The Union Customs Code (UCC) provides that any person may appoint a customs representative.
‘Customs representation’ is defined in the UCC as ‘any person appointed by another person to carry out the acts and formalities required under the customs legislation in his or her dealings with customs authorities’.
Customs representation can be direct or indirect.
With direct representation, the customs representative acts in the name of and on behalf of another person. This means that the customs representative is in principle not responsible for the declaration.
With indirect representation, the customs representative acts in his or her own name but on behalf of another person. This means that the customs representative is jointly liable with the declarant.
When dealing with the customs authorities, a customs representative must state whether the representation is direct or indirect. An evidence of empowerment needs to be provided. In any case, the persons that are acting as customs representative without being empowered to do so, are going to be deemed to be acting in their own name and on their own behalf.
Who is deciding if the customs representative is going to use direct or indirect representation? It will depend. In some cases, the UCC oblige a customs representative to use direct representation. This is the case to place goods under special procedures (e.g., customs warehouse, inward processing) as the holder of the special procedure has to be the holder of the authorisation, which is not the case with indirect representation. In the other cases, it is based on an agreement between the customs broker (customs representative) and the importer/exporter.
In any case, if you are an importer or exporter and you are using a customs representative, we advise you to foresee a mandate. In most of the cases, the customs representative is going to send you a mandate to be signed. Read carefully the mandate and if you consider it necessary, do not hesitate to propose amendments.
With our long experience with customs representation, Customs Easy can support you in the analysis or in drafting the mandate.
Do you want to know more about customs representation? You can contact our Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.