Lawyer Monthly Magazine - August 2019 Edition

Contact Law Office Varna, Bulgaria 12 Knyaz Alexander Batenberg str., fl. 4, office 10 Tel. +359 52 60 40 28 Mobile: +359888313115 customs value as they don’t want to go to court and can’t afford to pay the fees that come with it, or they begin their battle in court, accepting that they’ll need to pay the deposit for at least six months. As mentioned, the court does indeed tend to rule against customs authorities’ unjustified decisions, however, business owners who can’t make it to court due to their inability to pay for the fees that come with it end up agreeing to the higher customs value, which adds to the value of the goods, making it difficult for them to then beat competitors’ prices. On the other hand, companies that end up going to court are also facedwith difficulties as customs can sometimes take a long time to release their goods for intra- EU tradingbecausedetermining the new customs value and the document exchange stage could be a lengthy process. I have noticed that it’s only big corporations that have sufficient financial resources and enough employees to go through the piles of documents that survive in these scenarios. This is how the customs ecosystem works when authorities decide to make your import experience a nightmare. This could result in a number of issues for the importers – from a shift in the market, through to diminishing trade volume due to reduced competitiveness and the inability to continue trading the specific type of goods. Sadly, the so-called “free movement of goods” is actually free only within the EU’s pricing and quantitative policy. The interesting thing to note and explore is how customs authorities decide that a given customs value is unusually low. According to their volumes of work, different traders can negotiate different prices for the exact same product. On top of this, the value can also depend on the trader’s reputation, brand and the quality of the product – things that customs authorities do not take into account. Similarly, the origin of the product can have an impact on its value. It is something that needs to be added to the customs declaration and denying a specific origin could have serious financial consequences. There are cases in which customs authorities refuse to accept the declared origin of goods coming from a country where anti-dumping measures do not apply and change the origin of the items in the customs declaration to a country where anti-dumping duties are being applied. These duties tend to be very high (they can often exceed 100% of the value of the goods) and importers are understandably not happy when asked to pay the tariff. The European Anti-Fraud Office is an administrative authority which is meant to protect the European Union’s financial interests and deal with similar cases in which customs authorities abuse their powers. The general conception is that the administrative body spends public money to serve corporate interests, but more on this in my next article for Lawyer Monthly. LM 41 AUG 2019 | WWW.LAWYER-MONTHLY.COM Expert Insight By Svetlomira Zhelyazkova, Attorney at Law “This is where a conflict between business owners and customs arises – the former trying to defend their businesses and the latter trying to stay in line with EU’s financial reporting and budget guidelines.”

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