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Meeting of the Advisory Council held on December 23nd 2005

On December 23, 2005 took place another meeting of the Advisory Council for implementation of customs policy under the auspices of Federal Customs Service of Russia. There were two major issues in the agenda of the meeting: customs clearance of goods conveyed by means of air transportation and the ways of its improvement; legalization of electronic domestic appliances and personal computers import. The Federal Customs Service of Russia was represented at the meeting by its Head – Alexander Zherikhov, and Vladimir Shamakhov and Leonid Lozbenko, his Deputies, as well as the Heads of a number of leading Administrations of the Service.

Opening the meeting, A.Zherikhov thanked all the members of the Advisory Council for the participation in preparation of the Concept of development of customs authorities of Russia up to 2010 and for the subsequent years, recently approved by the Government of the Russian Federation. It has been noted that the open dialogue between the Russian Customs Service and the business community and their cooperation serve as the guaranty of the successful development not only of the customs but of all the economics of the country on the whole.

Valery Okulov, Director General of the OJSC Aeroflot spoke on the first issue in the agenda. He told the audience of the current state of air transportation and the problems confronted by the company he heads in passing customs procedures. To such problems he referred, in particular, the delays with customs clearance of the spare parts for the foreign aircraft leased by Aeroflot; the complexities of international transit during air transportation and difficulties with customs clearance of transfer cargoes and multimodal freights. Nevertheless, the Head of the airline pointed out the successful experience of cooperation with customs authorities in overcoming the arising difficulties. Thus, the method of priority customs clearance of aircraft spare parts for the OJSC Aeroflot, which had been used before in accordance with the regulations of the Customs Code of 1993 and which was cancelled with current Customs Code of Russia which came into full force of the on January 1, 2004, was highly appreciated. In addition to that, the management of Sheremetyevo customs was also highly spoken of for its efforts in simplification of customs procedures.

In response to the issues raised in the report, Anatoly Galaktionov, Head of the Main Organization of Customs Control (GUOTK) stated, that the Federal Customs Service of Russia is taking all the measures to solve the pointed out problems, preventing development of air cargo transportation, taking into account the opinion of all the participants of foreign trade. In his opinion, of great help might be the advance IT technologies being implemented, including provision of preliminary information and electronic declaring. However, major effort of the employees of the Main Organization of Customs Control (GUOTK) are directed towards preparing of regulatory documents, supposed to simplify customs clearance of cargoes, conveyed by means of air transportation. It is assumed, that work on these documents shall be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2006.

Galina Balandina, Head of the Legal Administration, who joined the discussion, stressed, that overcoming many difficulties facing Aeroflot requires no amendments into the current Customs Code of Russia and may be achieved at the level of the FCS of Russia. At that, she suggested that a meeting of the customs and the airline experts should be held in order to clarify the reasons for the problems and to work out an adequate solution for their removal.

Alexander Plyatsevoi, President of the Association of trading companies and manufacturers of consumer electronic and computer equipment (RATEK) spoke on legalization of electronic equipment import. He spoke highly of partnership relations, which have been formed between the Association and the FCS of Russia in last years. It was stressed that: “In the time, mainly due to the openness of the State Customs Committee (GTK) –Federal Customs Service (FCS), there have been started the constructive dialogue and worked out a number of the efficient arrangements, instrumental in bringing order in the market”. The illustration of such approach is in the policy of the FCS of Russia, the essence of which is “the assortment approach” as the basis for defining the customs value of imported electronic equipment, in other words by means of price lists of the manufacturers. It resulted with the fact, that in the second half of 2005, the number of the declared plasma panel displays rose by 100%, digital cameras and digital video cameras by 160%, LCD TVs by 180%, and cellular phones almost by 600%. At that, as noted A.Plyatsevoi, such expensive brands of cellular phones as Virtu, which had earlier been declared at the price not higher than USD 600.00, are cleared today at the price of USD 3500.00.

Alexander Voronin, Head of the Main Administration of Federal Customs Revenues said, that as of today 47 largest manufacturers had already submitted their price lists to the FCS of Russia for the products they manufacture. “Using this information” said Mr.Voronin “allows organizing control of customs value of goods at the level of assortment and collecting collectability of customs payments”. These words were confirmed by the information about the fact that, as result of the measures taken, the average value of cellular phones in November compared to June 2005 increased by 5.7 times (from USD 24.00 to USD 138.00), while customs payments increased by 16.8 times (from USD 5.8 million to USD 97.3 million). At that, the attention of the participants of the meeting was drawn to the measures taken in 2004 on optimization of customs administration within the framework of the Order of the State Customs Committee of Russia dated 28.06.2004 № 727 “On control of customs value of separate types of goods”, which established a special procedure of customs control of separate types of goods. Currently, 102 organizations are working in compliance with the provisions of the Order, 61 of them are car dealers and 41 are electronic equipment manufacturers.

A.Zherikhov pointed out that the activity of the Association of trading companies and manufacturers of consumer electronic and computer equipment (RATEK) headed by Alexander Plyatsevoi is very important, and without the assistance of RATEK, the work of customs authorities would be more complex and less efficient. The Head of the FCS addressed all the associations and unions of representative entrepreneur circles to follow the example set by the RATEK, which would allow significant progress in the issues of legalization of foreign trade on the whole. At that it was stressed that it was important to have price information received from the manufacturers in automatic mode, which would in fact simplify operation both of customs authorities and the participants of foreign trade.

In conclusion, Galina Balandina briefly commented on the measures to improve the Customs Code of the Russian Federation, “the potential of which is not yet outspent”.


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