08 11 / 18

VEDOMOSTI. “In two months, you will have to pay a custom duty of more than 500 euros for import of goods”, - Valeria Selivanova, PARADIGMA expert and partner of the firm, commented on 8 November 2018

The Council of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) has taken a decision that the norms for duty-free importation of goods by ground transport will be reduced threefold from 1 January 2019.  The document was published in early November on the website of the Eurasian Economic Union.

Until 2018, there were no uniform norms for the duty-free importation of goods for personal use in the countries of the Union – the norms appeared together with the new Customs Code of the Eurasian Economic Union. Now, without paying duties, you can import goods by car or train for up to 1,500 euros or 50 kg, but as early as December 2017, the countries agreed to lower thresholds. This should have happened gradually: in 2019 - up to 1,000 euros, then a decrease of 250 euros annually and so on to 500 euros in 2021. The weight remained at first the same; in 2020 it was reduced to 35 kg, after a year - to 25 kg. However, the EEC decided to speed up the process - the norms will drop to 500 euros and 25 kg in two months. As a representative of the Federal Customs Service (FCS) has said, Russia made this proposal.

It will be necessary to pay a custom duty of 30% on the amount exceeding the importation norms, otherwise you can be liable to pay a fine, your goods can be confiscated or you can even be charged with an offence. For air passengers nothing changes - you can import personal goods for 10,000 euros or up to 50 kg without paying custom duty.

New standards also do not apply to alcohol and indivisible goods - for example, to the equipment heavier than 35 kg. The norm of import of alcoholic beverages and beer has already been reduced: from 5 litres per person (of which 2 litres are free from the custom duty) to 3 litres.

Partner of PARADIGMA, Valeria Selivanova, points out that “such a decrease unified the general norms for the importation of goods brought into the EEC by ground transport. Earlier, the norm of duty-free importation of goods for personal use, delivered by the carrier or by mail, was reduced to 500 euros from January 1, 2019. Now all types of transportation of goods by land, including accompanied or unaccompanied baggage, have led to uniform norms of duty-free importation”.

"Initially, the decrease in duty-free import limits by land transport is aimed at restricting the importation of goods ordered from foreign online stores and delivered by mail / courier services (therefore, the standards for air passengers did not change - as it refers specifically to personal transportation of goods purchased by tourists during a trip)”, - comments Valeria Selivanova.

“Associations of e-commerce and distance selling were in favor of such a decrease in limits, since it was necessary to increase the competitiveness of Russian retailers, and especially online stores. All recent studies show that we now have a large traffic of goods ordered by Russian Internet users from foreign online stores and of course, our retailers cannot compete with them, given the import duties paid by them, VAT, etc. A 20% VAT (recently increased Russian value-added tax) that will be effective from January 1, 2019 also hits them hard. Therefore, apparently, our legislators have taken measures aimed at protecting our retailers, making all types of import of goods by ground transport less profitable for consumers.

Also, as I understand it, the EEC member states decided to deal even more strongly with “grey” imports and businesses, limiting small entrepreneurs who had previously shipped low-cost goods from abroad. From a consumer’s point of view, this is, of course, not the best decision - it was much more profitable to order some goods from abroad, as they were much cheaper than buying similar goods in Russia. But from the point of view of protecting the interests of Russian merchants, it is timely and essential as it is difficult for them to survive when they cannot offer competitive conditions to consumers – due to the high internal taxation and purchase value of the goods!” -  PARADIGMA’s expert Valeria Selivanova said.