By the end of 2022, the customs authorities’ approach of classifying belts designed to be fitted to seat frames under TN VED EAEU heading 9401 had formed the basis of several court rulings at cassation level (for example, Cases Nos. A78-10928/2018 and A60-29318/2020), and not a single dispute on this matter was referred by the Supreme Court for consideration by the Economic Disputes Panel of the Supreme Court.
It now turns out that the importers were right all along in their approach to the classification of safety belts which are fitted to seat frames, and that their rights and legitimate interests were infringed, including the right to pay lawfully established taxes and levies and the right to a refund of customs charges collected in excess.
EEC Decision No. 183 of 27.12.2023 is undoubtedly a “positive” New Year development. At the same time, we know of cases in which EEC decisions on the classification of various goods have been amended and even overturned after being ruled inconsistent with EAEU law by the EAEU Court.
Since EEC Decision No. 183 of 27.12.2023 improves the position of cross-border businesses by more than halving the fiscal load associated with customs duty, it would be logical to assume that no appeals to the EAEU Court will be made by businesses.
On the other hand, the customs authorities will most likely be keen to defend their approach to classification. As a rule, however, before making classification decisions that are binding on all EAEU countries, the EEC contacts the customs authorities to gather opinions and recommendations. There is reason to hope, therefore, that the EEC’s Decision will not be overturned or amended in the future.