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Judgment of the Court (First Chamber) of 27 October 1992. - Belgian State v Suiker Export NV. - Reference for a preliminary ruling: Rechtbank van eerste aanleg Antwerpen - Belgium. - Sugar - Common organization of the market - Import levy. - Case C-284/91.



European Court reports 1992 Page I-05473



Summary

Parties

Grounds

Decision on costs

Operative part

Keywords



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Agriculture ° Common organization of the markets ° Sugar ° Import levies ° Collection on goods of Community origin stolen during storage under customs control with a view to export to third countries ° Not permissible

(Regulation No 3330/74 of the Council, Art. 15)

Summary



Article 15 of Regulation No 3330/74 on the common organization of the market in sugar must be interpreted as meaning that no import levy is payable on goods of Community origin which were stolen whilst placed under the T 1 regime (external Community transit) for export to third countries conferring a right to export refunds, where the export refunds previously obtained have already been repaid.

Parties



In Case C-284/91,

REFERENCE to the Court under Article 177 of the EEC Treaty by the Rechtbank van Eerste Aanleg te Antwerpen, Belgium, for a preliminary ruling in the proceedings pending before that court between

Belgian State

and

Suiker Export NV,

on the on the interpretation of Article 15 of Regulation (EEC) No 3330/74 of the Council of 19 December 1974 on the common organization of the market in sugar,

THE COURT (First Chamber),

composed of: G.C. Rodríguez Iglesias, President of the Chamber, R. Joliet and D.A.O. Edward, Judges,

Advocate General: C. Gulmann,

Registrar: J.-G. Giraud,

after considering the written observations submitted on behalf of:

° Suiker Export, by J. Steenbergen and S. Peten, of the Brussels Bar,

° the Belgian State, by E. Vervaeke, of the Antwerp Bar,

° the Commission of the European Communities, by B. Rodríguez Galindo, of the Legal Department, and L. Tan, a Netherlands official seconded to the Legal Department under the exchange scheme for national civil servants, acting as Agents,

having regard to the report of the Judge-Rapporteur,

after hearing the Opinion of the Advocate General at the sitting on 8 October 1992,

gives the following

Judgment

Grounds



1 By an order of 25 October 1991, which was received at the Court Registry on 7 November 1991, the Rechtbank van Eerste Aanleg te Antwerpen (Court of First Instance, Antwerp), Belgium, referred to the Court for a preliminary ruling under Article 177 of the EEC Treaty the following question on the interpretation of Article 15 of Regulation (EEC) No 3330/74 of the Council of 19 December 1974 on the common organization of the market in sugar (OJ 1974 L 359, p. 1):

"Is Article 15 of Regulation No 3330/74 of the Council of 19 December 1974 to be interpreted to the effect that an import levy is payable even if it is not contested that the relevant goods were of domestic origin and were stolen when they were given the status of T 1 goods for export to third countries with a view to the receipt of refunds, if those required to pay the import levies have already repaid the export refunds previously obtained?"

2 Reference is made to the Report of the Judge Rapporteur for a fuller account of the facts of the main proceedings, the course of the procedure and the written observations submitted to the Court.

3 For the reasons set out in the Opinion of Advocate General Gulmann of 8 October 1992, the answer to the question from the court of reference should be that Article 15 of Regulation (EEC) No 3330/74 of the Council of 19 December 1974 must be interpreted as meaning that no import levy is payable on goods of domestic origin which were stolen whilst placed under the T 1 regime for export to third countries with a view to obtaining export refunds, where the export refunds previously obtained have already been repaid.

Decision on costs



Costs

4 The costs incurred by the Commission of the European Communities, which has submitted observations to the Court, are not recoverable. Since these proceedings are, for the parties to the main proceedings, a step in the proceedings pending before the national court, the decision on costs is a matter for that court.

Operative part



On those grounds,

THE COURT (First Chamber),

in answer to the question referred to it by the Rechtbank van Eerste Aanleg te Antwerpen, by order of 25 October 1991, hereby rules:

Article 15 of Regulation (EEC) No 3330/74 of the Council of 19 December 1974 must be interpreted as meaning that no import levy is payable on goods of domestic origin which were stolen whilst placed under the T 1 regime for export to third countries with a view to obtaining export refunds, where the export refunds previously obtained have already been repaid.