Screening meeting with the European Union on Chapter 29 – European Union Customs Union – was concluded in Brussels 6 April. At the meeting, which was the latter one of two, experts from Iceland and the EU compared the legislation falling under the Chapter. The Icelandic team was headed by Ms. Marianna Jonasdottir, chairperson of Financial Affairs negotiation team.
EU membership entails the participation in the EU Customs Union. Upon membership no custom duties will be levied on trade in goods between Iceland and the Member States. The common external tariffs vis-à-vis third countries would take effect. Accession into the customs union requires considerable changes in the customs procedures, development and designing of computerized systems and implementation of new and extensive customs tariff. That project is comprehensive and technically complicated.
The implementation of a new customs tariff will have an economic impact on industries, both negatively and positively, as particular tariff rates will either be eliminated, lowered or raised. Also it should be born in mind that 75% of the collection of customs duties in each Member State are traditional own resources of EU's budget.
Concerning customs on imported goods, at first glance, tariffs on resources for energy intensive industries seem to be among the most important issues in the negotiations with the EU. The possibility of special arrangements must be considered, with the aim of securing that companies operating in Iceland can continue to import resources and equipment without customs payment. Tariffs on imported and exported agricultural products as well as exports of marine products are examined by the negotiation team on Foreign and Security Affairs. Special attention must be brought to the necessity of ensuring the administrative capacity to deal with needs analysis, programming and installation of computerized customs systems and the introduction of modified customs procedures.