1. CUSTOMS UNION
Following Bulgaria’s accession to the European Union (EU) and its gaining full member status as of 01.01.2007, a number of changes and specific developments occurred in the foreign trade and customs regime in regard to exports and imports of goods. More specifically, the new developments concerned the direct application of Community acquits, which regulates the common procedures, tariff and non-tariff measures (prohibitions and restrictions) on exports and imports of goods “to” and “from” non-member states and uniform customs control instruments. The basic acts in the area of EU customs acquits are as follows:
• Council Regulation (EEC) No. 2913/92 of 12 October 1992 establishing the Community Customs Code;
• Commission Regulation (EEC) No. 2454/93 of 2 July 1993 laying down provisions for the implementation of Council Regulation (EEC) No 2913/92 establishing the Community Customs Code, as amended and supplemented;
• Regulation (EC) N0 450/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2008 laying down the Community Customs Code (Modernised Customs Code), whose implementation shall be completed by 24 June 2013 at the latest.
It must be pointed out that Bulgaria’s national legislation in this area was not superseded entirely. The issues, related to the status and powers of the customs administration, as well as those, related to performance of post-clearance control, are regulated at the national level. Likewise, the administrative and penal provisions of the Customs Act, more specifically the texts defining components of customs violations, as well as the rules for establishment of such violations and for sanctioning of offenders, are also in effect. Apart form that the Bulgarian customs authorities are also responsible for the administration of excise tax and the control over excise goods -in general alcohol and tobacco products, energy products. They exercise certain controlling powers with respect to the observance of the national currency regime at the carrying cash from or to third countries, as well as in certain cases from and to other member-states.
As a full EU member, on 01.01.2007 Bulgaria became also an equal participant in the Single Market of the EU. Likewise, domestic legislation in the respective areas was brought into conformity with the legislation of the Community – the acquis communautaire.
Thus Bulgaria gained access to the vast European market with a population of more than 500 million consumers and should now take up its niche in the manufacturing specialization of unified Europe, as well as an appropriate share in intra-European trade. In addition it must actively participate in the process of achievement of one of the basic goals of European integration - transition to economic and monetary union of the countries of the EU.
1. CUSTOMS UNION
At its accession to the EU Bulgaria eliminated the customs duties in its trade with the other European Union Member States and started applying the Common Customs Tariff of the EU in its trade with non-member states. The Common Customs Tariff requires levying of the same duties on products, imported from third countries. In addition, it is used by the EU as an instrument for regulation of international trade. EU keeps adapting the Common Customs Tariff to the results of negotiations for tariff reduction within the framework of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), recently applied by the World Trade Organization (WTO). In respect of Bulgaria, the agreements reached as a result of tariff negotiations led to a decline in imports from non-EU states of industrial goods on average from 9% to 4% and for agricultural and food products - on average from 22% to 16%.