New Federal Customs Service instruction published on classifying certain commodities under the commodity nomenclature for foreign trade

Legal update No 500

Goltsblat BLP advises that Instruction No. 233-r of 15 August 2014 “On Classifying Certain Commodities under the Customs Union's Commodity Nomenclature for Foreign Trade” issued by the Russian Federal Customs Service to come into effect on 19 February 2015 (the Instruction), was officially published on 19 January 2015.

The Instruction approves a new compendium of resolutions and clarifications to the Customs Union's common Commodity Nomenclature for Foreign Trade (the CU CN) for certain commodities (the Compendium). This document is an updated version of the current classification resolution and clarification compendium approved by Russian Federal Customs Service Decision No. 34-r of 1 March 2012. Note that the CU CN has so far been renamed the Commodity Nomenclature for Foreign Trade of the Eurasian Economic Union (the EEU CN). Although this change has not been recorded in the Compendium, this does not influence the binding nature of its provisions.

The Compendium corrects certain spelling, syntactical, punctuation and logical errors in the current version, yet the text still contains some contradictory provisions. For instance, lazurite has been deleted from the list of natural precious and semiprecious stones (CN heading 7103), though its commercial name (lunar caustic or lapis lazuli) is used in the Compendium for a different mineral, i.e., lazulite, which remains on the list of precious and semiprecious stones (the Compendium, cl. 88, table 88.1). The Compendium provision governing the issues of disassembled (unassembled) pallet, tray, loading plate and shell classification (the Compendium, cl. 66) is to be edited as some of its text is inconsistent.

The Compendium has certain new contents for classifying commodities:

  1. Technical documentation in form of designs, which is not a freehand original or copies thereof, is to be classified under CN code 4911 91 000 0 as reproductions, designs and photographs;
  2. Gypsum (commercial name: gypsum, alabaster, selenite) has been deleted from the list of precious and semiprecious stones (CN heading 7103);
  3. The time when used wheeled vehicles classified under CN headings 8701, 8702, 8703, 8704 and 8705 were produced is to be determined under Appendix No. 6 to the Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan intergovernmental agreement of 18 June 2010 “On Procedure for Individuals to Move Goods for Personal Use across the Customs Border of the Customs Union and to Perform Customs Operations Pertaining to Their Production” (the time when a vehicle was produced is generally determined by the data in the documents confirming its initial registration);
  4. Classification of self-propelled chassis-driven drilling plants under CN heading 8705 has been specified to establish an exhaustive list of features when self-propelled chassis are treated as a vehicle (if there is an engine, a gearbox and gear shift shafts, a steering wheel and brakes);
  5. Classification of assembled construction structures under CN heading 9406 00 has been specified to establish an exhaustive list of indicia when such structures are treated as buildings (roofed structures with walls or side pillars);
  6. The definition of dressed timber classified under CN heading 4407 has been specified;
  7. The term tarsus used in subheadings of CN heading 0207 has been defined;
  8. The list of the features for monitors not to qualify as used solely or principally in an automatic data-processing system of CN heading 8471 now excludes DVI interfaces.
Note that once Russian Federal Customs Service Instruction No. 233-r of 15 August 2014 has come into effect the customs authorities will have to alter any previous preliminary classification decisions (BTIs) that are not consistent with the Compendium.

In using the Compendium, note should also be taken that the tariff commodity classification is in line with the CN. Consequently, to avoid potential errors in determining a particular commodity code, please be guided by the commodity nomenclature and relevant explanatory notes, while remembering that the customs authorities will be mostly governed by the Compendium.

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