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January - February 2021

"Rex Operator Portal": a new platform for exporters

The portal has been active since 25 January, enabling the self-certification of the preferential origin of goods. The site makes it possible to issue a “proof of origin” to be affixed to the commercial or transport documents accompanying the goods. This procedure, which follows Brexit, will significantly streamline customs procedures between Great Britain and the European Union

The trade agreements concluded between London and Brussels have established a preferential customs scheme for manufacturers from Great Britain and the European Union. To access this schemer, it is necessary to comply with specific procedures, which are also executed electronically. The new “Rex operator portal” will be active from 25 January 2021. This fully computerised system will allow operators to register, through an online procedure, in the Rex registered exporters database (Customs Agency, Circular No 4/D of 20 January 2021).

The Rex system allows users to self-certify the preferential origin of goods directly on an invoice or other document identifying the goods.

This database, already used under the Free Trade Agreements between the European Union and Canada (CETA), Japan (JEFTA) and Vietnam (EVFTA), is now also adopted for trade with the United Kingdom.

As is well known, as of 1st January 2021, the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and the UK will be provisionally in force, providing for zero customs duties and import quotas for products originating in either party. This facilitation is, however, linked to two distinct conditions. From a material point of view, only products that are wholly obtained in an EU Member State or in the UK or goods that have undergone suitable processing in accordance with the rules of the Agreement, which vary from product to product, can benefit from the exemption or reduction of import duties. From a procedural point of view, the goods must also be accompanied by a statement of preferential origin.

In particular, the Agreement provides for two alternative ways of proving preferential origin, namely self-certification by the exporter and knowledge by the importer of the originating status of the goods.

In this regard, the Customs Agency has specified that Italian exporters can only certify the preferential origin of products if they are registered in the Rex database, unless the total shipment value does not exceed €6,000 (Customs Agency, Circular No. 49/D of 30 December 2020).

It should be pointed out that, pending the activation of the new platform for Rex registration (now implemented), the Italian Customs Agency has temporarily provided for the possibility of certifying preferential origin by means of its Eori code. With the introduction of the new portal however, companies are required to take action as soon as possible to obtain the status of "registered exporters" in order to benefit from the facilitated export procedures in the UK.

But what are the advantages of the new system? Compared to the traditional paper certification procedure, the Rex system enables proof of origin to be issued independently, without the need for intervention by customs offices or other authorities, to be affixed to the commercial or transport documents accompanying the goods, with a significant streamlining of customs procedures and a consequent reduction in costs and time.

Therefore, in cases where Rex registration is required, a paper certificate of origin need not be issued in relation to each export transaction. Customs may still carry out checks and verifications on the correct determination of the preferential origin of the goods.

This is, in any case, a major simplification.

In its circular No 4/D of 20 January, the Customs Agency has established that the application for registration in the Rex system can be made online, on the new platform. The Portal has been operational since 25 January 2021, but is still temporarily optional. Until the second half of 2021, operators can continue to submit the application in paper form to the competent territorial office. Thereafter, the use of the Rex Portal will be definitively mandatory.

Among the services available after registration, there is the possibility of accessing one's own profile and to request the changes to an existing registration. In order to access the Portal, the user must have an Eori code and an authorisation to consult the database or submit a new registration or any requests for changes. These authorisations can be requested through the Single Authorisation Model (MAU), which users can access using their SPID, CNS or CIE credentials.

The online service also has a dedicated helpdesk for technical, legal and procedural questions.

by Sara Armella

Keywords: Brexit Goods Customs
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