Business discusses customs reform with newly appointed head
On July 18, the European Business Association met with the newly appointed Head of the Customs Service – Maxim Nefyodov. During the meeting, we discussed the first changes to customs – electrification, personnel reforms, in particular, the removal of employees from the action of the “Civil Service” law and the recruitment of staff on a contractual basis. Other topics included the development of customs infrastructure and the creation of customs warehouses and roads, exchange of information between customs databases with other countries, the global change of customs functions for the service and the new Customs Code.
Maxim Nefyodov announced that in late September 2019 a new customs service will be launched instead of the SFS (State Fiscal Service), which will begin introducing changes in stages. Also, he revealed plans for the end of 2020 – the creation of a flat customs structure without regional offices and an increase in both the requirements for staff and their payment.
For its part, the business community highlighted problems that companies face and issues that require the immediate attention of the new chief. They told about the situation with indicative prices, which was formed in January 2019 that still leads to corruption in the field. A similar situation arises from the change in the product code, which leads to an increase in the rate of customs payments, or the demand for additional permissions/certificates. Maxim Nefyodov promised to bring reform to areas where customs officials may abuse their position.
The business community was also interested in the issue of a ban on the import of goods from Russia and additional special duty on other goods. The newly-elected head informed that, concerning the additional special duty, discussions are continuing in the CMU. At the same time, according to the new head, already imported goods must be cleared to execute contracts. For their part, companies have emphasized that some goods can be delivered exclusively from Russia and have strategic significance for the country. Mr. Nefyodov promised to consider each appeal, but in a comprehensive way, this problem can be solved only at the level of the CMU.
The head of the customs service called the protection of intellectual property one of the areas that needs intensive attention. This is the issue of patent trolling, and the format of customs registers, which will really help to fight with counterfeits. Considering the complexity of the issue, he proposed to hold a separate meeting with interested parties in a month.
It was equally important for business to hear that the priorities of the service were to abolish the budget planning of revenues from customs duties, which today creates conditions for manipulation at customs clearance at specific posts.
In the context of last week’s Presidential Decree №505, Mr. Nefodov mentioned that this document provides publication of all information regarding the export and import of goods. However, what information it is – will be discussed separately. In response, the Association members are looking forward to a real fight against smuggling, rather than pressure on transparent importers and exporters who are easy to find and who pay taxes in a timely manner. So, we hope for active cooperation on this issue.
At the end of the meeting, business thanked Maxim Nefyodov for this important dialogue at the start of the work of the new Customs Service. It should be noted that the business community supports the priorities set by a new leader, is ready to join the development of the customs and expects active cooperation.