New proposals from the European Union (EU) Commission outline a planned reform of the EU customs environment. A data-driven, technology enabled approach will aim to simplify customs processes relating to imports into the EU and exports out of the single market.

The Commission cites the continued growth of e-commerce and the resulting increase in trading volume as one of the reasons driving the need for change, to create a more efficient and modern customs system. The plans will see a new EU Customs Authority established, and at the heart of the new system will be an EU Customs Data Hub. The technology will include extensive data compilation, artificial intelligence, and human input, to provide individual customs authorities within the EU complete visibility of the supply chains which involve import or export movement of goods.

The proposals are the latest in a line of EU reforms in the pipeline including DAC7, which places reporting obligations onto digital platforms and VAT in the Digital Age (ViDA), which proposes a series of reforms to further modernise the EU VAT system.

It is important for UK businesses to remain aware of the the developments taking place in the EU and to be ready once they are implemented, as they will impact the way trade between the UK and EU is carried out.