June 2 2016.

New customs rules from 1 May should make life simpler for businesses that trade in Europe and better protect consumers against illegal and counterfeit goods.

The new Union Customs Code (UCC) represents a major overhaul of existing EU customs legislation, which dates back to 1992. It is a milestone for the European Customs Union, the framework which allows more than €3 trillion worth of goods to flow in and out of the EU each year.

The new rules aim to allow traders to clear customs procedures more simply and quickly, getting goods to consumers faster and with less cost; better protect consumers against illegal goods or goods which don't respect European environmental, health and safety requirements; and improve cooperation between customs administrations with the help of new IT systems.

The UCC should be fully implemented by the end of 2020. During the transitional period, the new rules will apply by using existing IT systems and, in some cases, paper forms. Work to develop the new systems or to upgrade existing ones has already begun.

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