EUROPE: Customs harmonisation a risk for clothing importers
The latest proposed reforms to create a harmonised and modernised European Union (EU) customs code could increase duties textile and clothing products.
They could boost the customs valuation of these goods, inflating ad valorem tariffs.
One change would ban the use of the 'first sale for export' for valuations, where importers declare the price a foreign exporter paid to a local supplier before shipping the goods to Europe.
This could be less than the price paid by the eventual European customer, with a correspondingly lower duty.
Another change would force exporters to include royalties and licence fees covering permissions to exploit intellectual property rights in their customs valuations.
These are currently excluded when exporters source from suppliers not directly demanding their payment - essentially a third party.
Under the new system, royalties and licence fees would be included in valuation of any goods attracting some kind of trademark, patent or copyright.
The Commission is currently consulting on these proposals. It has the power to authorise them without asking permission from the European Parliament or EU Council of Ministers.
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