Article 77 of the Union Customs Code (UCC) sets out the chargeable event giving rise to a customs debt on importation, when it occurs and who is liable. This article discusses in depth the circle of debtors, in particular the persons providing false information of which they knew or should have known that the information was false and based on that information customs declarations have been drawn up due to which import duties have (partially) not been collected.
Article 77 UCC sets out the chargeable event giving rise to a customs debt on importation, when it occurs and who is liable (Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 October 2013 laying down the Union Customs Code). This provision is of utmost importance as it directly impacts the relation between customs authorities and international traders and thereby influences international trade. If the application of this provision is predictable, because the provision is clear, international traders can sufficiently assess their trade risks inherent to importing goods into the European Union (EU). Such legal certainty is beneficial for the economic development of the EU. It is in the interest of both customs authorities and persons dealing in international trade that such a fundamental provision is clearly defined. But that does not seem to be the case as will be argued in this article. Who is liable has required (and perhaps still requires) clarification by the European Court of Justice (ECJ). This contribution attempts to provide an overview of the circle of debtors.Global Trade and Customs Journal