On 16 December 2014 the Chapter 29 – The Customs Union was officially opened at the Intergovernmental Conference in Brussels.
In Chapter 29, the EC defined three closing benchmarks:
1. Montenegro continues to adopt legislation in the remaining areas requiring further alignment; it should in particular align its legislation on customs status and transit, customs risk management and security aspects, including the Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) program, intellectual property rights, and drug precursors.
2. Montenegro applies its customs rules consistently and efficiently across its customs offices, notably in the areas of declaration processing, origin, simplified procedures, intellectual property rights, and selectivity of controls and risk analysis (including automated pre-arrival/pre-departure risk analysis across all modes of transport).
3. Montenegro reaches sufficient progress in developing all the required IT interconnectivity systems, in particular the New Computerised Transit System (NCTS), the Integrated Tariff Management System (ITMS), the Export Control System (ECS) and the Import Control System (ICS).
What are the activities in the coming period?
The closing benchmarks in Chapter 29 – Customs Union are primarily focused on the harmonization and implementation of the necessary European legislation. The customs legislation of Montenegro is largely in line with the acquis, in particular the legislation relating to customs tariffs, customs exemptions and protection of intellectual property at the border. Montenegro monitors the dynamics of changes in customs regulations at the EU level and, in accordance with the EU, is reforming its legislation in order to apply European standards in this area. However, the main challenge in the field of customs is the implementation of IT systems at the national level. Having in mind the fact that these are financially very demanding projects whose implementation requires a longer period of time, their establishment will be done both at the national level and with the help and support of the EU.
Institutions / organizations participating in the negotiating group?
The Customs Administration is the key holder and coordinator of activities within the negotiating Chapter 29 – Customs Union. In addition to the mentioned institution, the members of Working Group 29 are representatives of the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Ministry of Culture, as well as representatives of the civil sector and other competent state institutions.
What is the benefit to Montenegro of this chapter?
The customs union is a single customs area of the member states of the European Union in which the total internal trade and trade in goods between member states takes place without customs formalities, ie without customs control over the goods, and without the collection of customs duties. The customs union protects people and facilitates trade. It surrounds the EU’s internal market and allows products to move freely in the area by controlling exports and imports of products. In this way, consumers are protected from dangerous products and health risks, and animals and the environment from plant and animal diseases. Customs is also the first line of defense against organized crime and terrorism.
The EU is the world’s largest trading bloc and therefore, in a global sense, and in that sense the EU has a better negotiating position than any member state separately. With the date of EU accession, Montenegro will become part of the internal market, which will facilitate the export of domestic products to a market with 500 million consumers. Montenegro will also take over preferential trade arrangements with the Mediterranean countries (Algeria, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Syria, Tunisia), Chile, Mexico and the Republic of South Africa, and tariff rates for trade will be abolished or reduced. with those countries.
The fact that there will be no collection of customs duties means that the citizens of Montenegro will be able to buy better quality products from any EU member state at significantly lower prices than today.