Landmark roundtable discussion in Brussels highlights potential impact of EU customs reforms

Mon 12 Jun 2023
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News

Marco Forgione with Matthias Petschke

[Pictured: IOE&IT director general Marco Forgione with Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union director Matthias Petschke]

The Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT) hosted a landmark roundtable discussion event focusing on upcoming changes to EU customs in Brussels last week, in partnership with Accenture.

The event followed the announcement by the European Commission (EC) of a significant package of reforms to EU customs rules and systems which was described as the “most ambitious and comprehensive reform of the EU Customs Union since its establishment in 1968”.

This package includes a plan to establish an EU Customs Data Hub – a single system that would operate for the entire bloc.

Speaking at the roundtable event, Matthias Petschke, the director general of TAXUD (the EC’s body overseeing the EU Taxation and Customs Union), said that the new hub will work alongside and with individual EU member states.


Speaking alongside Katie Wong, the industry principal director at Accenture, IOE&IT’s director of strategic projects and international development, Kevin Shakespeare, said that traders will need to start preparing for the implications of EU Customs Reforms. In particular he highlighted the Trust and Check initiative and potential associated trade facilitations, and said EU businesses need to ensure they are trade compliant.

Talking to the IOE&IT Daily Update about the event, Shakespeare that CERTEX, the EU’s customs single trade window, has the potential to cover all elements of trade and customs in a “truly one-stop single window”.

Accenture round-table

[Pictured: Roundtable in action]

Shakespeare added that the attendees at the event were broadly positive about the EC’s proposed reforms.

Heavy hitters

Wong and Shakespeare were joined in the programme by a range of senior figures in EU customs and international trade, including heads of customs within EU members states and representatives from the Port of Antwerp.

Key speakers from TAXUD, IOE&IT and Accenture also included:

  • Marco Forgione MIEx, director general of IOE&IT
  • Gabriel Bellenger, global managing director at Accenture
  • Zahouani Saadaoui, head of sector digital customs at TAXUD
  • Anna Doherty, a senior trade and customs Specialist at IOE&IT
  • Jessica Nguyen Ngoc Thanh, senior manager at Accenture Benelux

IOE&IT in Brussels

IOE&IT has recently established its own presence in the EU in Brussels called L’Institut du Commerce International (ICI).

Last week, experts from IOE&IT and ICI addressed the potential impact of the EU customs reforms on a free webinar highlighting upcoming changes to how business will trade between the UK and EU.

On the webinar, over two thirds (67%) of the audience said they were not yet sure how the reforms would impact their trade; a fifth said they would have a positive impact.

The webinar also addressed how the UK’s proposed Border Target Operating Model could also impact European suppliers exporting into the UK.