Judgment delivered on 10 June 2015
T. Hansen Gruppen A/S
The Danish Ministry of Taxation
T. Hansen Gruppen A/S did not meet the conditions for claiming a refund of customs duty paid when importing bicycles from Cambodia
When it turned out that the Cambodian authorities had made a mistake when issuing certificates of origin for bicycles imported by T. Hansen Gruppen to Denmark from Cambodia subject to a customs duty of 0% in accordance with the EU Generalised System of Preferences, the Danish tax authorities (SKAT) charged the normal customs duty of 14%. The issue in this case was whether T. Hansen Gruppen was entitled to a refund of customs duty because the company had acted in good faith in accordance with Article 220 of the EU Customs Code.
The Supreme Court took the view that T. Hansen Gruppen had generally made sure that its partner in Cambodia would actually meet the conditions for preferential treatment, but that it had not taken measures to effectively ensure that the individual shipments of bicycles from Cambodia met the conditions for preferential customs treatment, including in terms of the rules on origin and regional cumulation. T. Hansen Gruppen had failed to show that the company exercised due diligence in ensuring that all conditions for preferential treatment had been met during the period when the bicycles were imported. Accordingly, the company was not entitled to a refund of customs duty.
The High Court had reached the same conclusion.