“Apply in time for eRecognition!”

Very soon, entrepeneurs will have to apply for several customs permits through the EU Trader Portal. To log in to this application, they will need digital identification.

As from 2 October 2017 companies will have to apply for a variety of customs permits through the EU Trader Portal. They will need eRecognition (digital identification) at security level 3 in order to log in to the portal. “Entrepreneurs, be sure to apply in time!”, is the advice of customs officers Grietje de Jong-Raske and Marijke Salters.

The Union Customs Code of the European Union came into force on 1 May 2016. Among other things it provides for the standardisation of procedures and the electronic finalisation of all customs formalities in all member states. From 2 October this year companies will have to apply for 22 permits digitally through the EU Trader Portal. These are the permits referred in European Implementation Regulation 217/989, including those for inward processing and customs warehouse.

Secure information exchange
The EU Trader Portal is developed and managed by the European Union. The EU also developed the Customs Decisions Management System (CDMS) in which Customs accepts, deals with and issues permits. The member states are responsible for their own methods of logging in to the EU Trader Portal. “The Dutch government decided to have companies log in to its electronic services using eRecognition”, says De Jong-Raske, implementation manager CDMS. “This means that eRecognition will also be the means of authentication for the EU Trader Portal.”

Using eRecognition businesses can identify themselves online and exchange confidential information securely with other organisations connected to the system. eRecognition is not free of charge and can be applied for from a number of providers (see www.eherkenning.nl). These providers are certified market operators who comply with the agreements system set up by the Dutch government and managed by Logius.

Apply in time
De Jong-Raske and Salters emphasise the importance of applying for eRecognition promptly. “There is a certain amount of processing time involved”, says De Jong-Raske. “The amount of time needed to prepare the application will depend on the business in question. eRecognition allows you to assign different authorisations to different employees. These are recorded in an authorisations register. It is anticipated that larger companies, with numerous employees requiring different authorisations, will need more time to set up such a register than smaller businesses that only wish to authorise one or two employees.”

Salters: “The person applying for eRecognition must be registered at the Chamber of Commerce as having authority to sign. In practice this is usually not the person who applies for the permits. That task is delegated to those of their colleagues who are responsible for dealing with customs permits. It takes time to organise authorisation and identification properly inside an organisation.”

Salters points out that many companies are already working with eRecognition. “For these parties the important thing is to check that they have eRecognition at the right security levels. Customs uses level 3. It is only possible to log in to the EU Trader Portal using eRecognition at that security level.”

Companies with a foreign EORI (Economic Operators Registration and Identification) number cannot apply for eRecognition in the Netherlands. Salters: “They can contact the customs authority in the country where they have their registered office to find out how electronic authentication is organised there. As already mentioned, each country chooses its own method.”

It is not yet possible for sole traders and companies that want to apply for permits on behalf of others to log in to the EU Trader Portal, but this is being worked on. “For current information in this regard they should visit the Dutch Customs website at www.douane.nl”, says De Jong-Raske.

One and the same key
Both eRecognition and applying for permits through the EU Trader Portal offer many advantages, according to De Jong-Raske and Salters. “eRecognition means that companies no longer have to work with a range of different log-in tools and passwords. Soon you will be able to access all on-line government services and organisations in the Netherlands using one and the same key, no matter whether it is a municipality, the Customs Administration or the Tax Administration”, says De Jong-Raske. “The traceability of the authorisation of the end-user is also a plus point.”

“Furthermore the connection is guaranteed to be secure and in compliance with European regulations”, according to Salters. “And with the EU Trader Portal, companies get a direct and up-to-date overview of their requested and approved permits. They can check the status of their current permit applications. If they want to make any changes they can do so on-line. If anything is missing they receive an electronic message and they can immediately supply the missing documentation in digital form. Previously this had to be done by post.”

Properly informing the business community
“Cooperation with the market is an important issue for Dutch Customs”, says De Jong-Raske. “In regular consultations between customs and the business community we discuss for example how best to inform companies about the EU Trader Portal and CDMS. We also notified those entrepreneurs who have to apply for permits as from 2 October of the imminent changes by ordinary post.”

By late 2019 the EU Trader Portal will support AEO (Authorised Economic Operator), BTI (Binding Tariff Information) and BOI (Binding Origin Information). As from mid 2018 companies will increasingly be able to apply for permits not dealt with through the EU Trader Portal through the national customs portal Mijn Douane. Here too they will log in using eRecognition.

Dutch Customs has organised a webinar about eRecognition and the EU Trader Portal which will take place on 19 September this year. Participants will receive information about how to log in to the portal and apply for permits there. They can also put questions to a panel of experts from several disciplines. You can register for the webinar through this link.

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