FEDERAL DECREE NO. 15 OF 2022 RATIFYING THE COMMON CUSTOMS LAW FOR THE GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL AND RULES OF IMPLEMENTATION
On January 31st, 2022, the President of the United Arab Emirates (the “UAE”), H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, ratified the Common Customs Law for the Gulf Cooperation Council and Rules of Implementation by enacting the Federal Decree No. 15 of 2022 (the “New Law”), which led to the abolishment of the Federal Decree No. 85 of 2007 regarding the Common Customs Law. The New Law will enter into force on February 15th, 2022.
Having read the New Law and relying on my personal extensive experience in and knowledge of the UAE’s customs system and legislation, a few Articles of the New Law particularly stood out among the others and this legal update will draw your attention to such Articles.
The New Law gives the Director-General the power not to impose fines for the following offences provided that the violators voluntarily disclosed the occurrence of such offences to the relevant customs authority:
- Offences of importation and exportation;
- Offences of customs declaration;
- Offences of goods transit;
- Offences of warehouses;
- Offences of zones under the control of customs;
- Offences of temporary admission;
- Offences of re-exportation; and
- Any other offences.
In the past, penalties issued by a customs authority required a court ruling to compel violators to settle such penalties. One of the most important amendments in the New Law provides that penalties or decisions issued by the Director-General (or his authorised representative) can be executed directly without obtaining a court ruling.
Based on the above analysis it can be inferred that the purpose of enacting the aforementioned amendments is to encourage the public to voluntarily disclose offences that have taken place and reinforce a culture of commitment.