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 Industries / Cargo Services  

Period  
              since 1999 on present time
 
Implemented Projects
Industry Description

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 service.

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 Service.

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.

Trade Barriers

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 excise tax.

Customs Valuation

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

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 Ministry.

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.

Import/Export Documentation

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)

1995

1996

1997

1998

Total Country Exports

78.3

85.0

89.3

86.6

Total Country Imports

46.7

45.9

47.7

52.5

Temporary Entry

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 taxes.

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