Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the European Union (hereinafter the “EU”) continues to put in place restrictive measures to sanction Russian’s actions. The main objective of the EU, is to limit Russia’s abilities to finance the war against Ukraine. Regulation No. 833/2014 is a perfect example. This Regulation establishes sanctions aiming to limit or prohibit the import or export of some products originating in Russia.
This consolidated Regulation was amended by Council Regulation 2023/1214 of 23rd of June 2023. This amendment added a subparagraph d) to Article 3g of the Regulation, according to which: it is prohibited to import, purchase or transfer goods listed in Annex XVII of the Regulation, containing steel inputs, listed in the same Annex, and originating in Russia or from Russia. In other words, this modification of the consolidated regulation, establishes a ban on import, purchase or transfer of steel products listed in Annex XVII of the Regulation, once they have been transformed in a third country by incorporating products listed in this Annex, originating in Russia. Annex XVII covers, among other things, iron, iron wires and bars, tanks, vats, nails, screws and bolts.
Subparagraph d) of Article 3g will enter into force on 30th of September 2023. There are, however, nuances regarding products listed in Annex XVII, and falling under the customs nomenclature 7207 11. Indeed, for these products, the ban will start as of 1st of April 2024. Concerning products falling under the customs nomenclature 7207 12 10 or 7224 90, the prohibition will start on the 1st of October 2024.
The Commission just published its “FAQs” on this subject. It is recalled that, the ban provided in Article 3g (d), only concerns steel listed in Annex XVII, and more precisely tariff headings 7206 to 7229 of Chapter 72 and the full Chapter 73. It also shall be underlined that, the third country where the processing takes place, is of no importance.
In addition, products that can be considered as metal packaging, and which are solely intended to contain the goods to be imported, purchased or transferred, are not subject to this Article.
The same applies to products which are already in free circulation within the Union.
Nonetheless, this ban will apply to imports entering into the Union from 30th September 2023, only if, these goods were manufactured or produced after 23rd June 2023. The Commission also highlighted in its FAQs that: if the above-mentioned goods are already in the Union’s territory, and have been presented to the customs authorities before 30th September 2023, Article 12e of the Regulation applies (release possible for goods physically located in the Union subject to their date of entry).
Finally, in order to ensure the good application of these measures, the proof of origin when release for free circulation into the EU territory, is an essential element. The Commission stated in its FAQs that, the “Mill Test Certificate” (MTC) will be one type of documents, among others, to prove the origin of semifinished and finished products.
When products listed in Annex XVII of the Regulation, are released for free circulation, one of the following codes must be specified: L139, Y859 or Y824. The first code certifies that: finished products or their steel inputs are coming from or originating in Russia, but they benefit from the exemption provided by subparagraph 7 of Article 3g of the Regulation (nuclear sector). By using the code Y824, the importer will certify that, the products and inputs, do not originate in or come from Russia. Finally, the code Y859, must be mentioned if the importer wishes to benefit from the exemption provided by Article 12e of the Regulation.
European Commission’s FAQs : FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – AS OF 2 OCTOBER 2023
French Customs General Directorate ‘s Note to operators of the 21.09.2023 link: Operators Note
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