The Customs Code entered into force in the countries of the Eurasian Economic Union on January 1, 2018. The document is valid for a week. But a few people in Kyrgyzstan know what to expect from it. 24.kg news agency compiled the main innovations that the Code introduced.
How Kyrgyzstan disgraced itself
A scandal accompanied adoption of the Customs Code in Kyrgyzstan. It all started back in December 2016. During the summit of the heads of EEU states, it was first reported that Kyrgyzstan had not signed the Customs Code. However, a little later the Chairman of the Eurasian Economic Commission’s Board Tigran Sargsyan stated that Kyrgyzstan still signed the document.
In April 2017, first the prime ministers, and then the presidents of EEU countries, confirmed that the Customs Code of EEU would enter into force on January 1, 2018. The countries of the Union decided to synchronize the process of ratifying the document for this.
As a result, the government of Kyrgyzstan submitted the Customs Code of EEU for ratification to the Parliament only at the end of October 2017. The deputies adopted the document in the first reading only on November 30, 2017. Further voting for the document lasted too long. The deputies approved the Code in the final third reading only on December 27, 2017.
But there were difficulties. President of Kyrgyzstan Sooronbai Jeenbekov imposed a veto on the document and returned it to the Parliament. It turned out that the deputies passed the bill with the wording that would come into force 15 days after signing by the head of state. Deputies had to meet for an extraordinary meeting on the last working day of 2017 in order to adopt a new version of the law on ratification of the agreement on EEU.
Sooronbai Jeenbekov signed the law on ratification of the Customs Code of the Eurasian Economic Union on December 30, 2017. Kyrgyzstan was the last country of the Union, which approved the document.
The deputies considered that the government was to blame for the error in the terms of entry into force of the Customs Code. Deputy Iskhak Masaliev demanded to consider the responsibility of the Prime Minister for «the political mistake.»
The head of the Cabinet, Sapar Isakov, did not wait for reprimand from the deputies. By order of the Prime Minister, the reprimand was issued to the Minister of Economy Artem Novikov, the Chairman of the State Customs Service Kubanychbek Kulmatov. The Deputy Minister of Economy Bakkeldi Tyumenbaev and Deputy Chairman of the State Customs Service Zamirbek Niyazaliev got severe reprimands.
A number of employees of the government’s executive office were dismissed for improper execution of duties. Sanzhar Umetaliev was relieved of his duties as a representative of Kyrgyzstan in EEU.
Why do we need a new Code?
According to the statement of the Eurasian Economic Commission, the Customs Code takes into account 70 percent of business proposals. The document includes all the existing rules and regulations concerning the work of the customs in the countries of the Union. This should greatly simplify the doing business procedure. All the countries of the Eurasian Economic Union have single norms and rules now.
«The Customs Code of EEU is a fundamental set of rules for regulating foreign economic activity for all the five countries. This is one of the main results of our work in 2017,» Tigran Sargsyan, Chairman of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC), told reporters.
The main difference between the new Customs Code and its previous version is that it is completely focused on electronic technologies.
Many processes will be automated, and communication of entrepreneurs and customs officers will be minimized. The Code introduces such a concept as «electronic declaration». The EEC is sure that this will reduce corruption risks, transaction costs and speed up the work of the customs services.
The time of registration of a declaration will be reduced twice, and the time of release of goods — six times.
The main advantage is that the new customs legislation will relieve the participants of foreign economic activity from the necessity to obligatory submit documents to the customs authority based on which the electronic declaration was filled. They must be submitted only in cases when the risk profiles of the information system, not of a customs officer, are activated.
«Single window» mechanism for customs procedures is also stipulated. Ideally, it is planned that a businessperson submits a declaration in electronic format via the Internet and his problems end there. Supervisory authorities themselves conduct further inspection. One does not need to go to customs officers, veterinarians, phytosanitary services and so on with the same set of documents.
«We offer the business clear and stable rules — a set of rules that will allow each entrepreneur to make necessary economic calculations in advance with the confidence that the rules will not suddenly change when the cargo is brought into the customs territory of EEU,» Tigran Sargsyan concluded.
Online purchases not limited so far
At most, the new Customs Code actually concerns the business. Exactly the entrepreneurs trade, transport products across customs borders. They will be the first to assess how successful the document turned out to be.
However, there is also a section that is interesting to a wide circle of people. It is about online trading.
When discussing the document, possible restrictions of purchases on foreign websites made a lot of noise. After a wave of indignation, the initiators decided to keep the current norms of duty-free import of goods — up to €1,000. And it’s not one purchase, but the total value of all purchases for the month. But this is only for 2018.
In 2019, fans of overseas shopping will have to limit appetites. The amount of the duty-free import threshold will be reduced to €500.
If it is exceeded, one will have to pay a customs duty — 30 percent of the amount paid, but not less than €4 per 1 kilogram of goods.
From 2020, any purchase with a cost of over €200 will be subject to a duty. One will have to pay 15 percent of the amount — but not less than €2 per kilogram.
Two years later, each purchase will be taken into account, not the total value of the goods for the month. EEC notes that in such a way it tries to fight those who resell foreign goods at unreasonably high prices.