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Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania
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SACL has decided to refer to the CJEU for a preliminary ruling in the customs case

SACL has decided to refer to the CJEU for a preliminary ruling in the customs case
2020-02-05

By its decision of 29 January 2020, the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania (SACL) has decided to refer to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) for a preliminary ruling in an administrative case in which the question was raised, inter alia, as to whether the customs value of goods calculated using the transaction value method should include charges for the transport of goods incurred by the seller/manufacturer of these goods up to their place of introduction into the customs territory of the European Union (the Lithuanian border).

Pursuant to the contract for the purchase of the goods at issue, the seller/manufacturer was obliged to deliver the goods to the said point (the Lithuanian border). There was also no data in the case that the seller/manufacturer was obliged to deliver the goods at issue to their place of introduction into the customs territory of the Union free of charge, i.e. that the agreed sales price did not include charges for the transport of goods. However, it was found that the actual charges of transporting the goods to the said point incurred by the seller/manufacturer exceeded the price actually paid by the buyer.

On the other hand, the goods at issue (technical-grade sulphuric acid) were a by-product of the seller’s/manufacturer’s manufacturing process, which he was unable to store and process, and disposal would have resulted in extremely high costs. Therefore, it was economically advantageous/valuable for the seller/manufacturer to sell these goods for the price agreed in the purchase and sale agreement, even if this price did not cover all of the charges for the transport of goods incurred thereby.

Under the circumstances, the chamber of judges of the SACL has decided to refer to the CJEU to request for a preliminary ruling on the question of whether the Council Regulation (EEC) establishing the Community Customs Code and the Union Customs Code should be interpreted as meaning that the transaction/customs value must be adjusted to include all charges for the transport of goods actually incurred by the seller/manufacturer up to their place of introduction into the customs territory of the Union (Community) when, in this case, the manufacturer was responsible for bearing these costs according to the terms of supply of the goods and these charges for the transport of goods exceeded the agreed price actually paid by the buyer, but the price paid by the buyer corresponded to the real value of the goods, even if this price was not sufficient to cover all of the charges for the transport of goods incurred by the manufacturer.

Photo by Aušrinė Tilindė