A full range of customs service is provided by different
structures on the territory of Russia. State Customs Committee of the
Russian Federation is the main state body, determining and regulating
the customs service policy of this country.
Russian Federation Customs Code defines the legal, economic, and organizational
foundations of the customs service and is aimed to protect the economic
sovereignty and security of the Russian Federation. It also tends to
intensify the ties between the Russian and world economies, to ensure
the protection of the rights of citizens, managing subjects, and state
bodies as well as their observance of obligations in the sphere of customs
There are two forms of customs service assistance provided by Russian
private companies. So-called temporal-storage warehouses and
customs warehouses have several distinctions. First of these
two makes it possible to keep a load or goods under a two month period.
Another is valid for the same but for a period of not more than two
years. A company that owns any of the two types of warehouses has to
declare whether it will use it to split the load or not. It means that
either the customers of the warehouse would have the possibility of
partial customs clearance of their load or it would be prohibited. Furthermore
the warehouses can be used by all customers (open type warehouse)
or by one or several selected by the owner clients (closed type warehouse).
Very often the owner of the warehouse to fasten the procedure of customs
clearance submits the room for a customs official from State Customs
Tax regime in this kind of business is very much the same as in others.
The privileges generously granted to different organizations by the
government structures and widely used in the passed years are all abolished
now. This lowered the import volume because many projects loose their
attractiveness if the ordinary tariffs are applied.
In 1994, import duties were increasing to a trade-weighted average
of 11 percent. In March 1995 these rates were revised to raise the floor
(except for a small list of zero-duty goods) to five percent and lower
the ceiling (except for a few luxury goods) to 30 percent. In 1996,
the Government raised tariffs on alcoholic drinks and chicken, resulting
in an average weighted tariff of 14 percent, as calculated by the IMF.
A three-percentage point tariff increase on all imports was enacted
in July 1998 as a revenue-enhancing measure. Although this import surcharge
has been presented as a temporary measure, it is unclear when it might
be revoked. Besides tariffs, there are two other types of charges applied
to imports: excise tax and value-added-tax (VAT). Excise tax applies
to a number of luxury goods, alcohol, cigarettes and autos, and varies
from 20 percent to 570 percent on a price- exclusive basis. The VAT
rate is now 20 percent, with the exception of foodstuffs (for which
VAT is 12 percent), and is applied to the import price plus tariff plus
Customs duties are payable on the customs value of goods in hard currency
or rubles at the current exchange rate. The customs value is generally
considered to be the CIF price of the goods imported. A customs processing
fee of 0.15 percent of the goods' actual cost is also levied. According
to customs regulations, customs processing should take no longer than
one month. If goods are refused by Russian Customs, regulations call
for their return to the country of origin.
Import licenses are required for importation of various goods, including
ethyl alcohol and vodka, combat and sporting weapons, self-defense articles,
explosives, military and ciphering equipment, radioactive materials
and waste including uranium, strong poisons and narcotics, and precious
metals, alloys and stones. Most import licenses are issued by the Russian
Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations and Trade (MinFERT) or its regional
branches, and controlled by the State Customs Committee. Licenses for
sporting weapons and self-defense articles are issued by the Interior
Russian Export Controls
Presidential Decree 245 of March 1995 lifted the need for MinFERT permission
to export "strategically important raw materials," such as oil and gas,
non-ferrous metals, fertilizers, cellulose, grain, fish products, and
electric power. The decree also abolished the list of "special exporters."
However, export of oil and gas is controlled in a practical sense by
the Ministry of Fuel and Energy's granting of access to the export pipeline.
Also, weapons, military equipment and dual-use materials and technology
continue to require export licenses. Exports of "strategically important
raw materials" still require registration with MinFERT.
Importers are required to complete a customs freight declaration for
every item imported. The declaration form consists of 54 paragraphs
and should be completed in the Russian language for presentation to
Customs authorities. Certificates of origin and conformity (see "Standards"
below) should also be presented at customs. Exporters are required to
complete an export declaration and, if necessary, present the appropriate
export license at customs. In addition, currency control authorities
require the issuance of a "passport" for both exports and imports to
ensure that hard currency earnings are repatriated to Russia and transfers
of hard currency payments for imports is for goods actually received
and properly valued.
Trade (US$ Billions)
Total Country Exports
Total Country Imports
Temporary imports by foreign companies, which are accredited
with Russian government authorities, are exempt from customs duties.
This applies to goods imported only for company use and for one year
only. Companies not accredited with Russian government authorities are
charged 3 percent of the total cost of the product on a monthly basis.
In this case, total cost equals original product price plus all import