Amended law on Federal Customs Authority issued

United Arab Emirates

The President of the United Arab Emirates has issued Federal Law No 8 of 2015 concerning the Federal Customs Authority, which includes some amendments seeking to improve customs affairs arrangements in the state. The law aims to enhance the state's position and customs sector competitiveness in the country by boosting performance and system efficiency. The law also aims to develop and unify the customs procedures, which is likely to affect IP protection and streamline the efforts of the Emirates.

The law includes many amendments which contribute to improving the role of the Federal Customs Authority in supporting customs work in the state by ensuring the security and protection of the community and boosting trade. According to the new law, the competence of the authority extends to setting up the general policy for customs affairs in coordination with local customs departments, and supervising, controlling and auditing performance after approval by the Council of Ministers.

According to the law, the Federal Customs Authority will propose fees relating to customs services in coordination with customs departments and forward them to the Council of Ministers for approval. It shall also develop united customs procedures for inspection, customs tariffs, data, licences and control by the customs departments.

The Federal Customs Authority will control and inspect imported and exported goods, as well as goods in transit in the ports of the state, in coordination with customs departments and competent authorities in order to stop the entry of prohibited goods into the state. This will hopefully give brand owners an access point to enhance border measures in all Emirates and at customs authorities within the United Arab Emirates.

In addition, the law introduced the new title of Customs Commissioner, which will have the rank of minister. The Customs Commissioner is to be appointed by federal decree for a renewable period of three years, and will be the most supreme authority to supervise the Federal Customs Authority's affairs.

Federal Law No 8 of 2015 shall be effective six months from its date of announcement and publication. It remains to be seen whether brand owners will be able to rely on this law to build a dialogue with the borders authorities in the Emirates which did not set up department or divisions for IP rights protection.

Munir Suboh and Ahmed Zaza, Al Tamimi & Company, Dubai

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