The countries of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) have finally agreed and signed the Union’s new Customs Code replacing regulations adopted back in 2009. The document was signed following the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council (SEEC) meeting in St. Petersburg attended by the presidents of Russia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan.
The President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko did not participate to the meeting. However, he approved the draft agreement of the Customs Code with signing a relevant decree on Dec. 31.
The document was not signed by the president of Kyrgyzstan. However, the new Customs Code will come into force anyways, even though its was effectively signed (by now) only by the three member state of the EEU, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
According to him, the harmonization of approaches of EEU member-states regarding the Customs Code will be continued at the level of governments and will sooner or later “come into force in the interest of future integration processes”.
Previously, it was expected that after signing of the document by the presidents of the EEU member states, the new unified code would have come into force already on Jan. 2017.
It took three years to have the new Customs Code be drafted. It primary seeks to make customs operations more transparent and facilitate interaction between businesses and government agencies by switching to the common customs procedures within the EEU. What’s more, it is expected to substantially reduce paperwork and physical contact with officials as it envisages new approaches to IT-based customs operations.
Once the new document comes into force, the Eurasian Economic Commission will have to determine cost and weight ceilings of duty free trade which are expected to be common for all the countries of the Union. At the national level, the countries will establish lower rates of duty-free importation of goods transported by international mail and express carriers.
The EEU members also agreed that after one year from the signing of the document, they will gradually lower the ceiling for duty-free import of goods from foreign online stores into EEU countries. Presumably, in 2018, the limit will be set at 500 euros. Import of goods for the sum above 500 euro will envisage a payment of 30%, but not less than 4 euro per 1 kg. In 2019, the ceiling will be lowered to 200 euros. Above this limit the payment will amount to 15%, but not less than 2 euro per 1 kg.
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