The customs services of Moldova and Romania are in the final stages of preparatory actions for the launch of the e-Customs pilot between the two countries, under the EU4Digital initiative. This involves the automatic exchange of information through the SEED (Systematic Electronic Data Interchange) system, between the customs authorities of the Republic of Moldova and Romania, and will be tested, initially, at the Leușeni-Albița border crossing point (BCP).
A site visit to the BCP took place on 15-16 February. Officials of the Customs Service of Moldova held several working meetings with experts from the EU4Digital Facility and representatives of the Romanian Customs Authority. Participants discussed the importance of initiating the automatic exchange of customs data, and the benefits of streamlining cross-border traffic using the SEED information system, which has already successfully been introduced in the Western Balkans with EU assistance. The parties agreed on the scenario to be tested in the e-Customs pilot project. Under this scenario, the participating customs administrations will exchange data on empty means of transport.
This action is expected to increase the productivity of customs officials, allow empty means of transport to cross the border faster and, as a result, streamline freight traffic. From a law enforcement and security perspective, unloaded vehicles are considered to be at high risk of customs fraud (for example, used in illicit trafficking in goods – formally declared empty, but with some goods hidden inside). The automatic exchange of data between customs authorities will make it possible to verify the conformity of information recorded on one side of the border with that on the other, which will help to detect and prevent illicit trafficking in goods.
The aim of the e-Customs pilot project is to facilitate the exchange of data between customs authorities in real time, to improve the time of release of goods and more efficient and effective risk assessment by applying modern mechanisms for exchange, analysis, comparison of data and identifying discrepancies and other irregularities in advance.
The piloting is planned for March 2022.
The pilot between the Republic of Moldova and Romania follows the successful conclusion of the EU-EaP pilot between the Customs Administrations of Belarus and Lithuania, carried out a year ago.