Ukraine and EU Approve Customs Cooperation Strategy
Kyiv, May 25, 2012. Ukraine and the EU reached a political agreement on joint cooperation strategy regarding customs. Among other issues, the cooperation will promote information exchange and introduce efficient countering of customs violations.
The decision ensued from the meeting of the First Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine Valeriy Khoroshkovskyi and Algirdas Šemeta, EU Commissioner for Taxation, Customs, Audit and Anti-fraud. The new plan of action – Strategic Framework for Customs Cooperation – will contribute to the quality of bilateral trade relations and help protect the citizens of both parties against customs fraud. The draft of the document was first submitted to the EU in July of 2011.
The strategy includes four components: reform of customs control, preparation of the expansion of the transit system, institutional development, and customs information exchange.
The three priorities for customs cooperation of the EU and Ukraine for 2011-2013 are the creation of safe and smooth conditions for trade (namely, speeding up all of the customs proceedings, integrated border control, improvement of border infrastructure), introduction of the effective analysis of customs violations through information exchange, and modernization of Ukraine’s customs service (fight against corruption, simplification of procedures, introduction of up-to-date standards).
Cooperation of the State Customs Service of Ukraine with the European institutions regulating customs control, including cooperation with the European Anti-Fraud Office OLAF regarding cigarette smuggling, is part of Ukraine’s European ambition. This priority policy is listed in the EU-Ukraine Association Agenda.
The State Customs Service is responsible for the implementation of the customs-related part of the Agenda. One of the practical achievements in the field has been the delegation of the right to issue EUR.1 movement certificate to the State Customs Service. The certificate is a customs clearance, which contains data on the origin of goods (the manufacturer provides this information).
As part of Ukraine’s efforts to implement international standards, including European, into its customs legislation, in March of 2012 the Ukrainian parliament adopted a new Customs Code of Ukraine. The EU customs and logistics experts participated in the preparation of the code.
Among the most valuable innovations, introduced by the code, is the right of entities of foreign economic activity to be subjected to customs processing at any customs body. Additionally, the customs authorities now face several limitations that include the enforcement of the time limit to perform customs control procedure, prohibition to confiscate goods and vehicles, as well as absence of the right to execute court rulings independently.
The code provides the exhaustive list of documents one is expected to submit for control at the customs. The document also provides a catalogue of items, which are considered personal belongings and cannot be taxed when taken across the border.
The State Customs Service advocates that the code will help stimulate foreign economic activity and increase trade volume along with state budget income.