THE ELECTRONIC CUSTOMS IMPLEMENTATION IN THE EU

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1 Flash Eurobarometer THE ELECTRONIC CUSTOMS IMPLEMENTATION IN THE EU REPORT Fieldwork: April-May 214 Publication: October 214 This survey has been requested by the European Commission, Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union and co-ordinated by Directorate-General for Communication. This document does not represent the point of view of the European Commission. The interpretations and opinions contained in it are solely those of the authors. Flash Eurobarometer - TNS Political & Social

2 Flash Eurobarometer The electronic customs implementation in the EU Conducted by TNS Political & Social at the request of the European Commission, Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union Survey co-ordinated by the European Commission, Directorate-General for Communication (DG COMM Strategy, Corporate Communication Actions and Eurobarometer Unit)

3 Project title Linguistic Version Catalogue Number Flash Eurobarometer The electronic customs implementation in the EU EN KP EN-N ISBN DOI /34317 European Union, 214

4 FLASH EUROBAROMETER TABLE OF CONTENTS INTRODUCTION... 3 KEY FINDINGS... 5 I. THE IMPACT OF THE INTRODUCTION OF ELECTRONIC CUSTOMS PROCEDURES The general impact of the introduction of electronic customs procedures Evolution of electronic customs procedures over the last 5 years The investments required for the introduction of electronic customs procedures II. VIEWS OF COMPANIES HANDLING CUSTOMS PROCEDURES INTERNALLY The use of a single IT interface vs. several IT interfaces Ease of carrying out customs procedures Frequency of experiencing difficulties when dealing with customs procedures The impact of costs and time delays on the decision to choose points of entry or exit III. VIEWS OF COMPANIES THAT OUTSOURCE CUSTOMS PROCEDURES Reasons for outsourcing customs procedures Location of outsourcing providers Ease of completing different operations related to customs procedures Frequency of experiencing difficulties when handling customs procedures The impact of costs and time delays on choice of points of entry or exit 48 IV. DID THE INTRODUCTION OF ELECTRONIC CUSTOMS PROCEDURES HAVE A POSITIVE IMPACT ON THE COMPANY S ACTIVITY?

5 FLASH EUROBAROMETER V. THE BUSINESS PROFILE OF COMPANIES THAT IMPORTED/EXPORTED IN Staff numbers Company turnover in Company types Location of the company and its affiliates VI. HOW DO COMPANIES IMPORT? Geographical areas from which companies import Countries in which the company makes import declarations Points of entry used Type of customers for imported goods and services Responsibility for customs procedures in the company Frequency with which customs procedures are carried out VII. HOW DO COMPANIES EXPORT? Geographical areas to which companies export Countries used as points of exit from the EU Responsibility for customs procedures in the company Frequency with which companies carry out customs procedures ANNEXES Technical specifications Questionnaire Tables 2

6 FLASH EUROBAROMETER INTRODUCTION The electronic customs project initiated by the European Commission aims to replace paper format customs procedures with an EU-wide electronic system, thus creating a more efficient and modern customs environment. The project's dual objective is to enhance security at the EU's external borders and to facilitate trade. It should therefore benefit both businesses and citizens. Electronic customs is a major development for the EU's Customs Union. The Customs Union is one of the pillars of the European Union and is at the heart of the internal market. The Commission considers that, with simplified customs legislation, streamlined customs processes and procedures and convergence of IT systems, traders would save money and time in their business transactions with customs. This would enhance the competitiveness of European businesses and thereby advance the main goals of the EU strategy for growth and jobs. In addition, these changes would improve safety and security checks, which would benefit all citizens. In 23, the Commission endorsed plans to move towards a paperless environment for customs and trade. It subsequently enacted a Multi-Annual Strategic Plan designed to deliver a European electronic environment, consistent with the operational and legislative projects and developments already scheduled or under way in the areas of customs and indirect taxation. In line with this strategy, Member States have been steadily introducing electronic systems in order to simplify their customs operations and make them interoperable with those of other EU Members. This report aims to evaluate the progress of the transition from a paper-based to an electronic system in the 17 countries covered by the survey. This survey was carried out by TNS Political & Social network in 17 Member States of the European Union: Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden and the United Kingdom, between 16 April and 9 May 214. Respondents responsible for customs compliance or customs operations in 283 companies who imported from or exported to countries outside the EU in 213 were interviewed via telephone (landline and mobile phone) in their mother tongue on behalf of the European Commission, Directorate- General for Taxation and Customs Union. The methodology used is that of Eurobarometer surveys as carried out by the Directorate-General for Communication ( Strategy, Corporate Communication Actions and Eurobarometer Unit) 1.. A technical note on the manner in which interviews were conducted by the Institutes within the TNS Political & Social network is appended as an annex to this report. Also included are the interview methods and confidence intervals The results tables are included in the annex. It should be noted that the total of the percentages in the tables of this report may exceed 1% when the respondent could give several answers to the question. 3

7 FLASH EUROBAROMETER Note: In this report, countries are referred to by their official abbreviation. The abbreviations used in this report correspond to: ABBREVIATIONS BE Belgium LV Latvia BG Bulgaria LT Lithuania DK Denmark NL The Netherlands DE Germany PL Poland EE Estonia PT Portugal EL Greece RO Romania ES Spain SE Sweden FR France UK The United Kingdom IT Italy * * * * * We wish to thank the people who have given their time to take part in this survey. Without their active participation, this study would not have been possible. 4

8 FLASH EUROBAROMETER KEY FINDINGS The impact of the introduction of electronic customs procedures Three-quarters of respondents say that the introduction of electronic customs had a positive impact on their company. Only 3% say the impact was negative. Nearly four in ten respondents think that the costs related to customs operations have increased, while over a third think they have stayed the same. Over a fifth of respondents say that the transition from paper to electronic customs procedures has required investments for training staff (23%) and IT (21%). Views of companies dealing with customs procedures internally A majority of companies use a single IT interface when handling customs procedures. Nearly half the respondents face difficulties in predicting the length of the customs clearance process, either often or from time to time. But only a fifth experience problems working with an IT interface that is not easy to use. Only three in ten respondents whose companies do not outsource customs procedures say that customs costs and time delays influence their decision to choose certain points of entry or exit. Views of companies who outsource customs procedures Nearly half of companies that outsource customs procedures do so because their staff does not have the required expertise to comply with the procedures. Nearly all companies that outsource use a company in the same Member State, though 1% use an outsourcing company in the Member State that is their main point of entry/exit. However, less than half of respondents think that complying with control, enquiries and audits is easy. Over a third of respondents say that they often or sometimes have difficulties in predicting the length of the customs clearance process. Over a third of respondents whose companies do outsource say that customs costs and time delays influence the decision to choose certain points of entry or exit Did the introduction of electronic customs procedures have a positive impact on the company s activity? A majority of respondents agree that the transition to an electronic system simplified customs procedures, but only 8% say it helped their company to lower the cost of its products. 5

9 FLASH EUROBAROMETER The business demographics profile of companies that imported/exported in % of import companies, and 55% of export companies, have 1-49 employees. 29% of both types of company turned over 2 million to 1 million euros - the most common level of turnover. 47% of importers are manufacturers, compared with 58% of exporters. Almost all importers and exporters have their company premises in the respondent s own country. Less than a fifth have premises in another EU country, or outside the EU. How do companies import? Six out of ten companies imported from China in making it the most common source of imports. Over 5% of companies in all but four countries imported from China, the exceptions being Estonia, Romania, Bulgaria and Latvia. While 88% of companies make import declarations in their own country, 16% make them in another EU country. Over three-quarters of companies used seaports as points of entry; 61% used airports; and 43% used land borders. A majority of importers bring in goods for their own company or affiliates. Four in ten importers say that an in-house staff member is in charge of customs procedures; a third say this is partly the responsibility of an outside company; and a quarter say it is wholly the responsibility of an outside company. A majority of importing companies carry out customs procedures several times a month. How do companies export? Six in ten respondents say that their company exported to Russia or other European countries outside the EU in 213. Over 5% of respondents in all but four Member States did this, the exceptions being Portugal, Romania, Spain and France. While almost all companies use their own country as a point of exit when exporting goods, over a quarter use another EU country. Four in ten exporters say that an in-house staff member is in charge of customs procedures; a third say this is partly the responsibility of an outside company; and a fifth say customs operations are entirely in the hands of an outside company. Half of exporting companies carry out customs procedures several times a month. 6

10 FLASH EUROBAROMETER I. THE IMPACT OF THE INTRODUCTION OF ELECTRONIC CUSTOMS PROCEDURES 1.1. The general impact of the introduction of electronic customs procedures - In all countries a majority of respondents think that the introduction of electronic customs procedures has been positive - Three-quarters of respondents (75%) say that the introduction of electronic customs had a positive impact on their company. Of these, 23% say the impact was very positive, and 52% say it was rather positive. Only 3% say the impact was negative, although over a fifth of respondents (22%) were unable to give an answer. Base: Total number of respondents (N=283) In all countries, over 5% of respondents say that introducing electronic customs had a positive impact on their company. However, there is some variation in the level of agreement on this point. Over four in five respondents say the impact was positive in Poland (89%), Romania (84%), Germany (83%), Belgium (82%) and Greece (82%). But less than six in ten respondents say the same in Sweden (53%) and Denmark (59%). The highest proportions of respondents who say that that introducing electronic customs had a negative impact on their company are in Germany (12%) and in Denmark (9%). In 13 countries, at least a fifth of respondents don t know what the impact was. Respondents in Sweden (42%), Portugal (34%), Denmark (32%) and the UK (32%) are most likely to give this answer. 7

11 FLASH EUROBAROMETER Base: Total number of respondents (N=283) The business demographic data show that respondents whose companies handle customs procedures in-house are more likely to say that the impact of electronic customs was positive (83%) than those who delegate their customs procedures to another company (61%). Respondents whose company turned over more than 5 million euros last year are most likely to say that the impact of electronic customs was positive (81%). Respondents whose company turned over less than 1, euros are the least likely to say this (67%). The more frequently the respondent s company conducts customs procedures, the more likely they are to think that the impact of electronic customs was positive: 86% of respondents whose company conducts customs procedures every day say this, versus just 44% whose company does so once a year or less. 8

12 FLASH EUROBAROMETER Base: Total number of respondents (N=283) 1.2. Evolution of electronic customs procedures over the last 5 years - A majority of respondents think that costs related to customs operations have increased over the last five years - Respondents were then asked to consider the way in which various aspects of customs operations have evolved over the last five years. Nearly four in ten respondents (37%) think that the costs related to customs operations have increased. Of these, three in ten (3%) say that the costs have increased slightly, while 7% say they have increased a lot. Over a third of respondents (35%) think that the costs related to customs operations have stayed the same. Just 9% say they have decreased, either slightly (7%) or a lot (2%). Almost a fifth (19%) say they don t know whether the costs have increased or decreased. Nearly half of respondents (48%) think that the frequency of controls has remained the same. A quarter (25%) think they have increased, either slightly (18%) or a lot (7%). One in ten (1%) say that the frequency of controls has decreased, either slightly (7%) or a lot (3%). 17% of respondents say they don t know. Half the respondents (5%) say that the frequency of enquiries and audits has remained the same. Almost a quarter (24%) think the frequency has increased, either slightly (18%) or a lot (6%). Just 8% say that the frequency of enquiries and audits has decreased, either slightly (6%) or a lot (2%). 18% of respondents say they don t know. 9

13 FLASH EUROBAROMETER Finally, over four in ten respondents (43%) say that the time required to clear customs has remained the same over the last five years. Nearly a quarter (24%) say the time required has decreased, either slightly (17%) or a lot (7%). Just 16% say that the time required to clear customs has increased, either slightly (12%) or a lot (4%). 17% of respondents say they don t know. Base: Total number of respondents (N=283) In six countries, a majority of respondents think that the costs related to customs operations have increased over the last five years, most strikingly in Belgium (5%), Spain (44%) and Italy (41%). Majorities also take this view in Portugal (38%), France (34%) and Estonia (33%). However, elsewhere a majority of respondents say that costs have remained the same, in particular in Sweden (57%), Latvia (5%), Romania (49%) and Greece (47%). The highest proportion of respondents who think that the costs related to customs operations have decreased over the last five years can be observed in Lithuania, followed by Greece, the Netherlands and Portugal (all 14%). A sizable minority of respondents in most countries say they don t know, notably France (3%), Estonia (26%) and Italy (26%). 1

14 FLASH EUROBAROMETER Base: Total number of respondents (N=283) Spain (4%) is the only country in which a net majority of respondents think that the frequency of controls has increased over the last five years, though relatively high numbers of respondents also take this view in Portugal (35%), the UK (32%) and Greece (32%). Everywhere else a majority of respondents say that the frequency is unchanged, notably in Sweden (63%), Romania (59%) and Bulgaria (56%). Respondents in Latvia (3%) are most likely to think that the frequency of controls has decreased over the last five years, followed by Lithuania (21%) and Estonia (2%). Over a fifth of respondents don t know in France (27%), Estonia (26%), Denmark (25%) and Sweden (22%). Base: Total number of respondents (N=283) 11

15 FLASH EUROBAROMETER In all countries, a majority of respondents say that the frequency of enquiries and audits has remained the same over the last five years. This view is most widespread in Sweden (63%), Latvia (61%) and Belgium (58%). Respondents in Spain (31%), Italy (3%) and Greece (29%) are most likely to say that the frequency of enquiries and audits has increased over the last five years, while those Latvia (17%), Romania (17%) and Germany (16%) are most likely to report that the frequency of controls has decreased. Over a third of respondents in Estonia (34%) answer don t know, as do 28% in Bulgaria and 27% in France. Base: Total number of respondents (N=283) In five countries, a majority of respondents say that the time required to clear customs has decreased over the last five years: Poland (51%), Lithuania (5%), Latvia (48%), Romania (43%) and Estonia (42%). Elsewhere, a majority of respondents think the time required to clear customs has remained the same, most notably in the UK (58%) and Sweden (56%). The highest proportion of respondents who say that the time required to clear customs has increased can be found in Germany (28%), followed by Denmark (21%) and the UK (21%). At least a fifth of respondents answer don t know in Portugal (31%), France (29%), Denmark (24%), Italy (23%) and the Netherlands (22%). 12

16 FLASH EUROBAROMETER Base: Total number of respondents (N=283) According to the business demographic data, respondents whose companies have a relatively low turnover are more likely to say that the frequency of both controls and enquiries and audits has increased. For example, 43% of respondents whose company earns less than 1, euros say that the frequency of controls has increased, versus 23-27% of respondents who work for companies with larger turnovers. Half of the respondents (5%) who work for an industrial company say that the costs related to customs operations have increased, as opposed to 37% of respondents whose companies operate in other sectors. Respondents in industrial companies (22%) are also the most likely to say that the time required to clear customs has increased; only 14-18% of respondents in other sectors say this. However, respondents whose companies operate in the services sector (3%) are the most likely to say that the frequency of controls has increased, while those in industry (22%) are the least likely to do so; those working for retail companies (27%) are the most likely to say that the frequency of enquiries and audits has increased, with those in manufacturing or services (both 2%) the least likely to say this. Respondents whose companies conduct frequent customs procedures are more likely to report increases in all four cases. For example, 33% of respondents who work for companies conducting customs procedures every day say that the frequency of these controls has increased, as opposed to just 1% of respondents whose company does so once a year or less. 13

17 FLASH EUROBAROMETER Base: Total number of respondents (N=283) 14

18 FLASH EUROBAROMETER 1.3. The investments required for the introduction of electronic customs procedures - Investments to ease the introduction of electronic customs procedures were much more frequent in some countries than in others - Over a fifth of respondents say that the transition from paper to electronic customs procedures has required investments for training staff (23%) or IT investments (21%). One in ten respondents (1%) says that the transition has also involved other types of investments. Base: Total number of respondents (N=283) Germany (54%) stands out with an exceptionally high proportion of respondents who say that their company s transition from paper to electronic customs procedures required investments for training staff. Over a fifth of respondents say this in eight other countries, led by Belgium (33%) and the Netherlands (29%). However, in Greece only 7% of respondents say that their company s transition from paper to electronic customs procedures required investments for training staff, and only 11% in Estonia and 13% in Spain say the same. In Lithuania (24%) and Denmark (19%), relatively high numbers of respondents say they don t know. 15

19 FLASH EUROBAROMETER Base: Total number of respondents (N=283) Germany (49%) again stands out in terms of IT investments, though at least three in ten respondents also say that their company did this in Lithuania and the Netherlands (both 31%). Latvia (6%) and Estonia (11%) have the lowest proportion of respondents whose companies made IT investments. As before, relatively large numbers of respondents were unable to answer in Lithuania (24%) and Denmark (18%). Base: Total number of respondents (N=283) Other types of investment that were required by the transition from paper to electronic customs procedures were most likely to be mentioned in Germany (21%), Belgium (17%) and Portugal (17%). In eight countries, fewer than one in ten respondents say that their company made other types of investments, with the lowest incidence in France and Romania (5%). Almost a quarter of respondents in Lithuania and Denmark (24%) answer don t know. 16

20 FLASH EUROBAROMETER Base: Total number of respondents (N=283) The business demographic data show that respondents in companies with a large turnover are the most likely to report that the transition required investments by their company. While 34% of respondents whose company turned over more than 5 million euros say their company made IT investments, only 9% of those whose company turned over 1, euros or less say the same thing. Similarly, 44% of respondents whose company turned over more than 5 million euros say their company made investments in training staff, as opposed to only 11% of those whose company turned over 1, to 5, euros. Companies that conduct customs procedures every day were the most likely to have invested in training staff (46%) or in IT (49%), while those that conduct these operations once a year or less are the least likely to have made these investments (5% and 4% respectively). Base: Total number of respondents (N=283) 17

21 FLASH EUROBAROMETER II. VIEWS OF COMPANIES HANDLING CUSTOMS PROCEDURES INTERNALLY 2.1. The use of a single IT interface vs. several IT interfaces - A majority of respondents say that their company uses a single IT interface for customs procedures - A majority of respondents (56%) say that their company uses a single IT interface when handling customs procedures. Just 14% say that they use several IT interfaces. Three in ten respondents (3%) do not know how many IT interfaces their company uses. Base: Companies that do not outsource customs procedures (N=2146) At national level, over 5% of respondents say that their company uses a single IT interface in nine countries, led by Germany (8%), Estonia (75%) and Romania (69%). Spain (31%), Denmark (36%) and Poland (37%) have the lowest instance of this. More than a fifth of respondents in three countries say that their company uses several IT interfaces: the UK (28%), Lithuania (25%) and Greece (21%). In most countries, a relatively high proportion of respondents say they do not know how many IT interfaces their company uses during customs procedures. Indeed, this is the most common answer in Poland (53%), Spain (52%), Denmark (45%) and Latvia (45%). 18

22 FLASH EUROBAROMETER Base: Companies that do not outsource customs procedures (N=2146) According to the business demographic data, exporters are more likely than importers (58% vs. 53%) to use a single IT interface for their customs procedures. Respondents whose company handles customs procedures in-house (65%) are much more likely to say that they use a single IT interface than those in which responsibility for customs procedures is shared between a member of staff and another company (46%). While 85% of respondents whose company turned over 1, euros or less say their company uses a single IT interface, this falls to 51% among those whose company turned over more than 5 million euros last year. In terms of sectors, respondents in manufacturing companies (6%) are the most likely to say that their company uses a single IT interface, while those in industrial companies (49%) are the least likely to say so. 19

23 FLASH EUROBAROMETER Base: Companies that do not outsource customs procedures (N=2146) 2.2. Ease of carrying out customs procedures Respondents were then asked to consider seven types of customs operations, and to say whether they find them easy or difficult to complete. Customs procedures carried out by both import and export companies Complying with controls, enquiries and audits is easy according to 55% of respondents; of these, 7% say this is very easy and 48% fairly easy. Over a fifth of respondents (22%) consider this aspect of customs operations to be difficult, while a similar number of respondents (23%) were unable to answer. A majority of respondents (54%) also think that processing pre-arrival declarations is easy; of these, 9% find it very easy and 45% fairly easy. Only 8% of respondents consider this to be difficult, whereas nearly four out of ten respondents (38%) say they don t know. Submitting transit declarations is easy according to 53% of respondents; of these, 9% say it is very easy and 44% fairly easy. Just 8% regard this operation as difficult, while 39% answer don t know. 2

24 FLASH EUROBAROMETER Base: Companies that do not outsource customs procedures (N=2146) Over half of respondents in all but four countries say that complying with controls, enquiries and audits is easy. This view is most widely held in Greece (76%), Romania (69%) and the UK (67%). There are four countries where less than 5% of respondents find this process easy: Estonia (39%), Spain (44%), Sweden (48%) and Denmark (48%). Respondents are most likely to say that complying with controls, enquiries and audits is difficult in Spain (38%) and Belgium (32%) while they are most likely to answer don t know in Estonia (42%) and Denmark (39%). Base: Companies that do not outsource customs procedures (N=2146) Again, over half of respondents in all but four countries think that processing prearrival declarations is easy. Roughly three-quarters of respondents in Romania (75%) and Greece (74%) say this, as opposed to only 34% in the Netherlands and 4% in Lithuania. Respondents are most likely to say that this is difficult in Bulgaria and Belgium (both 18%). In four countries, don t know is the most common answer, namely Lithuania (57%), the Netherlands (55%), Denmark (48%) and Sweden (47%). 21

25 FLASH EUROBAROMETER Base: Companies that do not outsource the customs procedures (N=2146) However, there are only 11 countries in which over 5% of respondents say that submitting transit declarations is easy. The proportion of respondents who say it is easy ranges from 69% in Spain and 67% in both the Netherlands and the UK, to just 3% in Sweden and 31% in Germany. Respondents are most likely to say that this is a difficult process in Belgium (21%) and Estonia (1%). In three countries, don t know is the most common answer: Germany (64%), Sweden (61%) and Lithuania (59%). Base: Companies that do not outsource customs procedures (N=2146) Note: The base for Estonia for Q4A is 26 respondents whose companies carry out customs procedures internally. 22

26 FLASH EUROBAROMETER Customs procedures carried out by import companies 76% of respondents whose companies are importers say that they find paying import charges easy, of whom 27% say it is very easy and 49% fairly easy. Only 6% say they find this difficult, while almost two in ten respondents (18%) could not answer. Almost two-thirds of respondents (64%) say that submitting import declarations is easy, 13% saying this is a very easy process, and 51% saying it is fairly easy. One in ten (1%) say this is difficult, while 26% don t know. Just over half of respondents (54%) say that calculating import charges is an easy customs operation, of whom 12% say it is very easy, and 42% fairly easy. 18% find this difficult, while 28% are unable to answer. Base: Companies that do not outsource customs procedures and are importers (N=1465) More than six in ten respondents whose companies are importers say that paying import charges is an easy process. The highest proportion who say this can be found in Romania (91%), Belgium (89%) and Latvia (87%), while the lowest proportion can be found in Spain (63%), Denmark and Germany (both 67%). Respondents are most likely to say that this process is difficult in Bulgaria (17%), Greece (15%), Denmark (14%), and Portugal and Spain (both 13 %), and most likely to say they don t know in Germany (27%), France (26%), and Lithuania and Spain (both 24%). 23

27 FLASH EUROBAROMETER Base: Companies that do not outsource customs procedures and are importers (N=1465) More than half of respondents in all countries think that submitting import declarations is easy, ranging from 89% in Estonia, 87% in Romania and 86% in Portugal to just 52% in France and 53% in both Denmark and Poland. They are most likely to say that this is difficult in Bulgaria (2%), Belgium (18%), and Latvia and Spain (both 16%). Relatively large numbers of respondents could not answer in Denmark and France (both 4%), Poland (34%) and the Netherlands (3%). Base: Companies that do not outsource the customs procedures and are importers (N=1465) 24

28 FLASH EUROBAROMETER Finally, at least 5% of respondents in 14 countries describe calculating import charges as easy. The proportion of respondents who say it is easy ranges from 79% in Estonia and 76% in Lithuania to just 46% in Spain, and 47% in both France and Germany. Three in ten respondents in Belgium (31%) and Spain (3%) and over a fifth of respondents in the UK (22%) and Greece (21%) think that calculating import charges is difficult. More than three out of ten respondents are unable to answer in six countries: Denmark and Germany (both 39%), Poland (35%), France (34%), Sweden and the Netherlands (both 31%). Base: Companies that do not outsource customs procedures and are importers (N=1465) Note: The base for Estonia for Q4A is 19 respondents whose companies carry out customs procedures internally and are importers. Customs procedures carried out by export companies More than seven in ten respondents (73%) whose companies are exporters say that they find submitting export declarations easy, of whom 16% say it is very easy and 57% fairly easy. Just 9% say it is difficult, while nearly two in ten respondents (18%) don t know. Base: Companies that do not outsource customs procedures and are exporters (N=1791) 25

29 FLASH EUROBAROMETER At least six in ten respondents in all countries say that submitting export declarations is an easy process. Estonia, where all the respondents say that this is easy (1%), is followed by Lithuania (91%) and Romania (9%); the figure drops to 61% in Denmark and 6% in Sweden. 21% of respondents in Belgium and 17% in Sweden find submitting export declarations difficult. The don t know rate is again the highest in Denmark (32%). Base: Companies that do not outsource customs procedures and are exporters (N=1791) Note: The base for Estonia for Q4A is 22 respondents whose companies carry out customs procedures internally and are exporters. The business demographic data show that in all cases, respondents whose companies employ someone in-house to take responsibility for customs procedures are more likely to say that the various customs operations are easy. Respondents who think the impact of electronic customs has been positive are also more likely to say that they find the various customs operations easy. Respondents working in companies where customs procedures are carried out every day are also more likely to find these customs operations easy. 26

30 FLASH EUROBAROMETER Base for Total : Companies that do not outsource customs procedures (N=2146) Base for Import : Companies that do not outsource customs procedures and are importers (N=1465) Base for Export : Companies that do not outsource customs procedures and are exporters (N=1791) 2.3. Frequency of experiencing difficulties when dealing with customs procedures - Problems associated with customs procedures are fairly common in some countries but relatively rare in others - Having considered the relative difficulty of various customs procedures, respondents were then asked whether they face a number of situations when carrying them out. A sixth of respondents (17%) say that they often face difficulties in predicting the length of the customs clearance process. 29% of respondents experience these difficulties from time to time, 3% rarely, and 16% never. One in ten respondents (11%) says they often experience unexpected delays caused by customs procedures. A third (34%) face unexpected delays from time to time, while 37% rarely do, and 14% say they never experience them. Having to submit the same information more than once often happens to 15% of respondents, while a fifth (21%) experience this from time to time. 35% of respondents rarely face this, and 24% say they never do. 27

31 FLASH EUROBAROMETER Almost one in ten respondents (9%) has difficulties in providing the information required by authorities. A quarter of respondents (26%) face these difficulties from time to time, while 4% rarely do so, and 22% never do. Finally, only 4% of respondents say they often have to work with an IT interface that is not easy to use, while 15% of respondents say that they have to do so from time to time, 31% do so rarely, and 27% never do. Nearly a quarter of respondents (23%) say they don t know. Base: Companies that do not outsource customs procedures (N=2146) At the national level, the proportion of respondents who say they often experience difficulties predicting the length of customs clearance process ranges from 28% in Spain and 26% in Lithuania, to just 2% in Romania and 6% in both Bulgaria and the Netherlands. Over 5% of respondents in four countries face difficulties predicting the length of customs procedures either often or from time to time: Lithuania (61%), Italy (57%), Spain (53%) and France (51%). The highest proportion of respondents who rarely or never face these difficulties can be observed in Estonia (68%), followed by Germany (65%), and Sweden (62%). 28

32 FLASH EUROBAROMETER Base: Companies that do not outsource customs procedures (N=2146) The proportion of respondents who say they often face unexpected delays caused by customs procedures ranges from 18% in both Portugal and Spain, to just 1% in Romania and 2% in Latvia. Over 5% of respondents in seven countries experience unexpected delays either often or from time to time: Belgium (6%), Italy (57%), Spain (54%), the UK (52%), Lithuania (52%), Portugal (51%), and Greece (5%). Respondents are most likely to rarely or never face these problems in Romania (79%), followed by Estonia (77%), and Germany (76%). In Romania, 44% of respondents never face unexpected delays caused by customs procedures, and nor do 31% in Bulgaria. Base: Companies that do not outsource customs procedures (N=2146) 29

33 FLASH EUROBAROMETER The proportion of respondents who say that they often have to submit the same information more than once ranges from 2% in the UK and 19% in France, to just 3% in both Estonia and Romania. Respondents are most likely to have to do so in Belgium (49%) followed by France (43%), Italy (41%) and the UK (41%). They are likely to rarely or never to have to re-submit information in Germany (79%), Estonia (76%), and Romania (7%). In Estonia, 58% of respondents never have to do so, nor do 43% in Romania. Base: Companies that do not outsource customs procedures (N=2146) Again the highest proportion of respondents who say that they often have difficulties providing the information required by the authorities can be observed in Spain (18%), followed by Belgium (15%). Very few respondents in Lithuania and Romania (both 2%) experience this problem often. They are most likely to have difficulties providing this information often or from time to time in Belgium (48%), Lithuania (42%) and France (38%). Respondents in Estonia (79%) are most likely to have these difficulties either rarely or never, followed by Romania (71%) and Germany (7%). Respondents are most likely to never experience these issues in Estonia (43%) and Romania (42%). 3

34 FLASH EUROBAROMETER Base: Companies that do not outsource customs procedures (N=2146) Relatively few respondents in all Member States say that they often have to work with an IT interface that is not easy to use (Spain, 8%, has the highest score). Respondents are most likely to have this problem often or from time to time in Lithuania (34%), Poland (26%) and Portugal (25%). Germany and Romania (both 75%) have the highest proportion of respondents who say that they rarely or never have to work with an IT interface that is not easy to use, while they are most likely to say they never have this issue in Romania (45%) and Bulgaria (44%). Base: Companies that do not outsource customs procedures (N=2146) The business demographic data show that service companies are more likely to experience difficulties when dealing with customs procedures than manufacturers, retailers or industrial companies. 31

35 FLASH EUROBAROMETER Companies that conduct customs procedures daily are much more likely to have experienced these difficulties than those who do so less often. Base: Companies that do not outsource customs procedures (N=2146) 2.4. The impact of costs and time delays on the decision to choose points of entry or exit - A majority of respondents say that costs and time delays have no impact on their choice of entry or exit points - Lastly, respondents from companies that do not outsource their customs procedures were asked to what extent differences in customs costs and time delays influence their decision to choose certain points of entry or exit. One in ten respondents (9%) says that costs and time delays influence their decision very much, while a fifth (2%) say they influence them to some extent. A quarter (26%) say that these factors do not really influence their decision, and nearly four out of ten (38%) say that they do not influence them at all. 32

36 FLASH EUROBAROMETER Base: Companies that do not outsource customs procedures (N=2146) In most countries, relatively few respondents say that costs and time delays greatly influence their decision to choose certain points of entry or exit, but they are most likely to do so in Greece (21%), Romania (19%), Portugal (16%) and Bulgaria (16%). Respondents in Spain (59%) are most likely to say that costs and time delays influence their decision either very much or to some extent, followed by Lithuania (46%), Poland and Romania (both 43%). In contrast, these factors do not really influence the decision, or do not influence it at all, in Sweden (87%) followed by Latvia and Estonia (both 83%). In four countries over half the respondents say that costs and time delays do not influence their decisions at all: Estonia (67%), the Sweden (64%), Latvia (53%) and Germany (51%). 33

37 FLASH EUROBAROMETER Base: Companies that do not outsource customs procedures (N=2146) The business demographic data show that differences in customs costs and time delays tend to influence retail companies (12%) more than manufacturing and services (both 6%) or industrial companies (4%) when choosing points of entry or exit. Companies with a turnover of less than 1, euros are less influenced by customs costs and time delays (29%) than companies with a larger turnover (38%-46%). These factors have most influence (46%) in companies whose turnover exceeded 1 million euros in

38 FLASH EUROBAROMETER Base: Companies that do not outsource customs procedures (N=2146) 35

39 FLASH EUROBAROMETER III. VIEWS OF COMPANIES THAT OUTSOURCE CUSTOMS PROCEDURES 3.1. Reasons for outsourcing customs procedures - Half of companies outsourcing their customs procedures do so because their staff lack the required expertise - Respondents who previously said that their company outsources its customs procedures were now asked about the reasons behind that approach. Nearly half (47%) of this group say that their staff does not have the required expertise to comply with these procedures. Just under a third say that customs procedures are too complex (32%), too timeconsuming (31%), or that they are rarely needed in their company (3%). A fifth of respondents (21%) say that conducting in-house procedures is too costly, while 13% spontaneously give other reasons. (MAXIMUM 3 ANSWERS) Base: Companies that outsource customs procedures (N=657) 36

40 FLASH EUROBAROMETER At national level, at least six in ten respondents say that their company s staff lack the required expertise in Belgium (79%), the Netherlands (65%), Greece (6%), and the UK (6%). But at the other end of the scale only 12% of respondents in Romania give this reason for their company s outsourcing of customs procedures, as do 23% in Lithuania and 25% in Bulgaria. Over half the respondents in Belgium (63%) and Denmark (56%) say that their company outsources these operations because customs procedures are too complex. In contrast very few respondents give this reason in Lithuania (3%), or in Bulgaria and Estonia (both 6%). The time-consuming nature of customs procedures is a very common reason for outsourcing in Denmark (75%) and Germany (63%). Elsewhere, for instance in Romania (6%) and in Estonia and Portugal (both 13%), relatively few respondents mention this. Over half the respondents in Germany (68%) and Estonia (65%) say that their company outsources its customs procedures because they are rarely needed in their company. On the other hand, relatively few respondents in Romania (3%) and Denmark (12%) give this answer. Respondents in the Netherlands (4%) and Germany (35%) are most likely to say that their companies outsource because conducting customs procedures in-house would be too costly. Cost is much less of a factor in Estonia (4%), Romania (6%) and Sweden (7%). At least three in ten respondents cite other reasons for the decision to outsource in Romania (45%), Lithuania (33%) and Portugal (3%). 37

41 FLASH EUROBAROMETER (MULTIPLE ANSWERS POSSIBLE) Base: Companies that outsource customs procedures (N=657) Business demographic data suggest that importers are more likely than exporters to attribute their decision to outsource to the fact that their staff lack the required expertise (51% vs. 42%) or that customs procedures are too complex (36% vs. 3%). Exporters are more likely to say that customs procedures are rarely needed in their company (3% vs. 23%). The geographical areas from which goods are imported have a noticeable bearing on the reasons given for outsourcing. For example, 48% of respondents importing from Brazil say that conducting in-house customs procedures is too costly, compared with 24% importing from China, Asia except China, or a European country outside the EU. Additionally, 68% of those who import from Africa say that their staff lacks the required expertise, compared with 34% of those who import from Brazil. Respondents in a company with turnover of less than 1, euros are much more likely than those in a company with turnover of more than 5 million euros to say that customs procedures are rarely needed (75% vs. 12%) in the company. 38

42 FLASH EUROBAROMETER While 44% of respondents who work for industrial companies say that they outsource customs procedures because they are too costly in-house, only 14% of respondents in retail companies say this. However, a majority (56%) of respondents in retail companies attribute the decision to outsource to the lack of expertise, whereas only 37% of respondents in manufacturing companies do so. (MULTIPLE ANSWERS POSSIBLE) Base: Companies that outsource customs procedures (N=657) 39

43 FLASH EUROBAROMETER 3.2. Location of outsourcing providers - Most companies that outsource their customs operations use a company based in their own country - The vast majority (93%) of respondents whose companies outsource their customs procedures say that the outsourcing company is in the same Member State. One in ten (1%) says that the outsourcing company is in the Member State that is their main point of entry/exit for their imports/exports, while 5% say that it is in another EU Member State. Just 3% say the outsourcing company is outside the EU. (MULTIPLE ANSWERS POSSIBLE) Base: Companies that outsource customs procedures (N=657) Romania stands out here as having by far the lowest proportion of respondents (31%) who say that the outsourcing company is in the same Member State. France (88%), Portugal (88%) and Sweden (89%) are the only other countries in which less than 9% of respondents give this answer. Belgium (58%) has the highest proportion of respondents who say that the outsourcing company is in the Member State that is the main point of entry/exit for imports/exports, followed by Denmark (19%) and France (16%). Relatively few respondents in most countries say that the outsourcing company is in a different EU Member State. Respondents in Latvia (18%) and Belgium (13%) are most likely to say this. Again, in most countries very few respondents say that the outsourcing company is in a country outside the EU. However, several Member States stand out in this regard, namely Romania (36%), Belgium (18%), and Sweden (15%). 4

44 FLASH EUROBAROMETER (MULTIPLE ANSWERS POSSIBLE) Base: Companies that outsource customs procedures (N=657) The business demographic data show that companies that import from Africa (23%) are much more likely than those that import from other regions to use an outsourcing company based in a Member State that is not their main point of entry/exit. Only 3-8% of respondents whose companies import/export from other regions give this answer. Companies that import/export from a European country outside the EU (22%) are the most likely to use a provider based in the Member State that is their main point of entry/exit. Respondents from a company with turnover of less than 1, euros (38%) are by far the most likely to use an outsourcing company based in a Member State that is not their main point of entry/exit. Only 1-6% of respondents at companies with higher turnovers give this answer. 41

45 FLASH EUROBAROMETER (MULTIPLE ANSWERS POSSIBLE) Base: Companies that outsource customs procedures (N=657) 3.3. Ease of completing different operations related to customs procedures - Over half the respondents think that customs-related operations are easy, apart from complying with controls, enquiries and audits - The focus now shifts to the relative difficulty of the various outsourced customs procedures. Customs procedures carried out for both import and export companies Over six in ten respondents (62%) say that providing the required information for transit declarations is easy, with 16% finding this very easy and 46% fairly easy. One in ten (11%) think that this is difficult. A little over a quarter (27%) don t know. However, fewer than half of the respondents (47%) think that complying with control, enquiries and audits is easy: of these, 9% say it is very easy and 38% fairly easy. A fifth of respondents (21%) think that this is difficult, while nearly a third (32%) say they don t know. 42

46 FLASH EUROBAROMETER Base: Companies that outsource the customs procedures (N=657) Note: The bases for 5 countries consist of fewer than 3 respondents whose companies outsource customs procedures: Denmark (27), Germany (19), Greece (25), Latvia (23) and Romania (14.) Thus we only present the overall results. Customs procedures carried out for import companies Three-quarters of respondents (75%) say that paying import charges is easy, of whom 3% say it is very easy and 45% fairly easy. Just 11% say this is difficult, while 14% were unable to answer. Almost seven in ten respondents (69%) say that providing the required information for import declarations is easy, with 2% finding this part of the process very easy and 49% finding it fairly easy. 12% think that it is difficult; no respondents at all find this very difficult (%), though 19% don t know. Base: Companies that outsource customs procedures and are importers (N=471) 43

47 FLASH EUROBAROMETER Note: The bases for 8 countries consist of fewer than 3 respondents from importing companies that outsource customs procedures: Denmark (18), Germany (16), Greece (19), France (23), Latvia (19), Portugal (26), Romania (8) and Sweden (29). Thus we only present the overall results. Customs procedures carried out for export companies Again, almost seven in ten respondents (68%) say that providing the required information for export declarations is easy, with 2% finding this very easy and 48% finding it fairly easy. 18% of respondents say that this is difficult, of whom only 1% find it very difficult. 14% don t know. Base: Companies that outsource the customs procedures and are exporters (N=475) Note: The bases for 9 countries consist of fewer than 3 respondents in exporting companies that outsource customs procedures: Denmark (23), Germany (16), Greece (15), France (29), Italy (29), Latvia (12), Lithuania (18), Romania (7) and the UK (27). Thus we only present the overall results. The business demographic data show that in most cases, respondents for whom the impact of electronic customs has been positive are more likely to say that customs operations are easy. For example, 67% of those who think the impact of electronic customs has been positive find it easy to provide the required information for transit declarations, compared with 41% of those who feel that impact has been negative. 44

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