Rules of the Border
Presidium of the cabinet Council considered new Customs Code
The Customs Code, ordinances of the President of Belarus, resolutions of the Government and a huge list of regulatory acts of the State Customs Committee… The intricate and multi-layer structure of Belarus’ customs regulations was criticized by the businesses involved in foreign economic activities. Lengthy and complex registration procedures and arbitrariness of officials often were insurmountable barriers for exporters and hampered foreign trade growth. The country needed a new code based on the principles of regulation of foreign trade adopted by the World Trade Organization. Besides, the new Customs Code of the Russian Federation came into effect last January, so Belarus could not lag behind its Union State partner that it shares the common customs space with.
“Belarus is a transit country that is quite interested in the harmonization of its Customs Code with the Russian initiatives aimed at simplifying the border-crossing procedures,” Belarus’ Prime Minister Sergei Sidorsky said.
The draft new version of the code fully meets all requirements, the drafters believe. Some 80% of key provisions correspond to the norms of the Russian Customs Code.
The developers of the code expect that the lines on the state border will disappear after the document comes into effect, moreover, transit traffic that rose by 15–19% on the year in January-September is to increase even more. This is real money for the national economy. But why are the drafters so certain that the new version will help? “First of all, the new version of the code specifies the rights and duties of the customs service and economic entities, the deputy chief of the State Customs Committee of Belarus, Vladimir Goshin, said. This means the new code includes a full list of documents that carriers have to pass the customs. Customs officers will be unable to demand any documents that are not on the list. Besides, screening and inspection procedures will be simplified. Carriers may be inspected only if there are discrepancies in documents or if there is a broken seal.
Inspectors may now keep a vehicle on the border for 10 days, but after the document comes into effect there will be no arbitrary unmotivated decisions.”
The Customs Code opens the possibility of electronic declaration.
Companies will be able to send customs documents, including declarations, invoices and way-bills, via computer networks. The registration period will be reduced ten times, chief of the State Customs Committee, Alexander Shpilevsky, said.
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