Goltsblat BLP advises that, on 5 November 2010, the Russian President signed the Federal Law “On the Russian Federation’s accession to the International Convention on the simplification and harmonisation of Customs procedures of 18 May 1973 in the wording of the Protocol for amending the International Convention on the simplification and harmonisation of Customs procedures of 26 June 1999”, which came into effect on 22 November 2010.
The purpose of this legal act is to bring the Russian legislation into line with the international customs regulatory standards and rules, this being a prerequisite for Russia to join the World Trade Organisation. The provisions and principles introduced by the Convention are expected to simplify customs formalities, speed up the changeover to electronic documents and automated customs procedures and promote the launch of electronic one-stop-shops.
The Convention contains three sections and includes the body text, a general annex and special appendices. According to clause 1, article 12 of the Convention, the scope of the Russian Federation’s obligations on joining the Convention is limited by the general annex, which establishes the principles for determining customs control, customs clearance matters and other customs formalities, the principles for collaboration between the customs authorities and foreign trade participants, application of simplified customs procedures to a certain range of parties, the principles for assessing, collecting and paying customs duties and taxes, the procedure for contesting decisions and omissions by the customs authorities, etc. The Russian Federation has the option of acceding to the special appendices of the Convention.
The Convention will not come into effect immediately, since it provides for a three-year transition period, during which the national legislation is to be amended. At the same time, it should be remembered that the customs legislation of Russia is interrelated with the legislation of the Customs Union. In this context, the regulatory framework of the Customs Union will presumably also require modification.
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