The implementation of the Union’s Customs Code (UCC) on 1 May 2016 has put an end to the “customs broker” direct representation monopole, such agent being now referred to as “customs representative”.
From now on, this operator is enabled to exercise its activity from a Member State different from its country of establishment. It is possible for such operator, under certain conditions, to be established outside the EU. Thus, it is no longer necessary for the representative to be established in the country where the customs clearance takes place, in order to clear the goods for third parties. A preliminary registration and certain guarantees linked to AEOs (Authorized Economic Operators) prevent an unrestricted access to this business.
In France, an official decision of 13 April 2016, to which is added a note to businesses dated 23 January 2017, further explains and delineates the customs representative’s activity. In particular, the subcontracting of the representation mandate has been further detailed.
National case law also shapes the liability of the customs representative as from 1 May 2016: it insists on its advisory and information obligations.