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21st European Customs Law Conference in Linz

On 18th and 19th June 2009 the 21st European Customs Law Conference with the topic “Customs union and e-Government” was held in the “Palais Kaufmännischer Verein” in Linz, Austria.  The two day meeting was organized by the European Forum for Foreign Trade, Customs and Excise e.V. and was sponsored, among others, by the AWA Aussenwirtschaftsakademie. The opening address was held by Prof. Hans-Michael Wolffgang, Chairman of the European Forum for Foreign Trade, Customs and Excise e.V. (EFA), Münster who welcomed speakers from Europe, America and Australia and 250 participants most of them coming from member states of the European Union.  Wolffgang described the convention as an “EFA family reunion” , considering the consistency of the participants of the meeting in the past and present.
The meeting was hosted by Prof. Dr. Peter Witte from the University of Applied Science Münster.

The three main topics of the Customs Law Conference were “Development of the Customs Union”, “Mutual Recognition of security standards” and “Information technology in customs and excise law”.
The first part dealt with the development of the Customs Union. Jean-Michel Grave, head of department, European Commission emphasized the importance of the Modernized Customs Code and presented the progress of this project. Although the application of the Modernized Customs Code is imminent, it can only be realized with appropriate implementing provisions. At the same time, the restrictions resulting from “world customs law” –mainly with regard to the obligations of equal application by Member States were discussed. The conference also considered the guidelines issued by the Commission. They aim to ensure the equal administrative enforcement and prevent discrimination in cross-border trade in goods.  The other speakers on this topic of the conference were Dr. Lothar Gellert, Federal Ministry of Finance, Germany, Dr. Andrea Reuter and Prof. Dr. Achim Rogmann, European Law School (BELS), Wolfenbüttel.

The second part of the conference, “Mutual Recognition of Security Standards”, was hosted by Bryce Belgen, Managing Director of the Trusted Trade Alliance LLC, Vancouver, WA. In the center of topic was the AOE. Since the AEO has been introduced, it is important to monitor the progress in ensuring the mutual recognition of this concept at an international level. As part of the C2B partnership programmes there are many other concepts that, as a part of the SAFE-Framework of the WCO, attribute customs and commerce a central role in ensuring the supply chain security. The Customs Law Conference therefore featured a panel of experts, who examined its practical implementation and implications for commerce.
These experts were Dr. Susanne Aigner, European Commission, Brussels; Marianne Rowden, President AAEI. Washington D.C.; David Widdowsen, CCES, Canberra; Serge Gumy, Head of Department at the Customs administration office OZD Bern, and Jürgen Böer, Head Export Control/ Customs, Mainz.

The third part of the convention was connected with “Information Technology in Customs and Excise Law”. The philosophy of e-Customs demands a pan-European und global flow of information and data as well as solutions for related technical, organizational and legal problems. The introduction of ICS, ECS, SASP or e-TIR in EU customs law shows that important legal steps have already been taken in this respect. A parallel development is the emergence of related legal areas. EMCS is an IT procedure for the transportation of goods subject to excise duties and documents the individual phases. In this part the itspractical implementation and implications for commerce was examined.
Michael Lux, Head of Department, European Comission, Brussels presented the centralized clearing procedure. Furthermore the e-transit was explicated by Julian Genkov, IRU Secretary, Geneva. The speakers list was completed by Alfred Hiebl, manager MIC, Datenverarbeitung GmbH, Linz, Franz Hägele, Customs Manager EMEA, Sigma Albrich Chemie GmbH, Schnelldord, Dr. Christian Haud, Economic Chamber, Graz, and Dr. Bettina Vogel Lang as presenter.

The final speech was once more held by Prof. Wolffgang, who thanked the speakers, experts of the panel discussion and the participants of the conference for the exchange of thoughts in the field of science and economy. Prof. Wolffgang considered the conference as being successful and an important step towards solutions in the field of practical application of new information technologies.

Read the complete report here

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