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Annual General Assembly of the Belgian National Customs Forum

by Karolien Vandenberghe, Customs & Trade Attorney, PwC Legal

Karolien Vandenberghe, Customs & Trade Attorney at PwC Legal, and Co-Chair of the AmCham Belgium Indirect Tax Subcommittee, and Tim Van Sant, Co-Chair of the Subcommittee and Attorney-Partner at PwC Legal, attended the Belgian National Customs Forum’s General Assembly on October 16, 2019, on behalf of AmCham Belgium. In this short article, Karolien provides an overview of the General Assembly.

The Belgian National Customs Forum (Nationaal Forum/Forum National) is a national consultation platform where representatives of the Belgian General Administration of Customs & Excises and the private sector meet. Its goal is to foster partnership and dialogue by*:

  • Exchanging information in a structured manner;
  • Involving the Belgian private sector in the strategic phases of the decision process of the Belgian General Administration of Customs & Excises; and
  • Ensuring that the recommendations issued within the National Forum are implemented.

On October 16, 2019, the Annual General Assembly of the Belgian National Customs Forum took place in Brussels.

During the Assembly, the different National Working Groups (General Provisions, Entry, Special Customs Arrangements, Exit, Excise Duties, Communication & Marketing, ICT and Control Processes) presented their reports, highlighting the 2018-2019 accomplishments and setting out priorities for 2019-2020.

The activities of the National Working Groups stand out because of their technical and operational approach. With regard to the accomplishments of 2018-2019, by way of example, the Brexit sub-working group redacted a No-Deal Brexit Note, which was published by the Belgian Customs Authorities in August.  In September, a decision was reached, in principle, in the Working Group General Provisions on the reduction of the comprehensive guarantee for the General Administration of Customs & Excises in the future (from 100% to 30%), in response to prior amendments made to the Union Customs Code Delegated Act (UCC DA).  In the coming year, this Working Group will address the so-called ‘domestic sale,’ as reflected in the Belgian Customs authorities’ note of June 28, 2019. This note changed the Belgian Circular Letter 2008/C/9 of January 24, 2018, regarding the determination of the transaction value of goods at entry, with immediate effect.

In addition, a Belgian customs attaché, Carine Willems, gave a presentation on the role and functioning of the Belgian customs attachés abroad (presently in Brazil, India, China, and Indonesia). As always, the administrator-general of the Belgian Customs authorities, Kristian Vanderwaeren, provided an update on the administration’s Management Plan. Finally, Minister of Finance Alexander De Croo closed the Assembly with a speech, handing out the 500th General Administration of Customs & Excises certificate to Sodiko NV.

About the author

Tom Declercq

Karolien Vandenberghe is a US and EU qualified attorney at PwC Legal who focuses on Trade and Customs.
Karolien is also Co-Chair of AmCham Belgium's Indirect Tax Subcommittee.