New Customs Code adopted in second reading
The draft Customs Code(CC) was approved in the second reading during the Parliament’s extraordinary plenary session held on August 13. The draft aims to unify, modernise and streamline the customs legislation, as well as to adjust it to Moldova’s commitments under the EU - Republic of Moldova Association Agreement. The adoption of a new Customs Code also stems from the need to fulfil the country’s obligations under the Agreement on the European Union’s Macro-Financial Assistance for Moldova (OMNIBUS).The document will improve the quality of services provided by the Customs Service to business entities, will increase the data protection level, will reduce the costs and delays related to the declaration of goods and will diminish the risks of fraud and corruption through the online monitoring of customs operations and the reduction of the paper-based procedures. It also contains provisions on immediate and longer-term facilitation for businesses such as: centralised customs clearance, elimination of tax or fees for customs procedures, deferment of the payment of customs duty and other import taxes, reduction of the number of customs procedures and their reorganisation, Authorised Economic Operators, etc. The new CC will also provide economic operators with the possibility to be informed in advance about customs decisions, thus enabling them to respond before a final customs decision is made. The document provides for adjustment of certain key concepts, such as: customs office of supervision, customs decision, declaration of origin, exporter, re-export notification, etc. The new Customs Code provides for simplifying the conditions for the destruction of goods infringing an intellectual property right, as well as for increasing the period in which the right holder is obliged to destroy the goods infringing an intellectual property right from one to three years. It also specifies that the exchange rate applied for customs purposes represents the official exchange rate of the Moldovan leu (MDL) against foreign currencies, established by the National Bank of Moldova at the time of the occurrence of the customs debt. According to the EU-aligned provisions of the new Customs Code, duty-free shops will only operate in airports, ports, on board aircraft and ships. The draft of the new Customs Code of the Republic of Moldova was developed during three years thanks to an intense cooperation of Government institutions, including the Ministry of Finance and the Customs Service, with foreign experts – the EU High Level Adviser on Customs and Tax Policy, World Bank and TAIEX experts, and the European Commission. The new Customs Code, whose adoption in the third (final) reading is currently pending, will enter into force on January 1st, 2023.