Russian to speed cargo customs clearance

In order to speed up the cargo customs clearance process, Russia has established  centers to process electronic customs declarations filed via Russia’s single window, the Journal of Commerce reports.

Along with the new centers, the Russian Federal Customs Service (FCS) is harmonizing declaration procedures and putting more inspectors behind computers to examine paperwork rather than boxes themselves, reducing opportunities for corruption.

The new centers and shift to electronic declarations should also help to cut down on tax evasion. As it stands, some unscrupulous shippers currently misclassify cargo so that they can pay lower taxes on the shipment and then resell the imported goods at higher rates, which also puts at a competitive disadvantage shippers who comply with tax rules.

As more paperwork becomes electronic, the FCS will be able to track cargo through the Eurasian Economic Union, which should make it easier to identify companies that violate tax regulations.

Along with these measures, the FCS will work to expand a three-tier system classifying shippers by the perceived risk of a customs violation. Shippers in the lowest-risk tier, which make up just 8 percent of shippers at present, will be able to have their shipments processed in a matter of minutes, rather than several hours. This will also enable the FCS to conduct targeted searches and inspections instead of blanket inspections, which regularly occur now.

For a shipper to qualify for the highest tier they must have been involved in foreign trade for at least two years with no less than 150 declarations over the same period and no violations of customs regulations.

The FCS aims to have the share of shippers in the system rise from 44 percent at present to 80 percent by 2020.

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