AidEnvironment signs open letter requesting access to customs trade information 

Nov 2022

AidEnvironment, together with 55 other civil society organisations (CSOs) and trade unions, wrote an open letter to the European Commission calling for non-state actors to be able to access customs trade information. The organisations believe that the reform of the Union Customs legislation can contribute to a more effective implementation of EU legislative initiatives and the achievement of related policy goals if it guarantees public access to trade information.  

The Commission plans to revise customs rules and has already initiated public consultation on Reforms of the Union Customs legislation, which constitutes a great opportunity to ensure open access to detailed trade information that is usually held by customs authorities and considered confidential by Member States. It is crucial for stakeholders such as CSOs, trade unions, academics, journalists, and companies to have access to supply chain and trade flow data in order to better monitor human rights and environmental violations, as well as engage with and monitor companies’ operations. 

This proves especially relevant for the effective functioning of EU legal instruments. Existing and upcoming EU legislation, such as the Timber regulation, the Conflict mineral regulation, the Deforestation-free products regulation, and the Corporate sustainability due diligence directive, aim to ensure that human rights and the environment are respected in company value chains, for which stakeholder involvement is crucial. Stakeholders already play an important role in informing, developing, and scrutinising risk-based due diligence approaches by companies while supporting public authorities in carrying out controls and enforcement. These efforts can be further improved if open access to customs information is ensured. 

The full open letter is also available here.