Stringent Croatian Marina Legislation Abolished

Stringent Croatian Marina Legislation Abolished

ICOMIA's "crucial role" in joining forces with its member, Marina Punat, to help remove barriers to trade in Croatia's marina sector

On 31 July 2017, the Croatian Customs Administration - the organisation within the Ministry of Finance managing economic development policy including customs and excise duties - announced all Croatian marinas will be released from the stringent bonded-warehouse regime that was crippling the sector.

This means marinas will no longer be considered collateral in the country's VAT rule for non-EU yachts. As of 1 August 2017, liability and responsibility of reporting departure information to Customs now remains the sole and exclusive obligation of the berth-holder.

European law allows foreign non-European vessels to remain in the Croatian/EU customs territory for up to 18 months from the date of entry into the EU without applying import requirements including VAT and customs duty on the value of the vessel. Those vessels are treated as temporary imported goods, and when the temporary import procedure expires, the responsible person for the yacht must follow one of the permissible and available procedures pursuant to the EU legislation.

In Croatia, marinas were deemed as bonded warehouses. This meant the Croatian Customs Authority required the marinas under its jurisdiction to act as guarantors for VAT and import duty on the value of the yacht for non-EU vessels in case the berth-holder failed to comply with customs regulations. Such unpopular practice diminished the attractiveness of Croatian waters as cruising ground, effectively applying VAT penalties to non-involved but local-parties which also created a disadvantage to Croatian business competitiveness.

Negotiations with representatives of the Customs Administration were led by the Croatian Association of Marinas, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, the Croatian Employers` Association and Marina Punat - who together sought the advice of the International Council of Marine Industry Associations (ICOMIA), of which Marina Punat is a sustaining member. ICOMIA provided help and support to the campaign by confirming the non-existence of similar practise in the EU, and by urging the authorities to release marinas as collateral.

"For Croatia's marinas, the bonded warehouse scheme meant there was a constant risk of paying customs debt for a third party, plus lots of unnecessary administration" said B. Renata Marevic, Marina Manager of Marina Punat. "Thanks to ICOMIA we have reached the cancellation of this status - and for Croatian marinas that means doing business is much easier, unnecessary additional risk has been removed and we are in fair market competition with other EU marinas - ICOMIA has played an important, perhaps crucial role and together we are stronger!"

A global advocate, ICOMIA is the international trade association representing the recreational marine industry worldwide since 1966. It's committee, the ICOMIA Marinas Group (IMG) was born out of ICOMIA`s recognition that ensuring boat owners a safe and convenient place to berth, moor or launch their boat is vital to the future of the sport and industry. IMG's universal mission is to improve the quality of the recreational boating experience through the development of marinas, yacht harbours, boatyards and small boat launching ramps.

"The problems related to the successful development and management of marinas are very similar all over the world" added Roberto Perocchio, IMG Chairman. "The powerful and global influence IMG has is vital when reviewing technical and administrative problems and finding the appropriate solutions for the benefit of the global boating industry".

- For more information on the ICOMIA Marinas Group click here