On December 17, 2021, amendments to the Customs Law published in the Official Gazette of RS no. 118/2021 as of December 9, 2021 (the “Law”) entered into force. Outlined below is an overview of the key novelties, that were notably enacted for alignment with the changes introduced in the EU customs regulations.
Deciding Upon Requests Regarding the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights
Instead of previously prescribed deadline of 120 days, competent customs authority shall pass a decision referring to the protection of intellectual property rights in accordance with the provisions of the law on general administrative procedure, which also applies to the adoption of other decisions concerning the application of customs regulations. As a reminder, the Law on General Administrative Procedure stipulates that, when a procedure was instituted upon request of a party or ex officio in the interest of the party, and when an administrative matter is being resolved by direct deciding, the authority shall pass a decision no later than 30 days after the institution of the procedure; when a procedure was instituted upon request of a party or ex officio in the interest of the party, but the administrative matter is not being resolved by direct deciding, the authority shall issue the decision no later than 60 days after the institution of the procedure.
Exceptionally, the deadline of 120 days from the day of acceptance of the request shall apply to passing of the decisions that refer to mandatory notification on classification of goods or mandatory notification on the origin of goods, as well as approval of the status of authorized economic entity or approval of simplification.
Redemption of Customs Debt
According to the Law, customs debt upon import or export is, inter alia, subject to redemption if the omission that caused the debt concerned did not have significant impact on proper implementation of temporary storage or a particular customs procedure and did not represent an attempted fraud.
Exemption from Payment of Import Duties
The Law prescribes a complete exemption from payment of import duties, which is approved for processed products obtained from goods put in the procedure of outward processing, if it is established, in a manner acceptable for the customs authority:
- that the goods were improved or modified in a country or customs territory outside the customs territory of the Republic of Serbia, provided that the Republic of Serbia has concluded an international agreement that specifies such exemption with the said country/territory; and
- that the conditions were met for exemption from payment of import duties as stipulated in the above said agreement.
The aforesaid provision does not apply to the processed goods that were obtained from equivalent goods under Article 193 of the Law (domestic goods stored, used or processed instead of the goods put in a special procedure, and in the procedure of outward processing foreign goods processed instead of domestic goods put in outward processing procedure) and products for replacement under Articles 225 and 226 of the Law (product obtained in a system of standard replacement that may be replaced by imported product and products for replacement that were approved for import before the goods with defects was exported).
Amendments about Customs Declaration
The Law also specifies situations where submitted summary import declaration is cancelled if goods subject to such declaration were not imported into the customs territory of the Republic of Serbia (after the expiry of 200 days after the declaration submission), whereby it also specifies which data need to be included in the customs or temporary storage declaration filed instead of summary import declaration (at least the data required for the summary import declaration). In addition, the Law specifies the situations where the submitted declaration for temporary storage is cancelled in case goods subject to such declaration were not delivered to the customs office (upon expiry of 30 days after the submission of declaration).
In addition to the above novelties, the Law prescribes that the Government shall, inter alia, determine the authority responsible for issuance of documents that prove the origin, as well as other documents and certificates accompanying the goods upon their import or export.
Additionally, the Law specifies in which cases decisions referring to mandatory notifications on classification of goods or origin of goods may be used even after their expiry (with regard to mandatory agreements based thereupon, which were concluded before the stated mandatory notification were put out of force; however the extended application concerned may not apply to mandatory notification on origin enacted for goods that are yet to be exported).
The Law also introduced certain technical modifications, i.e., regarding terminological specification of certain notions.
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By Lara Maksimovic, Senior Associate, PR Legal