International trade remains a highly volatile area in business, and subject to successive disruptive trends. Brexit, trade disputes, covid-19, digitalization, the Russia-Ukraine conflict, transport and energy prices… external events and trends impact international trade patterns. A customs strategy matters, both at the level of the authorities and at the level of the economic operator. Defining such strategy requires insight in the EU customs policy environment and stakeholders. It also requires understanding of the current regulatory framework and technology tools relevant for a specific supply chain or product, and how to monitor future change.

Target audience

This advanced module can be taken by participants who have already passed the basic programme or can prove that they have obtained an equivalent degree of experience.

Course information

This module consists of three and a half days of classes:

  • 22, 23, 24 May 2023:
    9.15 a.m. - 12.15 p.m. and 1.45 p.m. - 4.45 p.m.
  • 25 May 2023:
    9.15 a.m. - 12.15 p.m.

All classes are taught in English and involve a high degree of interaction. 

All classes are recorded. Participants can listen to the recordings afterwards in preparation for the exam.

In online settings: a minimum individual attendance rate of at least 75% was achieved (digital in real time) and a maximum of 25% participation in delayed relays (force majeure situations included)

In a physical setting: a minimum individual attendance rate of at least 75% was achieved (force majeure situations included);

Participation in the exam is only possible after meeting the minimum attendance requirement.


The exam will take place at the Stadscampus, University of Antwerp. 
Foreign participants are offered the opportunity to take the exam from a distance.

Competence level

This advanced module is designed to ensure participants achieve an advanced level of competence (Level 3 of the EU Customs Competency Framework).

Course materials

Digital course materials are provided (e.g. PowerPoints, court bundles (legal doctrine, case law)). These digital course materials will be made available through the university’s electronic learning environment.


Online or physically on the Stadscampus. The format (online of physically) will be reported later. 

The exam will take place on the Stadscampus, University of Antwerp.

Tuition fees

The price depends on the format (physical or digital) in which the lessons will be given.

  • online: EUR 1500 (covers registration, study material and exam).
  • physically: EUR 1750 (covers registration, study material, exam, catering and lunch).
    Please note: on 25 May 2023, no lunch will be provided, as this is only a half-day lesson.


Electronically only through this webpage.

The registration fee is paid within 30 days of receipt of the debit note to KBC account number BE91 7360 6389 5176 of Nexus, CST-UAntwerp, Venusstraat 23, 2000 Antwerp. Each application/registration is binding and cannot be cancelled. Replacement by a colleague is possible with simple written notification to the organizers.

The prices mentioned are prices excluding VAT (Exemption VAT due to article 44 §2 4°), as the University of Antwerp is, in the current state of legislation, a legal entity not subject to VAT. Nexus/ATA reserves the right, however, in case VAT is still due on the registration price, to pass this VAT on to the participants.

Nexus is recognised as a training provider in the SME Portfolio (KMO portefeuille) system. Using this system could enable participants to save up to 30% of the registration fee. SME Portfolio applications must be submitted no later than 14 days after the course start date. The participant undertakes to respect the rules set out by the Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The accreditation number for Nexus Antwerp’s SME portfolio is DV.O100321.


  • The required approvals are requested from the competent authorities (OVB, ITAA, IBJ and IGO). 
  • The training is eligible for the Flemish training leave and training cheques. 
  • Recognition paid educational leave under the PC226 is applicable. 
  • Training premium (PC336): after you or your employee(s) have followed a training course, you can apply to Liberform for a training premium. The premium is a financial intervention to employers or companies that pay for the training: more info and application.
  • It is required that participants are effectively present. Replacement by a colleague is possible; the organization will be informed in writing in advance. 


The module is taught by a team of lecturers with relevant expertise from the academic world, the government sector, the private sector and the legal profession. This module will be supervised by Yves Melin, (Partner at Reed Smith LLP) and Jesse De Bruyn (Senior Associate at Reed Smith LLP). 


22 May 2023

Traditional aspects of customs strategy

SESSION 1: Customs strategy in a transforming customs union: 9.15 a.m. - 12.15 p.m.

The customs authorities need to make sure that together with EU revenues, the security and safety, health and prosperity of EU citizens and businesses is protected. Business, from their end, need to ensure that their goods are flowing seamlessly whilst managing duties and mitigating risks of non-compliance. There are lots of interests at stake. In this session, participants will be introduced to the strategy from the side of customs, and learn how a business can plug into this strategy. The participants will learn about the EU Commission’s Customs Union Action Plan to create a future proof customs union, the strategic challenges of Belgian customs, and how a business can adjust to the new customs environment beyond the traditional tools.


-Kristian Vanderwaeren, head of Belgian Customs

-Yves Melin, International trade and customs lawyer at Reed Smith law firm

SESSION 2: Plugging into the customs environment: how to change the EU’s tariff? 13.45 p.m. - 16.45 p.m. 

Getting goods into and out of the customs territory of the union in a seamless way is key for today’s business. But customs management goes beyond that. In this session, the participants will be introduced to the policy environment of the customs tariff. The interaction between the WCO harmonised system and the EU combined nomenclature will be discussed, as well as the role of trade associations in shaping the customs tariff.


-Michele Pastore, Senior public affairs manager at Huawei

-Diane Mievis, Head of EU Telecoms, Sustainability & Trade Policy at Cisco

23 May 2023

Addressing future challenges – anticipating change (part 1)

SESSION 3: Sustainable supply chains: 9.15 a.m. - 12.15 p.m. 

The EU Commission is developing some major policy changes that will disrupt the way business currently do their business. In this session, participants will be introduced to the impact of the EU Green Deal on trade. Sustainability requirements (deforestation, human rights, conflict minerals …) and the carbon border adjustment mechanism have one thing in common: supply chain due diligence. In this session, we explore existing due diligence requirements that will serve as a blueprint for future measures.


- Jin Woo Kim, International trade lawyer at Reed Smith law firm

- Isabel Fressynet, Associate at Reed Smith law firm

Responding to disruptive trends 

SESSION 4 Managing the impact of rapid changes on your trade function: 14.00 p.m. - 17.00 p.m. 

Brexit, rebalancing duties, new free trade agreements, the covid-19 emergency … businesses have to show agility and resilience, and so does the customs and trade function. Is there a way to prepare for these kind of events? And if your business is not prepare, how to react in order to mitigate the impact on your business?


-Lionel Van Reet, Baker McKenzie - EMEA Customs and International Trade

24 May 2023

Addressing future challenges – anticipating change (part 2)

Partner, Global Trade Advisory

SESSION 5: Product compliance and its enforcement: 9.15 a.m. - 12.15 p.m. 

The safety and security of our citizens, but also the protection of legitimate trade, require compliance with product regulations. Non-compliant products should not enter the EU market. But what does that mean in practice? Who should make sure that imported goods are compliant? In this session, product compliance and the impact of the new EU surveillance and enforcement regulation will be discussed.


-Wim Vandenberghe, EU regulatory lawyer at Reed Smith law firm

SESSION 6: Managing trade through technology: 13.45 p.m. - 16.45 p.m. 

Managing customs data is less and less a manual process. In order to be in control of your customs function, one cannot operate without technology tools. Which tools can help a business in managing that responsibility? And which future technologies will become relevant for managing that customs-relevant data?


- Dries Bertrand, Partner Global Trade Advisory, Deloitte

- Emmanuelle Ganne, Senior Analyst at the World Trade Organisation

25 May 2023

Responding to border enforcement trends.

SESSION 7: Enforcement trends and how to deal with these: 9.15 a.m. - 12.15 p.m. 

Customs enforcement may disrupt a company’s supply chain. What causes goods to be stopped? In this session, participants get familiar with the EU stakeholders (EPPO, OLAF) and gain an understanding of recent enforcements such as undervaluation upon import, antidumping claims and the entry of non-compliant products. The speakers will highlight regulatory (such as AML and know-your-customer) and contractual points of attention for a well-organised customs function.


-Irene Guardiola, International trade and customs lawyer at Guardiola Lawyers

-Jesse De Bruyn, Senior Associate at Reed Smith law firm


Friday 9 June 2023

13.00 p.m - 16.00 p.m.