Since 15 September 2020, the EORI number has become mandatory to obtain customs measures: the seizure request forms have been modified to impose the mention of the EORI number.
What is the EORI number?
The “EORI” number (“Economic Operator Registration and Identification”) is unique to each economic operator (or representative of economic operators) for the entire European Union (“EU”) and is issued by a customs authority of a Member State. It is used to identify economic operators and other parties involved in all their dealings with customs authorities (in particular for the import and export of goods). It is intended to simplify the administrative tasks of economic operators.
This identification number will allow secure access to the European Union Customs Trader Portal. It allows economic operators and their representatives to electronically submit application forms requesting customs action with respect to goods suspected of infringing an intellectual property right, as well as application forms for an extension of the period during which a customs action is to be taken.
And in practice?
Each economic operator established in the customs territory of the EU must obtain its EORI number from the customs authorities of the Member State in which it is established. Economic operators not established in the customs territory of the EU must also be in possession of an EORI number to import or export goods. Such operators will have to apply for this purpose to the customs authority of the place where they intend to carry out their first customs activities, and the authority will grant them an EORI number. This procedure will also have to be followed by UK companies for which the UK EORI number will no longer be valid for customs activities in the EU after the end of the Brexit transition period (currently scheduled to end on 31 December 2020).
The procedure in Belgium
The companies or persons established in Belgium must, before submitting an application, verify whether or not they have already been assigned an EORI number. To do so, they must consult the EORI database (here) and enter their enterprise number preceded by “BE”. A message will then indicate whether their EORI number already exists. If this is not the case, an application form must be sent to the FPS Finance (Customs and Excise), which is available here.
Therefore, we recommend that all right holders make sure, as of today, that they are in possession of a valid EORI number (EORI online database available here), even if they do not usually carry out an activity involving contact with the customs authorities. In fact, in addition to the import and export, this number makes it possible to act quickly and have goods infringing intellectual property rights blocked by customs.
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