Lena Belozerova

Associate Director, Foreign Trade, Customs and Exchange Regulation

Lena’s extensive expertise in customs and administrative law, and practical knowledge of foreign exchange matters enable her to maintain an open and effective dialogue with both Russian and other business community members and customs authorities.

Major multinational and domestic companies approach Lena for assistance on various matters pertaining to foreign trade, import into and export from Russia, as well as defence on administrative and criminal cases.

She has comprehensive knowledge of the legislation regulating customs value, including internationally. Lena has excellent mastery of ways to confirm the customs value of goods imported under related party transactions and her expertise on inclusion of royalties in the customs value of goods has already helped her numerous clients to justify the customs value of their goods. With Lena’s assistance, her clients have implemented their projects successfully, particularly ones relating to adjustment of declared customs value. She offers a tailored approach to her clients and their needs. Lena achieves excellent results since she provides advice and recommendations based on comprehensive analysis.

Thanks to Ms Belozerova’s approach and experience, and following her due diligence of a transaction and analysis of the agreements, the Customs accept the final adjusted customs value, so the risks of incorrect declaration are ruled out.

Lena has considerable experience and comprehensive knowledge of proving the country of origin of goods, which is particularly important for obtaining customs benefits when goods are brought in from CIS countries, developing and less developed countries and are carried within the EEU.

Ms Belozerova is ready to support clients that, suffering from unlawful Customs decisions, are desperate to get justice. Lena acts for companies and individuals in court, achieving a more acceptable lawful judgement.

With Lena’s assistance, her clients have succeeded in obtaining lawful decisions on goods’ customs value or classification, recovered customs payments paid or collected in excess, challenged failure to act or unlawful actions by the Customs, and obtained lawful and reasonable decisions.

Assisted by Lena, her clients successfully challenge unlawful resolutions by the Customs and foreign exchange controlling authorities on holding their companies administratively liable for customs and currency violations.

Lena Belozerova was selected by peers as one of the best lawyers in Russia in the fields of Customs and Excise Law, and Trade Law, according to the Best Lawyers in Russia 2009-2022 Editions.

Lena has been recognised as Lawyer of the Year in Trade Law by the Best Lawyers in Russia 2021 Edition

Who’s Who Legal 2016-2020 highly recommends Lena Belozerova as a leading lawyer in Trade & Customs in Russia.

Some recent projects Lena Belozerova has led and managed include:

  • Advised on and implemented projects for adjustment of customs value for customs clearance purposes following royalties not being included in the customs value of imported goods. The due diligence conducted by Lena revealed that such royalties should have been included in the customs value so the clients decided to make the customs payments and adjust the declared customs value voluntarily. During just the first half of 2021, five such projects were implemented for businesses in various industries (pharmaceuticals, manufacture of children’s products, pet products, packing materials and paints).
  • Advised a pharmaceutical company and acted for it in negotiations with the Customs over royalties not being included in the customs value of imported raw materials though the Customs insisted they should be. As a result, the Customs agreed with the evidence provided and dropped all the charges (both administrative and criminal).
  • Successfully acted for SICK LLC in a dispute with the Customs over tariff classification of 2D laser scanners imported into Russia. After a number of court proceedings, it was decided that the Customs’ approach to the tariff classification of 2D laser scanners was not legally substantiated.
  • Acted for SOT CJSC in a dispute with the Customs over tariff classification of process equipment for manufacturing pipeline bends.
  • Advised LG Elelctronics Rus on EEU tariff binding in connection with Russia’s participation in the WTO. Our recommendations helped the client recover significant overpaid customs payments from the government.
  • Acted for a major international film production company in negotiations with the customs authorities over confirmation of the customs value of goods incorporating intellectual property. Represented the company’s interests in commercial courts challenging illegal customs authority decisions and appealing against unlawful resolutions imposing administrative liability.
  • Acted for a major global consumer goods company in a dispute with the Customs over goods classification. Some of the classification decisions were cancelled by the Customs themselves (the authority agreed it had made an error in issuing a BTI) and some were recognised by the court as illegal and running counter to the legislation.
  • Provided legal support for a project to contest Customs classification decisions. In one of the litigations, incorrect classification of goods resulted in a 15% increase in the import customs rate and the client’s business in Russia faced liquidation as being uncompetitive because of the high price of its goods. The commercial court agreed that the Customs had classified the goods incorrectly, disregarded expert opinions and European experience of classifying such goods.
  • Acted for a major trading company in challenging illegal omissions on the part of the Customs regarding repayment of overpaid customs dues. Owing to the customs value being determined incorrectly upon importation of goods and absence of confirming documents, the customs value was considerably overstated, thus pushing up the customs payments due. The Customs took a formal approach to the matter and refused to repay the overpaid sums. The commercial court upheld the claimant’s position and recognised the refusal as invalid. This was not the only instance of such a dispute and extensive experience has been accumulated of recovering excessive customs charges paid/collected.
  • Acted for a major Russian gas company in litigation with the Customs over determination of customs value during sale of goods to an affiliated entity at below cost price for subsequent export. All the court rulings were passed in favour of the client and the overpaid customs dues and legal costs were refunded to the company.
  • Acted for a major European food producer in customs and court appeals against customs authority actions to enforce customs payments.
  • Advised a leading global food company on customs and exchange matters, including determining customs value, gaining benefits on customs payments and classifying goods. Obtained a WCO goods classification opinion for the Company.
  • Successfully handled a litigation by the Russian arm of an international oil services major against customs authority decisions classifying goods and upwardly assessing customs payments; the court ruling on this case constituted a welcome precedent for many foreign trading companies importing similar goods.

Lena’s clients include many international companies, including Reckitt Benckiser, Ruscan, Kimberly-Clark, Mars and NALCO / Ecolab.

Lena keeps abreast of new legal developments, builds up her knowledge and improves her expertise with respect to the EEU legislation and anti-dumping laws, and participates actively in conferences and seminars on foreign trade. She also delivers personal workshops as a customs and foreign exchange expert.