MECHANISM FOR COLLECTING MONETARY COMPENSATORY AMOUNTS (MCA’s)
1. For a Member of the European Community like Ireland whose currency has been devalued with reference to its representative exchange rate for the purpose of the Community’s Common Agricultural Policy (known as its green currency rate) the effects of devaluation are neutralised by charging MCA (levies) on agricultural exports and by granting MCA (subsidies) on imports. In Ireland at present these levies are collected by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries in conjunction with the Office of the Revenue Commissioners. As regards the mechanism for collection a general distinction can be drawn between levies payable on exports of live cattle and levies on other agricultural exports.
2. Exports of live cattle.
(i) Cattle shipped by sea to the United Kingdom:
With respect to live cattle for shipment by sea to the United Kingdom the exporter must submit the necessary documentation (e.g. weight certificates, export specification) to the Customs before exportation takes place. If final details of the number of Cattle to be consigned are not known in advance of shipment, a formal notice of intention to export must be presented to the Customs. This may take the form of a proforma export specification on the appropriate customs documents or an endorsement on or with the ship’s manifest to the effect that the animals are for exportation on the date specified. When the final documentation is presented to Customs it should be accompanied by evidence from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries as to payment of the MCA export levy on the total number of cattle shipped. However, in the case of live cattle for export through the Port of Dublin to the United Kingdom, the Department allows export without payment of the MCA in advance provided the exporter gives the Department an acceptable guarantee from a bank as to payment of the levies and provided the exporter has no debts outstanding to the Department. Where payment is deferred under a bank guarantee the Department (which now pays the MCA subsidies in respect of imports from Ireland into the United Kingdom—see paragraph 3 (ii) below) offsets the levy against the subsidy payable to the Irish exporter.
(ii) Other exports of live cattle (including exports across the Land Frontier to Northern Ireland):—
When a consignment of live cattle is being exported the exporter must present to the Customs with the relevant export documents evidence from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries that the MCA levies on the total number of cattle being exported have been paid.
(iii) Customs Offence:
If evidence as to payment of MCA’s or as to clearance by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries under a bank guarantee (in the case of exports from Dublin to the United Kingdom) is not presented with the customs export documents, the exporter commits a customs offence and is liable to prosecution if he persists in exportation.
3. Other exports (including beef).
(i) Exports to countries other than Italy and the United Kingdom:
For agricultural exports other than live cattle the exporter must produce to Customs a completed Declaration and Control Form (obtainable from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries). Customs certify the Declaration and Control Form as to export and forward one copy to the Department. The Department deducts the MCA levy from any export restitution/accession compensatory amount payable by it to the exporter. If the MCA levy is greater than the export restitution/ accession compensatory amount, or if no export restitution/accession compensatory amount is payable, the appropriate net amount is collected by the Department.
(ii) Exports to Italy and to the United Kingdom:
In relation to goods taken under Customs control on or after 17 May, 1976, the MCA subsidies formerly paid by the authorities in Italy and the United Kingdom on agricultural imports into those countries from Ireland are paid from Community funds by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries to the Irish exporter and are netted off against the MCA levies and, in the case of the United Kingdom, the accession compensatory amounts payable by the exporter. Before this action can be taken, however, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries must receive from the exporter evidence from the Italian or United Kingdom customs as to entry for home use in that Member State and also to the effect that no MCA subsidy was granted on import into that Member State.
4. MCA levies charged on exports to other Member States (which represent the bulk of levies collected on Irish exports) are treated as part of the mechanism intended to stabilise the Community’s agricultural markets and are credited to the Community’s Agricultural Fund. Levies on exports to non-Member States are paid into the Exchequer and are regarded as the “own resources” of the Community to which Ireland’s contribution to the Community budget is related.
M. Ó MURCHÚ,
Department of Finance.
31 Nollaig, 1976.