Customs transit is one of the cornerstone of the international trade flow. It enables goods to move more freely and makes customs clearance formalities more accessible. It does so by temporarily suspending duties and taxes that are applicable to goods at importation.
In this regard, Common transit is used for the movement of goods between the EU Member States, the EFTA countries (Iceland, Norway and Switzerland– including Liechtenstein in as far as it forms a Customs Union with Switzerland) Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey.
In the capacity as the 2015 year chairmanship of EU/EFTA Joint Committees of the Conventions on common transit and on the simplification of formalities in trade in goods, The Ministry of Customs and Trade of the Republic of Turkey conducted and finalized the accession process of both Macedonia and Serbia to the Conventions.
Thereby firstly, Macedonia become the Contracting Party of the Conventions as of 1 July 2015. Then, as of 1 February 2016, Serbia joined the Common Transit System. By this accession, number of the Contracting Parties to the Conventions increased to 35.
The accession to the conventions enables easier and faster movement of goods due to the realization of the transit procedure by submitting a single transit declaration in electronic form in the place of departure which is valid for the entire journey until the place of destination within the contracting parties of the Convention. The transit declaration is simultaneously used as a so-called entry summary declaration which should be submitted for commodities entering any EU Member State.
The New Computerized Transit System (NCTS) is a system that is based on the use of advanced computer technology and electronic data processing. NCTS is the basis for the implementation of the transit procedure by exchanging electronic messages between agents in the customs procedure and customs offices, as well as among customs offices. It serves as a tool for management and control of the transit operations and provides more modern and efficient management from the system that used to be based on paper.
On the other hand, Turkish Customs Administration completed the technical studies of adoption of the amendments to the Convention and its Appendices both with respect to the substance and terminology on the basis of the decision of EU-EFTA Joint Committee on Common Transit No. 1/2016, for the purpose of their alignment with the requirement of the Union Customs Code as well as its relevant delegated and implementing acts, which has been in effect as of 1st May 2016.
For the time being, transposition process is still going on and the texts are expected to be sent to the Parliament by Prime Ministry soon.