It really has happened! The European Union has a new Customs legislation in place. Some people said that it would never happen, but now it has – the Union Customs Code (UCC) is operational. I remember when we started talking about updating the legislation, to develop a new Customs act – and this is when I was still working in the top managment of Swedish Customs many years ago – so it is indeed really something to acknowledge and celebrate. 

On May 1 the new European Union Customs Code entered into force. We have a liftoff! 

It is naturally not an easy process to modernize, upgrade and re-write a piece of legislation for a Customs Union of 28 countries. After all we talk about a Customs Union covering a region with 500 million people and some of the largest trading nations on the planet. 

The Union Customs Code (UCC) is part ofthe modernization of customs and serves as the new framework regulation on the rules and procedures for customs throughout EU and is meant as a natural evolution towards a modern customs environment for which the results and benefits will be grasped only when it will be implemented in its full capacity by the end of 2020. In summary UCC will:

  • Streamline customs legislation and procedures,
  • Offer greater legal certainty and uniformity to businesses,
  • Increase clarity for customs officials throughout the EU,
  • Simplify customs rules and procedures and facilitate more efficient customs transactions in line with modern-day needs,
  • Complete the shift by Customs to a paperless and fully electronic and interoperable environment,
  • Reinforce swifter customs procedures for compliant and trustworthy economic operators (AEO)

The intention is not only to modernize the Customs legislation but also to enhance the competitiveness of European businesses and thereby advance the main goals of the EU strategy for growth and jobs. In addition, the changes envisaged by 2020 will protect the flow of goods transiting or moving in and out of the Union and safeguard the financial and economic interests of the Union and of the Member States as well as the safety and security requirements.

There will be a transition period before full implementation is achieved due to the fact that there is a need to develop new IT systems or upgrade existing ones in order to fully implement the legal requirements. This transition period lasts from May 1 2016 until 31 December 2020 at the latest.

I want to congratulate all the hard working Customs officers and legal experts – I know many of them personally – that have done an enourmous contribution to the Customs community and to world trade over the last decade to pave the way for this new legislation, to negotiate the content and changes, design and develop it, writing the actual texts and to implement this Customs Act. It is a milestone acheivement. 

For the rest of us? It is time to start reading the Customs law, again….well, some of us does that all the time anyway. 

Today I also got a chance to cruise the streets of Dubai and Abu Dhabi with Batmans car, the batmobile. Here with my co-driver, my longtime good friend Suoud Alagroobi. 

After having had coffee at the Bruce Wayne residence, Batman appeared and asked if we wanted to take a cruise drive in his famous car. We said naturally yes. 

I asked if I could borrow the Batman suit, but it is only availble in slim-fit sizes so that was unfortunately not an option. 

Welcome to the worlds largest hand-llomed carpet, the fastest roller-coaste, the highest high tea, the tower withvthe greatest lean, the most interesting Formula 1 racetrack, the largest cluster lf cultural buildings of the 21st century – UAE capital Abu Dhabi isn’t afraid to challenge the world records. It is an exciting city where nothing stands still. 

For those of you who have visited Dubai but not Abu Dhabi in the past, go to both cities next time. It is only a 1,5 hour car ride between on the straightest highway in the world.

I can asure you that it is worth it to visit UAE. It is a fascinating country.

The Africa we once knew and that most people in the West still think exists is not there anymore. In fact the view most people have of the wonderful African continent is fundamentally wrong. 

Africa today is a young, prosperous, modern and fast growing region of the world. Listen to Professor Hans Rosling when he describes the real situation supported by emperic evidence and statistics and you will find amazing and promising news. I urge you to search for Professor Roslings speeched on YouTube. 

Africa is many things, but not what we think it is. In fact the real story is much better than any dreams we might have had for this, the continent of the future. I have personally visited almost all of the countries on Africa, many of them several times over a long time period. Change is very present in most places, not everywhere – but still. 

World Economic Forum has recently presented compiled statistics from IMF and own sources about the fastest growing African economies. Africa is the future for all of us. 

You find the article here:

Early bird coffee at Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Dubai this morning. Waiting for a friend. We are onnour way to Abu Dhabi this morning. 

Ot is always exiting talkng the highway from Dubai to Abu Dhabi or the other way around. 

Once and not very long ago, there were only sand here. Now two of the most modern and futuristisk vities in the world are situated only 1.5 hour by car beside each other in the desert. It is amazing and impressive in so many ways. 

I have been going to Abu Dhabi and Dubai the last two decades and the changes are unbelievable to comprehend. When you see the new areas taking shape you realize that nothing is impossible.  

I am in Dubai for a few days working with our client Dubai Customs. Together we are building the most modern AEO programme in the world, AEO UAE – that will be pilot tested in Dubai by Dubai Customs. We are virtually designing the future. This is a fascinating country in relation development. 

Dubai is growing, very fast. The World Expo 2020 is getting closer and is soon here. Dubai and UAE is getting ready.

It is a pleasure to work with Dubai Customs. The Top Managment has visions and strategic capability, the AEO Programme Management is excellent and the AEO Team here is absolutely great. 

We are now testing the AEO UAE programme with a pilot phase including 12 companies. Later this year the concept will go live and operational. We in KGH has a very experienced and qualified team present in Dubai working full time with this specific project. It is a pleasure to be a part of making history when we are breaking new grounds for compliance managment, introducing a number of new features. We are designing the future. Together.