ICS 2: Europe strengthens its import system
With the aim of strengthening protection against customs threats within the Common Risk Management Framework (CRMF), the EU is implementing a new import control system known as the Import Control System 2 (ICS2), which is a new system based on information technologies (IT) that seeks to obtain advance information about cargo before it enters the borders of the European Union, with the goal of ensuring that all imported goods are safe and protected. It represents the first line of defense in terms of protecting the internal market and consumers.
In this sense, this new customs procedure responds to the EU's objective of establishing a new security and protection program before the arrival of goods at customs "to facilitate the free flow of trade through optimized customs security processes based on data and adapted to global business models," explained by the Customs Department of the Tax Agency.
Thus, as explained by the President of the General Council of Customs Agents (CGAA), Antonio Llobet, "this advanced cargo information system is a new regulatory regime for customs security designed to better protect the single market and EU citizens. Like the current but improved system, it will attempt to collect data on all goods entering the EU before they arrive."
<<The ICS2 is responsible for collecting data from EOs on goods entering the EU before their arrival.>>
For its part, the European Commission details that "the pre-arrival protection and security program will support effective risk-based customs controls while facilitating the free flow of legitimate trade across the EU's external borders," and furthermore, "represents the first line of defense in terms of protecting the EU's internal market and consumers. The new program will reshape the existing process in terms of information technologies (IT), legal, management/customs risk controls, and perspectives in commercial operations." In summary, the ICS2 is responsible for collecting data on all goods entering the EU before their arrival, through the information provided by economic operators (EOs). "Advance cargo information and risk analysis will allow for early identification of threats and help customs authorities to intervene at the most appropriate point in the supply chain," detailed by the European Commission.
How does ICS2 work?
Although the European Union's Import Control System 2 (ICS2) came into operation in a first phase on March 15, 2021, its real impact will be noticed in March of this year, as it obliges a large part of economic operators to modify their operations and adapt to these new customs information requirements. As explained by the European Commission, Economic Operators (EOs) must declare security and protection data to ICS2 through the Summary Entry Declaration (ENS). It also details that the obligation to start the presentation of such declarations will not be the same for all EOs, as "it will depend on the type of services they provide in the international movement of goods".
Thus, each EO is required to submit this security and protection data on one of the three launch dates of ICS2. This new system is being implemented in three deliveries or phases.
As indicated, the first of them began in March 2021 for economic operators in the air sector of urgent shipments, prior to loading, and postal shipments, prior to loading, destined for the European customs territory.
Secondly, as of March 1, 2023, that is, in less than two weeks, the entire air sector must present the data to ICS2 on a mandatory basis. Thus, urgent, postal, and general cargo air transport operators will be required to submit the required information without exception, through the ENS, which forces exporters, importers, airlines, and cargo transport companies to align.
The third phase affects maritime, road, and rail transport, but it is not until March 1, 2024, when economic operators in these modes will be required to submit security and protection data for goods to European customs before they enter them.
Who does it affect?
The implementation of ICS2 directly affects "all economic operators who participate in handling, dispatching, and transporting goods and urgent and postal shipments," as explained by the Customs Department of the Tax Agency, which adds that "all manufacturers, exporters, and individuals established outside the EU who wish to send goods to or through the EU will have to provide the necessary information to the parties affected directly."
In this regard, the European Commission details that the main affected parties are postal service operators, within and outside the EU, who are required to submit data to ICS2 from the first delivery; urgent transport companies, also obliged since March 2021; cargo air transport companies, obliged since the second delivery; transit logistics service providers, obliged since March 2023 for the air sector and for the rest of the modes in March 2024; maritime, road, and rail transport companies, as of March 2024; and recipients of goods received by sea established in the EU, from the third delivery.
Increased security and protection
With the establishment of the new Import Control System 2 (ICS2), the European Union is strengthening the security and protection of goods entering EU borders, which results in greater protection for all citizens and the trade of member states. By obtaining information about the cargo before it enters European borders, customs have a wider margin of time to identify possible threats and eradicate them more efficiently. In this sense, the ICS2 has a series of advantages that improve the currently active system and are explained by the European Commission. First, the ICS2 strengthens the protection of EU citizens and the internal market against threats that endanger their security.
Second, this new import control system allows EU customs authorities to more easily identify high-risk shipments and intervene at the most opportune point in the supply chain. In addition, the ICS2 supports specific and proportionate customs measures at the external borders in crisis response scenarios.
On the other hand, the ICS2 facilitates cross-border clearance of legitimate trade, which is the reduce the risk of delays or complications in the customs clearance process.
Overall, the implementation of ICS2 represents a significant change for businesses involved in the import and export of goods to and from the EU. It is important for these businesses to understand the new requirements and ensure that they are in compliance in order to avoid any potential disruptions to their operations.
In conclusion, the Import Control System 2 (ICS2) is a new system implemented by the European Union to improve the security and protection of goods entering its borders. It requires operators involved in the import and export of goods to submit information on security and protection to customs authorities in advance, allowing them to identify potential threats and intervene as necessary. The implementation of ICS2 represents a significant change for businesses involved in the international movement of goods, and it is important for these businesses to ensure they are in compliance with the new requirements to avoid disruptions to their operations.