The EU Customs Union Reform

The European Union (EU) proposes a comprehensive reform of its Customs Union. The reform aims to put in place a simpler, smarter and safer Customs Union.


  • Simplify customs processes for the trustworthy traders, saving billions in compliance costs.
  • Introduce EU-level risk management to better enforce EU standards that keep us safe and secure (i.e., fight against climate change)
  • Improve customs authorities’ ability to collect the customs revenues that help finance our budgets and public services
  • Cut down on huge levels of fraud in the e-commerce sector (also protecting E.U. businesses)

Main reforms and New Terms in customs procedures

Trust and Check Traders System A pivotal innovation of this reform is the “trust and check” system, set to replace the current EU Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) scheme. Traders who meet strict standards and give to the EU customs a full overview of their supply chains can benefit from smoother, quicker and more efficient operations, via the new ‘Green Lanes’.

Green Lanes Designed as “express routes” for compliant traders, the “green lanes” enable faster, simplified import processes. By adhering to the “Trust and Check” standards, traders facilitate a more secure and efficient EU trade. Also, under certain conditions, they will be able to import goods without the need for any customs intervention (i.e., no customs declarations)

EU Customs Data Hub The reform introduces the EU Customs Data Hub, which will be the engine of the reformed customs union. This platform will centralize customs processes, enabling traders to:

i. Submit info directly via the EU hub, instead of multiple national systems

ii. file once for multiple consignments.

This innovation improves risk analysis and eliminates the need for separate national IT infrastructure.

The EU Customs Authority The decentralized EU Customs Authority will administer EU-level risk assessment utilizing the continually updated data in the EU Customs Data Hub. It will also coordinate crisis management, offering a unified front against threats.

Single customs administration Instead of having to deal with up to 27 national customs administrations, from 2032 Trust & Check traders will have one single customs office as a partner while operating in the EU. A review on 2035 will assess whether this can be extended to all traders.

E-commerce Reforms Platforms selling into the EU will send customs information on all their sales through the EU Customs Data Hub. This way, platforms themselves will be considered as the importer. The need for a declaration for each parcel will be eliminated. The under €150 duty exemption ends, discouraging fraud. A new classification system will simplify customs duty calculations and generate an additional customs revenue of €1 billion per year.


2028: E-commerce companies get access to the EU Customs Data Hub

2032: All businesses begin using the Hub on a voluntary basis. A specific group of “Trust and Check” traders will be created.

2035: Customs reforms review will take place

2038: Use of the Hub becomes obligatory for all businesses importing to the EU

Main Benefits

Benefits for Businesses

  • The more transparent and compliant traders are, the fewer declarations and checks are needed. Trust and Check traders will be able to import goods with no active customs intervention.
  • Trust and Check traders can work with only one customs administration and one Data Hub
  • Traders will save time and money – up to €2.7 billion a year overall

Benefits for Customs

  • Customs will be able to focus their efforts on effective checks, identify high-risk entries and review risks before the shipments even leave for the EU
  • National authorities will gain access to real-time, comprehensive data, having a full overview of supply chains thanks to EU-level risk management
  • Due to centralization, authorities will collectively save up to €2 billion a year in IT operating costs and will be better able to collect revenues

Benefits for Citizens

  • Citizens can be reassured that customs can more easily stop unsafe, illegal, and dangerous goods from entering the EU
  • Citizens can have more certainty and peace of mind when buying online from outside the EU, with no hidden charges when parcels arrive
  • Citizens will benefit from more money for public services, such as schools and hospitals, thanks to more efficient revenue collection

Challenges for EU Businesses

  • Adaptation Costs: Implementing new procedures entails costs for businesses, including investments in technologies, software, and training.
  • Compliance Challenges: Compliance with the ‘Trust and Check’ and ‘Green Lanes’ may prove difficult, especially for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), requiring additional resources. Collaborating with a specialized customs broker can ease those burdens.
  • Navigating Procedures: The shift to a data-led system and understanding the customs landscape may pose challenges. The expert advice from knowledgeable and proactive customs brokers becomes crucial.


To find out more about the EU customs reforms, download our presentation here.



Subscribe to our newsletter to receive news and offers from our company.