Reflection on achievements and strengths is substantial particularly amid turbulent times when trade wars, sanctions, Brexit, punitive tariffs and anti-dumping investigations shaping the agenda. It is high time to refocus and to think, when the world´s unique European customs union celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2018. Being the foundation of the European Union a smooth operation of the customs union is crucial for Member States, businesses and the public. Started as pieces of a puzzle, the customs union became the largest trading bloc in the world today with a single piece of legislation, the Union Customs Code. Despite the exceeding greatness, current events and developments reveal also facts that for instance centralized customs clearance procedures, implementation and application of legislation in 28 different Member States, securing and safety of international supply chains increase complexity and operations within the customs union.

Furthermore, constant changing trade environment and foreign policies, rising risks of protectionism, increase of national embargoes and sanctions lead to some times obscure legal and political constellations such as the extraterritorial application of foreign legislation and the EU blocking regulation. This can leave businesses and the public in uncertainty. In addition, after more than 50 years of EU value added tax (VAT), it is clear that the general tax on consumption forms a stable source of revenue, with only a limited impact on economic relations. However, it is evident that the EU VAT system needs a reboot to make it simpler, more fraud-proof and business-friendly. The European Commission has presented an Action Plan to update the system so that it can better support the Single Market, facilitate cross-border trade and keep pace with today's digital and mobile economy. Distinguished speakers and experts of the fields will point out and discuss strengths, proven instruments, required system changes as well as the challenges ahead and proposals to overcome them.
Period29 Oct 2018
Event typeConference
LocationBrussels, BelgiumShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Customs
  • Supply Chain
  • Customs Union
  • Customs Law