Overview

Pablo Muñiz is head of the customs practice of Van Bael & Bellis. He specialises in EU trade law, with a particular emphasis on customs law, which he has practised in Brussels since 2001. He also advises clients, including a number of trade associations, on other aspects of EU law, such as free movement of goods and the internal market regulatory framework. 

Pablo has a wide range of experience in customs law, including customs classification, origin issues, customs valuation, compliance programmes, duty suspensions, export controls and sanctions.

Pablo regularly advises clients on multi-jurisdictional customs matters involving the European Commission, OLAF and the World Customs Organization (WCO).

Pablo represents clients before EU national customs administrations and courts, frequently supported by a multijurisdictional team. His experience also includes litigation before the EU Court of Justice.

Cases before the EU Court of Justice include Canon Europa v. Commission and Kyocera Mita Europe v. Commission, where the Court addressed the issue of whether economic operators could challenge the validity of EU customs measures directly before the EU Courts.   

Pablo’s expertise includes assisting clients in the submission of remission and repayment applications to the national administrations and in related proceedings before the European Commission and the EU Court of Justice. In Commission case REM 06/08, he successfully obtained the remission of imports concerning the tariff classification of home cinema devices.  In Vestel Iberia, SL and Makro autoservicio mayorista SA v. Commission, concerning the validity of a Commission remission decision, the EU Court of Justice addressed the effects that such Commission decisions have on economic operators.

Pablo’s experience also involves the submission of requests for access to documents, notably in the area of customs matters, where he often assists clients in navigating the EU and WCO rules on transparency and access to documents. In Pablo Muñiz v. Commission, the EU General Court clarified the interpretation of the EU access to documents rules in the customs area and restricted the cases where access can be refused by the EU institutions.

Pablo has also assisted governments in a number of WTO disputes including: EU – Anti-Dumping Duties on Malleable Cast Iron Tube or Pipe Fittings from Brazil; EC-Selected Customs Issues; and EC and its Member States – Tariff Treatment of Certain Information Technology Products.

Pablo has often participated in training seminars organised by the WCO as an expert speaker on various customs matters and regularly speaks on EU customs matters at conferences and events held worldwide.

Directories have highlighted Pablo for his “peerless technical knowledge and prompt client service” (Chambers Global and Chambers Europe – International Trade/WTO), and his “excellent analytical skills and the high-level quality of his work” (Who's Who Legal – Trade & Customs). Clients have described Pablo as someone who “demonstrates true dedication to his profession” and “can be relied upon to deliver exceptional results”.

Languages

Spanish, English, French

Recommendations

  • Client Choice Award 2018 & 2019 – International Trade - EU
  • Chambers Global and Chambers Europe – International Trade/WTO
  • Legal 500 – Customs, Trade WTO and Anti-Dumping
  • Best Lawyers – Trade Law 
  • Who's Who Legal – Trade & Customs 

Education

  • College of Europe, Bruges, LL.M. in European Legal Studies, 1999
  • University of Oviedo, Spain, Master of Laws, 1997
  • University of Sheffield, 1995-1996

Publications

Brexit is changing the rules for EU Customs law”, The Global Legal Post, 6 June 2019.
 

“Trader Participation in the EU Customs Decision-Making Process: Is There Room for Improvement?”, Global Trade and Customs Journal (Issue 2, 2019).

 

“EU harmonization of customs infringements and sanctions is needed, but the EU must proceed with caution”, Global Trade and Customs Journal (Issue 7/8, 2018).

 

“Challenging the validity of EU customs measures before the Court of Justice of the EU: please use the back door”, Global Trade and Customs Journal (Issue 6, 2017).

 

“Preferential Origin Disputes: Is the Good Faith Defence under EU Law Being Eroded?”, Global Trade and Customs Journal (Issue 11/12, 2015).

 

Author of the chapter: “La cuestión prejudicial de validez e intepretación ante el Tribunal de Justicia” (“The request for a preliminary ruling on validity and interpretation before the Court of Justice”), in the book “Procedimientos Administrativos y Judiciales de la Unión Europa” (“Administrative and Judicial Proceedings of the European Union”), published by Economist & Jurist, Difusión Jurídica, 2012.

 

Contributor to Van Bael & Bellis, Competition Law of the European Community (fifth edition, Kluwer, 2010), the standard work of reference in the field of EU competition law.

Professional Activities

Vice-Chair of the Customs and Trade Facilitation Committee at the AmCham EU.

Member of the Editorial Board of the Global Trade and Customs Journal.

Teaching Posts

Pablo Muñiz lectures on EU customs law at the University Carlos III in Madrid in the Master of European Union Law. Pablo has also taught at the World Customs Organization (WCO) Knowledge Academy for Customs and Trade in Brussels. Previously, in 1999-2001, he was teaching assistant at the College of Europe (Bruges, Belgium) in the area of EU law, with a particular emphasis on judicial remedies.

Bar Admissions

Oviedo, Spain
Brussels

Publications and insights

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    • 04/01/2021
    • News

    Implications of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement on trade in goods

    On 24 December 2020, the European Union and the United Kingdom announced the conclusion of their negotiations of a Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the other part (“EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement” or “the TCA”) intended to settle their future relationship. The United Kingdom left the European Union at the end of 31 January 2020 but a status quo was maintained as a result of the Withdrawal Agreement. That agreement provided for a transition period due to end on 31 December 2020. On 1 January 2021, the United Kingdom (“UK”) will no longer form part of the European Union (“EU”) Single Market (comprising the free movement of persons, goods, services and the freedom of capital) and the EU customs union. The TCA does not alter that fact. Instead, it sets separate terms for the relationship between the EU and the UK. The TCA consists of seven parts and a series of annexes and protocols. The TCA must also be read together with a series of declarations. The main substantive parts of the TCA concern: (i) trade, transport, fisheries and other arrangements (Part Two); (ii) law enforcement and judicial cooperation in criminal matters (Part Three); (iii) health and cyber security (Part Four); and (iv) participation in Union programmes, sound financial management and financial provisions (Part Five). Part Six establishes a dispute settlement system and sets out a series of horizontal provisions. The parties to the TCA might conclude further bilateral agreements, supplementing the TCA (Article COMPROV.2.1). This client alert offers a general overview of the aspects of the TCA (especially Part Two) affecting generally trade in goods as well as digital trade. This alert does not cover the provisions of the TCA concerning notably services, investment and intellectual property rights. It must be read together with other client alerts on more specific aspects of the TCA that Van Bael & Bellis will prepare.

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    • 15/04/2020
    • Articles

    EU Customs Issues and Covid-19

    The EU Commission has published a Communication entitled “Guidance on Customs issues related to the COVID-19 emergency” providing practical information for day-to-day customs operations in view of the COVID-19 crisis. The Communication addresses various issues, namely: e-commerce - customs representation, customs decisions, customs debts and guarantees, entry of goods, customs procedures, transit, special procedures, and exit of goods. The attached memorandum provides you some of the points raised in the Communication.

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