A key milestone has been reached in the EU4Digital eCustoms pilot between Ukraine and Romania, which will test the systematic cross-border exchange of data. On 5 May 2023, the State Customs Service of Ukraine and the Romanian Customs Authority signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), regarding the manner and testing of the electronic information exchange.
The MoU covers agreement that both parties will exchange information in a secure environment in a standardised manner, and will test in practice the efficiency of automatic electronic information exchange using the Systematic Exchange of Electronic Data (SEED) system. Signing of the MoU shows the dedication of both countries to implementing automatic data exchange using the SEED application.
The MoU is also a critical milestone within the EU4Digital Facility Phase II eCustoms pilot. The pilot activity is part of the eTrade thematic area and focuses on piloting mechanisms of data exchange between bordering customs administrations. The MoU emphasises the commitment of both parties and describes the datasets and the underlying conditions for data exchange. The integration of digital technologies for this collaboration will streamline customs procedures, reduce bureaucracy, improve data accuracy and enhance trade flows, while maintaining the proper balance between trade facilitation and security.
The eCustoms pilot was designed bearing in mind the importance of avoiding disruptions to legitimate international trade flows between Ukraine and Romania. It also takes into account the needs to efficiently fight against violations of customs legislation to mitigate safety, security and fiscal risks; to simplify and harmonise customs procedures aimed at protecting the economic and financial interests of the countries; and to respond to the interest of economic operators in smooth, fast and transparent border crossing processes.
The aim of the eCustoms pilot is to facilitate customs-to-customs data exchange and introduce more advanced customs risk management processes, by utilising innovative systems, i.e. SEED. Developed with EU support and tested for more than ten years in the Western Balkans, the SEED application offers a digital platform for submitting, processing and exchanging customs data. It simplifies processes, reduces paperwork, and enhances customs efficiency.
To ensure progress in implementing the MoU provisions, at the end of May 2023, prior to the pilot, EU4Digital experts will visit the Border Crossing Point (BCP) between Siret in Romania and Porubne in Ukraine. In early June 2023, the Ukraine-Romania eCustoms pilot will focus on integrating the SEED application into the countries’ customs operations, to prepare for piloting data exchange regarding empty trucks, crossing the Siret-Porubne border.
The EU4Digital eCustoms pilot between Ukraine and Romania, which is scheduled for early June, is a significant step towards promoting trade flows. Through streamlined customs procedures and enhanced cooperation, the pilot will foster trade facilitation and improve the efficiency of cross-border traffic. The eCustoms pilot will bring benefits such as reducing processing times and administrative burdens and enabling smoother cross-border trade. Enhanced data accuracy and transparency will minimise errors and support effective risk management. The pilot will also foster collaboration and trust between Ukraine and Romania’s customs administrations, paving the way for permanent trade facilitation initiatives.