The European Court of Justice (CJEU) has published a Judgment in respect of certain types of set-top boxes, which clarifies the scope of subheading 8528 71 13,

2. Background  

Subheading 8528 71 13 covered;

“Apparatus with a microprocessor-based device incorporating a modem for gaining access to the Internet, and having a function of interactive information exchange, capable of receiving television signals (‘set-top boxes with communication function’)”

The CJEU were asked for a preliminary ruling relating to the structure of subheading 8528 71 in joined cases:

Digitalnet OOD (C-320/11 and C-383/11)

Tsifrova Kompanioa OOD (C-330/11)

M Sat Cable AD (C-382/11)

A number of questions were asked, primarily, what do the terms ‘modem’ and ‘access to the internet’ mean?

In summary, the Court ruled:

“for the purposes of classification of goods under subheading 8528 71 13, a modem for gaining access to the internet is a device which, alone and without the intervention of any other apparatus or mechanism, is capable of accessing the internet and of ensuring interactivity and an exchange of information in both directions. It is solely the capacity to gain access to the internet, and not the technique used to achieve this, that is relevant for the purposes of classification under that subheading.

That Combined Nomenclature must be interpreted as meaning that the reception of television signals and the presence of a modem allowing access to the internet are two equivalent functions that apparatus must perform in order to be classified under subheading 8528 71 13. In the absence of one or other of those functions, that apparatus must be classified under subheading 8528 71 19.”

An apparatus of CN code 8528 71 13 must be capable of receiving television signals and must incorporate a modem for gaining access to the internet and having a function of interactive information exchange. In the absence of one of the latter two characteristics the apparatus must be classified under CN code 8528 71 19.

COMMISSION REGULATION (EC) No 1192/2008 of 17 November 2008 amending Regulation (EEC) No 2454/93 laying down provisions for the implementation of Council Regulation (EEC) No 2913/92 establishing the Community Customs Code. This Regiualtion merges the existing definitions of ‘single authorisation’ relating to customs procedures with economic impact and end-use with those for the simplified declaration and the local clearance procedure, due to the fact that these procedures may be combined when used.

Single Authorisation

Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical (“REACH”) Regulation

REACH is a new European Community Regulation on chemicals and their safe use and entered into force on 1 June 2007 and will take effect on 1 June 2008. The aim of REACH is to ensure a high level of protection of human health and the environment as well as the free movement of substances, on their own, in preparations and in articles, while enhancing competitiveness and innovation. REACH should also promote the development of alternative methods for the assessment of hazards of substances. REACH is based on the principle that it is for manufacturers, importers and downstream users to ensure that they manufacture, place on the market or use such substances that do not adversely affect human health or the environment. Its provisions are underpinned by the precautionary principle. The legislation will require virtually all substances to be registered with the Agency appointed to monitor such goods if the amount of the substance exceeds one tonne.


Substance – a chemical element and its compounds in the natural state or obtained by any manufacturing process, including any additive necessary to preserve its stability and any impurity deriving from the process used, but excluding any solvent which may be separated without affecting the stability of the substance or changing its composition;

Preparation – means a mixture or solution composed of two or more substances

Article – means an object which during production is given a special shape, surface or design which determines its function to a greater degree than does its chemical composition.

REACH Regulation

Regulation amending the Community Regime for the Control of Exports of Dual-Use Items and Technology

In order to enable Member States and the Community to comply with their international commitments, the European Council has published an amended regulation COUNCIL REGULATION (EC) No 428/2009 of 5 May 2009 setting up a Community regime for the control of exports, transfer, brokering and transit of dual-use items

Export Controls Regulation

Excise Movement and Control System (‘EMCS’)

EMCS is a computerised system for monitoring movements of excise goods between Member States under duty suspension. It will replace the paper document that currently must accompany such movements (the Administrative Accompanying Document or “AAD”). EMCS will mean simplification of procedures, paperless administration, and effective use of modern IT tools and amounts to an important evolution for those who trade in alcohol, tobacco or oil products.

The European Commission and EU Member States are developing a trader-to-trader link called EMCS to follow the movement of excise goods between Member States for which no excise duties have yet been paid. The objective is to replace the paper AAD document that currently has to accompany these movements with electronic messages from the consignor to the consignee via the administrations of the Member States.

The system will monitor the movements of excise goods which have not yet been released for consumption by:

Tracking movements of goods under duty-suspension by an electronic transmission of the accompanying document instead of the paper document;

Securing movements of goods by checking the traders’ data before the goods are dispatched and aims to have a faster return of evidence that the goods arrived at their destination; and

Monitoring the movement of excisable goods through real time information and checks during movements.

The EMCS Computerisation Project (“ECP”)

The task of bringing EMCS to life is a matter for the ECP. ECP will specify, develop, deploy, and support the operation of EMCS across all the Member States. EMCS is introduced in phases from 2002 to 2011.

Phase 0 (2002 – ongoing) encompasses the operational support, maintenance and improvement of existing systems used in the excise field, pending the operational phase of EMCS; Phase 0 ensures that these systems are aligned with the overall objective of EMCS.

Phase 1 (2002 – ongoing), prepares and encompasses the launching of ECP, and the production of the EMCS System Specifications (ESS).

Amongst the various specifications produced during Phase 1, the most important ones are:

The functionality covered by EMCS; and

The phased implementation of EMCS.

Phases 2 (2006-2009) and 3 (2007-2011) are development and implementation phases, covering the detailed design of the national excise applications, the development of the central and national applications, as well as their phased implementation.

Phase 2 will focus on the essential functionality necessary to ensure the successful introduction of EMCS.

Phase 3 will add the link with customs procedures (such as the movement under suspension of excise goods between the place of importation and an excise warehouse) and extend the range of possibilities offered to administrations.

NB. All planned dates are indicative only, and are subject to project progress.

Please see latest EMCS Newsletter published by the European Commission attached. EMCS Newsletter

INNS – Amended List Published February 2007

Amendments to the INNS list were published in the Official Journal on 23rd February 2007. If you are importing or exporting pharmaceutical active ingredients, INNS specified salts, esters or hydrates of such INNS, or pharmaceutical intermediates used in the production of finished pharmaceutical products, we recommend you review your imports and exports in light of these changes. The amendments to the Combined Nomenclature (“CN”) include:

Extending Annex 3 of the CN – pharmaceutical substances that are duty free;

Replacing Annex 4 of the CN – list of prefixes and suffixes which, in combination with the INNS of Annex 3, describe the salts, esters or hydrates of INNS; these salts, esters and hydrates are duty free provided they fall to be classified in the same 6-digit HS subheading as the corresponding INN;

Extending Annex 6 of the CN – list of pharmaceutical intermediates (compounds used for the manufacture of finished pharmaceutical products) which are duty free; and

Removing certain pharmaceutical intermediates from Annex 6 of the CN.

Please contact CEICL for more information. INNS List