Outward Processing

The outward processing regime allows EU goods to be temporarily exported outside the EU for processing and the processed products to be re-imported with total/partial relief from import duties.

The purpose of the scheme is to allow European companies to carry out processing at non-EU companies at a lower labour cost than in Europe or to take advantage of more advanced technology.

Characteristics and Methods of Use

The outward processing procedure must be authorised by the competent customs office at the place where the operator’s accounts for customs purposes are held and where part of the activities covered by the authorisation are carried out (Art. 22 of EU Reg. No. 952/2013).

The application for an inward processing authorisation must be submitted using the Customs Decision System (CDS). This EU system allows applications to be submitted and authorisations to be issued by customs offices in a computerised manner.

The authorisation is issued when it can be ascertained that the products obtained (processed products) are those resulting from the processing of the temporarily exported goods. The goods are then identified at the time of export through samples, photos, serial numbers, etc..

Upon re-importation of the processed products, customs duties (duty and VAT) are paid on the increased value acquired by the goods as a result of the processing or transformation received abroad (processing fee) insert: pursuant to Article 86 p.5 of EU Reg. 952/2013.

The following operations may be carried out under the outward processing procedure:

– processing of goods;

– processing of goods including assembling, fitting to other goods

– repair of goods including refitting and adjustment.

In the latter case, re-importation by equivalence of replacement goods is possible (standard exchange system). Goods imported to replace those sent for repair must be classified under the same tariff subheading and have the same commercial quality and technical characteristics as the goods sent for repair. Replacement goods may also be imported prior to temporary exportation.

The use of equivalent non-Union goods and the advance importation of processed products in application of Article 223 of EU Reg. 952/2013 is also possible under the outward processing regime.

Reference legislation:

Art. 211 – Arts. 259-262 of EU Reg. 952/2013 (Union Customs Code)

Arts. 166-183 and Art. 240 of EU Reg. 2446/2015 (Delegated Regulation)

National provisions and regulatory practice documents:

Circolare n. 8/D del 19 aprile 2016

Circolare n. 1/D del 30 gennaio 2018