Customs and International Trade


Our Customs & International Trade practice is one of the most long-established in Russia and today is recognised as one of the strongest in the market.

In Moscow, the Customs & International Trade team is headed by partner Vladimir Tchikine, who has over 20 years’ experience in this field.

Our specialists have been one of those “top-ranked”/ “highly recommended” by leading international legal directories (The Legal 500, Chambers & Partners, Best Lawyers, etc.) for many years now.

We advise clients on topical issues relating to their business needs, including localisation, sanctions-related matters and imports of new equipment, and represent them before the Russian customs authorities and courts.

Our specialist team has extensive customs litigation experience and has won 98% of its cases. We provide advice and practically assist with the recovery of overpaid customs duties resulting from customs classification or valuation of goods. We are experienced in certain trade matters, to name some SFG, AD, TBT, TRIMS, TRIPS – we assist clients to find solutions to trade barriers that may arise and that do arise from time to time in Russia and virtually in any part of the globe through the chain of preferred law-firms. Other governmental restrictions and customs compliance is also our area of expertise. We also advise on different aspects of export control, certification and licensing.

The Legal 500 2020

The professionals at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner keep their focus on the needs of the client and understand how businesses work.

The Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (Russia) Customs & International Trade Practice team provides comprehensive legal support on:

  • Support for cross-border operations:
    • Support for equipment importation projects;
    • Comprehensive support for cross-border operations (day-to-day).
  • Foreign trade in goods, work and services:
    • Drafting foreign trade contracts;
    • Advice on customs clearance of imported/exported goods;
    • Advice on selecting the most advantageous customs treatment;
    • Advice on goods classification under the Eurasian Economic Union's Commodity Classification for Foreign Trade; 
    • Advice and assistance in preparing documents for obtaining preliminary BTI decisions; 
    • Advice on WTO laws and regulations; 
    • Customs preferences; 
    • Advice on goods certification; 
    • Advice on import licensing and quotas; 
    • Advice on export control; 
    • Advice on foreign exchange regulation and control in Russia;
    • Inclusion of IP assets (trade marks) in the IP Assets  Customs Register;
    • Inclusion of companies in the Register of Approved Economic Operators of the Russian Federal Customs Service.
  • Legal representation of clients before the customs, foreign exchange control authorities and courts:
    • Challenging BTI decisions;
    • Challenging customs value adjustments;
    • Recovering overpaid/overcharged customs duties, excise duties and VAT;
    • Acting for clients in administrative cases over violations of the customs and exchange legislation;
    • Legal support during anti-dumping investigations;
    • Confirming entitlement to benefits.
  • Determination and confirmation of customs value:
    • Advice on selecting the method and structure with respect to customs value of imported goods;
    • Advice on including licence payments in the customs value of imported goods;
    • Transfer pricing.
  • Advice on vital legislative developments of the Eurasian Economic Union:
    • Application of the Eurasian Economic Union's Common Customs Tariff and the Commodity Classification for Foreign Trade (TN VED), international treaties and agreements concerning the Eurasian Economic Union, Resolutions of the Customs Union Commission and Eurasian Economic Commission's Board, Common Non-tariff Regulations within the Eurasian Economic Union and Common Customs and Tariff Regulations within individual Eurasian Economic Union member states; 
    • Practical assistance in developing projects to be implemented both within and outside the Eurasian Economic Union.

For more details about our international experience in international trade, please click here.


Customs and International Trade


We successfully defended Alltech (one of the top ten animal health companies in the world) in arbitrazh (commercial) courts in a dispute with the Customs. We proved that the customs classification of the goods was correct, thereby enabling the client to recover overpaid customs charges.

LG Electronics

Advised LG Electronics Rus on paying customs duties on certain types of imported domestic refrigerator at specific EEU customs tariff rates. In certain cases, the ad valorem equivalent of such rates could exceed the ad-valorem duty rate fixed as the bound tariff rate level in the Protocol on the Accession of the Russian Federation (to the WTO Agreement). By following our recommendations, the client recovered more than RUB 70 m from the government through the courts.

Alcoa, Barilla, Guardian, Icopal, Inalco, Mars and others

Advised a number of major companies, including Alcoa, Barilla, Guardian, Icopal, Inalco and Mars, on importing equipment as an in-kind contribution to authorised capital, providing legal support for customs clearance of imported goods and assisting in preparing the requisite documents for obtaining customs duty and VAT exemptions.

Russian Gas Turbines

Russian Gas Turbines: we proved that the importer was entitled to apply customs benefits to imported goods (power plant gas turbine components) even when the goods’ designated purpose underlying the benefits was formally confirmed by a competent authority only after the goods had already been cleared through customs (we represented Russian Gas Turbines, a GE joint venture).


Won a series of customs classification cases for Sanofi in the Commercial Court of Central region, despite negative customs and court practice of classifying similar goods in other regions of Russia. The value at stake was over RUB 100 m a year.

STS Logistics

STS Logistics: contested a customs authority BTI decision and associated demands for customs payments and also represented the client in administrative case proceedings. Despite the negative case history and extremely ambiguous legislation currently regulating classification of the goods imported by the client (hydrocracking reactors), we succeeded in proving that all decisions rendered by the customs authorities on the matter were illegal and in having the administrative case closed. The fiscal claims against our client totalled over RUB 0.5 bn.


Advised L’Oreal on techniques for adding royalties and assists (due to a related party) to the customs value of imported goods (the amount of royalties is not known at the time of importation).

Major agroindustrial corporation

Major agroindustrial corporation: arranged for import into Russia of industrial equipment required for expanding the company’s business. The project covers drafting of international trade contracts, negotiations on contractual terms and conditions and control over compliance with the customs legislation rules during transport of the equipment. Conducted an expert review of compliance by accompanying documents with international trade contracts and the customs legislation. The project has also involved contacting and communicating with carriers, customs representatives, suppliers and the buyer in relation to practical aspects of equipment import.


We advised Chrysler on customs activities as part of a project to equip foreign-made vehicles with the ERA-GLONASS system. Our work scope included reviewing matters relating to exporting the system from Russia, applying customs regimes, etc.

Nokia Networks

Advised Nokia Networks on structuring cross-border and domestic transactions and supply of telecommunications equipment and software to ensure compliance with the customs and tax regimes.

VTS Group

Represented VTS Group in a dispute against the Russian Customs over the customs classification of the ventilation equipment and illegal fiscal claims against the client filed thereby. Our actions made the Customs return to our client the funds they had recovered earlier and accept the client’s position regarding classification of the equipment.


Court representation of OBI in a dispute with the Customs over adjustment of the customs value of imported products (Christmas trees). We were able to prove that the Customs’ decision was unlawful. In its adjustment, the Customs had incorrectly compared the value of our client’s products with that of similar goods imported by others. Specifically, the comparison had used information on the value of the goods imported into Russia much earlier than the client’s products. Furthermore, the Customs had ignored the considerable differences between the volumes of supplies of the client’s products and those of the reference goods imported by others.

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Customs and International Trade

Awards & Rankings

Customs and International Trade