Marina Port Tarraco, located in Tarragona, Spain, has been certified as an Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) by Spanish tax authorities. It follows fellow yachting establishments in Spain, including refit yard MB92, which achieved its AEO status in March 2017. Italian refit yard Amico & Co also established the certification in October 2017.
The AEO concept is based on the Customs-to-Business partnership introduced by the World Customs Organisation. It sees traders who voluntarily meet a wide range of criteria work in close cooperation with customs authorities to assure the common objective of supply chain security and are entitled to enjoy benefits throughout the EU. The programme, which aims to enhance international supply chain security and to facilitate legitimate trade, is open to all supply chain actors.
For Port Tarraco, the certification recognises that the company’s working procedures and checks comply with EU customs regulations. The structure will also allow clients to undertake certain improvement and repair work under advantageous tax obligations should the requirements be met.
It is likely that the superyacht industry will see more EU companies within the supply chain seeking AEO certification in the future due to changes introduced under the Union Customs Code (UCC). The Code, which entered into force in May 2016, saw changes to the treatment of customs procedures that allow traders to delay or defer payment of import duty and/or VAT when goods are imported under specific circumstances.
Non-EU yachts have, for many years, been able to benefit from a regime known as Inward Processing Relief (IPR) when having work done at shipyards in Europe. Under the UCC, this procedure has been combined with Processing under Customs Control – another system that allows imported goods to be processed without payment of duty under specific circumstances. The new process is known collectively as ‘Processing’.
Traders using the new Processing regime, as well as other ‘Special Procedures’ such as customs warehousing, now have to provide the authorities with financial guarantees to cover the value of all real and potential customs debt on goods covered by the procedure (in other words import duty and VAT). However, an exemption can be given to companies who are authorised as Authorised Economic Operators (Customs). With AEO certification, they will be allowed to apply for a waiver of guarantee for potential debts, thus making the status all the more appealing.
More information about the Union Customs Code can be found here.
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