the commercial invoice or pro forma invoice can be conveniently created online.
The Internet Export Declaration (IAA) is a service offered by the German customs authorities for companies with low goods volumes for the free movement of goods. Data transmitted for declaration through the internet is encrypted. Subsequently the exporter prints out and signs the customs declaration with all the necessary documentation and hands this in at the customs office of export, where he receives the EAD (Export Accompanying Document) including the MRN (movement reference number).
In the case of the Internet Export Declaration Plus (IAA Plus) the handwritten signature is replaced by an electronic certificate created with the Elster programme (which is familiar from VAT returns). In this way all the relevant data (e.g. customs tariff decisions or replies from the customs office of exit) can be checked and safely transmitted via the internet, without any need for paper.
The Movement Reference Number (MRN) is the registration and identification number provided by the customs authorities. This number enables shippers to monitor the status of their shipments at all times. The MRN appears in the top right-hand corner of the Export Accompanying Document (EAD) which the shipper receives from the customs office, and is an 18-digit chain of numbers and letters as well as a barcode. This number initiates the export procedure and enables the shipment of the parcel. Without an MRN it is not possible for a certificate of export to be issued.
In accordance with customs regulations every shipment of goods or documents to a country outside the EU has to be declared. Documents only need to be clearly marked (e.g. DOX), but an accompanying commercial invoice or pro forma invoice is required for goods. A commercial invoice is drawn up if the goods have a commercial value. A pro forma invoice is drawn up if the goods have no commercial value. The commercial invoice provides information about the consignor and consignee for the goods and above all contains a complete description of all contents and details of their value. An original and five copies have to accompany the parcel. With DPD the commercial invoice or pro forma invoice can be conveniently created online.
If shippers regularly submit a large number of customs declarations there is a possibility of submitting these in simplified form. As an approved exporter you can take advantage of the so-called "local clearance procedure" and submit a customs declaration which does not contain all the data which otherwise would be required. The missing data can then be submitted later in a single supplementary declaration. In order to use this procedure you need to be approved as an exporter by the responsible main customs office. This approval needs to be applied for anew for the electronic export procedure, because the switch-over is not automatic. More information is available at www.zoll.de
The Movement Certificate – also known as a Preference Certificate – is a document for goods which have been manufactured in the EU. It is only required for those countries with which the EU has concluded a free trade, preference or cooperation agreement, as well as states and territories which are associated with the EU. The Preference Certificates are certificates of origin, with the exception of the A.T.R. preference document, which is exclusively for goods shipped between the EU and Turkey. The purpose of the EUR.1 Movement Certificate is to obtain customs preference on the basis of the agreements which have been mentioned above.
Customs agents are specialists who implement the clearance of goods and customs formalities on behalf of the importer (consignee).
The Federal Customs Department issues a central 7 digit customs number with the DE country code. This is used as an ID number and records the address data of the company, its approval status and the network connections while ensuring data protection. The customs number gives the customs authorities easier access to all the relevant information. The number is issued to companies which participate in the IT process or the approvals procedure of the federal customs authorities or submit regular customs declarations. The customs number is issued free of charge to companies which apply.
The approved exporter is a company which has been approved by the main customs office for participation in the so-called "local clearance procedure". There is a difference between an 'approved' exporter and an 'authorised' exporter, who is authorised to use a declaration of origin on invoices (in accordance with the regulations on the origin of goods and rules on preference) as proof of origin for all export shipments of EU goods to countries with which the EU has a preferential agreement. DPD recommends shippers to apply for approval as an "Approved exporter IT" (Form 0850 IT) at www.zoll.de.