Customs Valuation Case Law

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Costs of transport

Under Article 32 of the European Customs Code, the costs of transport to the European Union are a part of the customs value,  which means that they should be added when such costs are not already part of the price actually paid or payable. Similarly article 8(2) of the WTO Customs Valuation Agreements state that  each Member shall provide for the inclusion in or the exclusion from the customs value, in whole or in part, of the cost of transport of the imported goods to the port or place of importation.

In the case that was recently before the Amsterdam Court of Appeal , a freight forwarder paid the freight costs, and then charged these costs with a surcharge onward to its customer (the importer) . In calculating the customs value , the declarant assumed that  the customs value ought to be increased with the transport costs on the invoices that the transporter had issued to the freight forwarder (i.e. without the surcharge)

Dutch Customs is of the opinion that the (higher) amounts paid by the importer had to be added to the price of the goods .

In its decision, the Court of Appeal refers to the judgment of the ECJ in the case of Unifert ( C-11/89 ) in which it explained that the term “cost of transport ” must be interpreted as -including all the costs, whether they are main or incidental costs , incurred in connection with moving the goods to the customs territory of the Community . The Court then decided that the costs that were paid by the importer must be added (i.e. including the surcharge of the freight forwarder).

For more information, please feel free to contact me. I would glad to explain the matter in more detail.

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