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VISUALLY VERSION
25.10.2006 Russian customs is 15 years

Each year Russian customs officers celebrate October 25th as their professional holiday. The state, by making this day a holiday, thus marked the significance of the profession and input of customs service in social and economic development of Russia, provisions for its security and sovereignty.

Throughout all recent history, which is usually recognized as started from October 25th 1991 – the day when the President of Russia signed the Decree “On setting up of the State Service Committee of the Russian Soviet Socialist Federative Republic”, the service has confirmed rightfulness of high assessment of the state.

 Having overcome destructive effects of disintegration of the USSR, having inherited 14 thousand kilometers of not developed borders, severely lacking professional force, the service has passed a long way of growth and development.

Customs service of Russia today is one of the largest customs services in the world. It is a multifunctional, technically equipped, dynamic structure, with more than 60 thousand qualified personnel working in it.

The FCS of Russia is composed of 7 regional Customs Administrations, 144 customs offices, including 4 specialized, 688 customs terminals, 317 checkpoints at the state border. In its structure there is a higher education establishment – Russian Customs Academy, recognized by the World Customs Organization as one of its regional training centers.

 Federal Customs Service has 7 representative offices abroad – in Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzia, Finland, Germany and Belgium. Opening of representative offices in China and Poland are being considered now.

In the territory with 11 time zones it controls successfully foreign trade turnover of Russia, which in 2005 amounted to more than 9 trillion rubles.

Customs officers process each year about three million cargo customs declarations; and every day transfer to the budget approximately eleven billion rubles. At that, the amounts of customs charges collected were growing with every year: if in 1991 the budget received more than 4 billion rubles (about 76 million USD), then in 2005 it was already more than 2 trillion rubles (more than75.5 billion USD), which is almost 1000 times more. More than 2 trillion rubles have been transferred already in 9 months of 2006, which is by 45% more than in a similar period for the last year.

Accordingly there has grown the share of customs payments in the structure of federal budget: in 2005 it amounted to 41.8%. For comparison: in 1991 this particular parameter was not higher than 10%.

In the end of the last year the government of the RF approved the Concept of development of customs service till 2010 and for the subsequent years. This event became crucial in life of Russian customs.

Major goal of the Concept is setting up in Russia of competitive customs service, efficient for the state and “transparent” for foreign trade participants.

 In this year there has been developed the plan of its implementation and has been defined the scope of financing which will be required for equipping customs with modern technical control tools, for developing the border, setting up unified interdepartmental data base of control bodies, for development of up-to-date information customs technologies, carrying out special operations, post-audit and other envisaged by the Concept measures.

The balance between customs control in part of ensuring safety and measures, facilitating trade, - that was the strategy of development of customs, as established in the Concept of development of customs authorities, which is fully compliant with the principles of the World Trade Organization. It envisages transfer of customs authorities from control of goods to control of information about goods, from total inspection of goods to random selective inspection. Such transfer becomes possible due to using the system of risks management, customs post-audit, establishing partners’ relations with business, as well as simplification of customs procedures, based on implementation of state –of-the-art information technologies.

Electronic declaring, preliminary informing of customs authorities about the goods conveyed across the border, single computer aided system of collection, storing and processing of information with performance of all types of state control, which would be introduced in the nearest time, the principle of “one stop” and “one window” would enable raising customs procedures to a new quality level.

 As result of implementation of the measures envisaged by the Concept there would be customs administration, ensuring its high efficiency with external simplicity and prompt clearance of goods, in other words, “control as a type of service”.

 In the Concept of development of customs service, and also in Federal purpose oriented program “State Border”, there has been envisaged a wide variety of measures, targeted to ease conveyance of goods across the border without negative impact to control functions.

From the time of accepting Federal purpose oriented program “State Border” the number of motor vehicle border checkpoints (APP), erected as permanent structures increased by 50%, and currently there are 37 such checkpoints. On the whole there are 191 motor vehicle border checkpoints (APP) on the Russian border.

Within the framework of the Program it is planned to erect 268 objects of customs infrastructure, including 35 motor vehicle border checkpoints (APP), 8 canine team centers and Operations center of the FCS of Russia for management of integrated control in the terminal points.

Quite new direction in work of development of the border became its equipping with Inspectorial-Supervision Complexes (IDK) for control of containers and large transport means. Experience of using IDKs by other customs services of other countries has proved their high efficiency.

 IDK allow in the minimum time (about 5 min) without opening and off-loading obtain an X-ray imaging of a container and transport means with goods possessing characteristics allowing to detect the goods prohibited for transportation.

Currently at motor vehicle border checkpoints “Troebortnoe” there has been brought into operation the first stationary IDK. In 2006 at Rostov customs started to operate a mobile IDK complex. In 2007 an IDK complex shall be installed at International motor vehicle border checkpoints “Brusnichnoe”, “Torfyanovka”, “Burachki”, “Ubylinka”, “Verkhni Lars”, “Petukhovo”, “Zabaikalsk”, “Orsk”, “Ilek”. Within the first five years at the border there will be located 72 stationary and mobile Inspectorial-Supervision Complexes (IDK), 10 – in sea ports.

These are the first initially required Inspectorial-Supervision Complexes.

Subsequently all the border of Russia will be equipped with such complexes.

Organization of work of border checkpoints will also be transformed.

Currently all control functions there are performed by the bodies of border, customs, transport, immigration, sanitary-quarantine, veterinary and phytosanitary control.

 The FCS of Russia, is cooperating closely with them, developing Interdepartmental integrated computer aided system of motor vehicle check points.

 This system will be operated by all control authorities at motor vehicle border checkpoints APP. Striving to enhance state control at checkpoints through state border of the RF, the FCS of Russia has developed a new scheme, in accordance to which there will remain only two control bodies at APP: border and customs control, the rest will be removed outside of the regime territory of checkpoints.

 Such scheme would enable not only significantly decrease the time, required for passing customs and other types of state control, but would also increase their efficiency and reliability.

According to the norms recognized by World Customs organization, the level of maturity of customs organization of any state is its developed infrastructure, application of modern information technologies, legal basis and qualified personnel.

Modern customs service of Russia meets these criteria, while introduction in operation of a new Customs Code in 2004 has brought it closer to the first ten countries with the most developed customs legislation.

Another confirmation of growing role of Russian customs in the world was election of Russia a Vice-President of WCO – coordinator of European region, and also issuing by the World bank a loan in the amount of 140 million USD мfor modernization of information systems of customs authorities of Russia. At that, World Bank mission, when on regular verification visits in Russia, expressed their complete satisfaction with the way the given project was implemented. The fact that the FCS of Russia pays much attention to the issues of modernization of information systems and implementation of modern technologies is also confirmed by a diploma for implementation of new technologies, for the best information solution of the process of automation of customs control.

Currently all Russian customs authorities are united into a single computer aided information system. Automated technology of customs- banking currency control based on information cooperation between customs bodies and banking system as well as with other control and law enforcement authorities was one of the first to be implemented in the field of customs activities. Apart from traditional control over conveyance across the border of currency and currency valuables by customs authorities together with the Bank of Russia there was organized a full-scale currency control for foreign trade operations of residents, related to conveyance across the border of goods and transport means.

In the period from 1993 to 2003 they carried out 209 thousand checks, which resulted with penalties for 41.5 billion rubles. In the conditions of new currency legislation from middle of 2004 until now customs authorities carried out another 72 thousand checks, on the results of which the violations detected were penalized for the amount of 4.7 billion rubles.

 Owing to realizing by customs authorities of the functions of currency control (including operative-search activities and use of penalties) it was possible to reduce to point hundredth percent in 2003 of the level of export income non-return (from 30% to 1993) and volumes of goods, not imported as per importation deals (from 50% in 1995). In parallel with creation of technology of customs banking currency control there was resolved the problem of accounting of cargo customs declaration from the moment of appointing to it a reference number to completion of clearance. Implementation of automated workstation of customs inspector, even under the conditions of the lack of computer equipment, created a possibility of forming electronic databases and an objective picture of the whole foreign trade activity. After that, there was introduced in operation information-reference system used in customs until now when resolving various information tasks.

Apart from that, in various periods of activity of customs authorities there were implemented automated control system of goods delivery, automated workstations for control over goods deliveries (WS “Delivery”), integrated telecommunications network “Control (IBS “Control”), complex computerized system “AIST (Stork)–RT21”, operating via optic fiber communication channels, other information technologies. Realities of time requested from customs non standard solutions. It may be illustrated by an example of Kaliningrad region, when it found itself surrounded by European Union countries - former Soviet republics; and was confronted with difficulties in transit of goods from Russia to enclave and back. Russian customs service carried out certain work with the commission of European Community, Customs Department under the auspices of the Ministry of Finance of Lithuania, interested Russian and Lithuanian banks and insurance organizations.

 This work resulted with joint development of computer aided system (AS) “Kaliningrad transit” which is fully integrated with information systems of customs authorities of adjacent states and New Computerized Transit System of the EU countries (NCTS) Uniqueness of the system is that it for the first time allowed the country which in not a EU member, to connect to New Computerized Transit System of the EU countries (NCTS) and provide Lithuanian customs all necessary information about goods and transport means passing in transit across the territory of the Lithuanian republic in advance. Going forward with work on enhancing and simplification of customs procedures and their harmonization with similar procedures, used in the countries of the European Union, the FCS of Russia developed new forms of cargo customs declaration and customs declaration which are fully compliant with Single Administrative Document (SAD) of the European Union.

They are to be implemented from January 1rst, 2007, which will facilitate establishing of cooperation between the systems of customs transit of Russian and the EU.

 In accordance with the Decision of the heads of Customs Services of a number of CIS countries and on the basis of the agreements with WCO in September of 2001 there was set up a regional Communications Unit for law enforcement work of WCO in the CIS countries – “RILO-Moscow”. Its office is based in Moscow and it functions within the framework of the Main Administration of Main Administration for Contraband Control of the FCS of Russia.

Currently, in addition to Russia, RILO-Moscow was also officially joined by Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Georgia. Similar regional communications units, united in RILO network, function in Japan, Germany, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Cameroon, Senegal, Morocco, Chili. Currently using the channels of international customs law enforcement network of WCO “CEN” in the mode of real time information interchange is taking place between customs services of the countries of the CIS and World Customs Organization about new routes of contraband trafficking, including drugs, arms, goods of military and double designation and etc and little known methods of their concealment. Another progressive information technology – electronic declaring of goods – creates necessary implications for implementation of other technologies, for transfer to electronic flow of documents.

 In the activity of customs authorities it has been used since 2004 as a test. Currently it is already used at 123 customs terminals, including during customs processing of oil products and as an experiment – for item by item electronic accounting of timber export. In 2005 operation of Russian customs witnessed a breakthrough – there was created a new information technology – the system of analysis and management of risks (SUR). There were also developed the profiles of risk. With such index as customs value, for example, risk profiles were developed in relation to almost one third of all itemized in Foreign Economic Activity Commodity Nomenclature.

Basic provisions of the system of risks management were set in Kioto Convention and were confirmed by Frame standards of world trade safety of WCO. They made selectivity principle - major principle of customs control, possible using SUR as its mechanism. In 2005 the system of analysis and management of risks was used as an experiment, at first, starting from 2006 it was used in automatic regime at all customs terminals. As result the number of inspections of goods batches was decreased from 80% to 18%, while their efficiency grew from 0.2% to 10%.

Experimental use of the system only at one terminal at Central Excise customs allowed increasing customs charges for beer and mineral water in 2005 almost by 400 thousand USD. From the beginning of 2005 to July 2006 on the results of corrections of customs value, made because of using SUR, there were additionally collected customs fees for the amount of 11.55 billion rubles; on the basis of the facts of violation of customs legislation there were started 7380 administrative cases and imposed penalties for the amount of more than 185.5 million rubles. Protection of the rights of intellectual property is designated in the Concept of development of customs authorities as one of priority tasks for the nearest perspective.

Work in this important direction is performed by customs officers systematically and thoroughly. The system of registration of trademarks in Customs register of the objects of intellectual property has been worked out in detail. Presently in the Register there are registered 760 trademarks of Russian and foreign companies.

There was arranged correlation with possessors of rights and their associations, thus, создана there was set up a working group with non profit partnership “Rusbrand”, signed an agreement with international federation of audio record manufacturers and etc. Better cooperation in this field is achieved with foreign customs services.

Goods results of this work are illustrated by the following figures: on the facts of infringement of the rights of intellectual property in 2005 there were opened 390 administrative cases – two times more than in 2004, for the three quarters of 2006 – already 800. In 2005 customs had revealed more than 3.2 million items of counterfeit products, in 3 quarters of 2006 – another 3 million items.

Among counterfeit products tobacco and alcohol products, CD and DVD discs, sports wear and footwear, sweets, perfumes are subject to forgery most frequently.

 The rights of intellectual property are fixed by relevant legislation basis (the Code of the Russian Federation on Administrative Violations and Customs Code of the Russian Federation).

However, the Federal Customs Service has prepared proposals to amend the Customs Code of the RF accordingly in order to make protection of these rights more efficient, by awarding customs services authorities for suspension of release of goods without requests of the possessors of rights.

Besides, there are being prepared proposals to amend the Code of the Russian Federation on Administrative Violations in part of clear definition of what is to be done with confiscated items of violations, related to illegal use of trademarks. For the purposes of prevention customs violations and protection of domestic manufacturer Russian customs has enhanced counteraction to illegal importation of goods.

Its special attention is attracted to importation of household appliances, electronics, cellular phones, computers, as well ass from the countries of South-Eastern Asia, China and Turkey. Intensive work of customs authorities started with setting up of the meetings with management of the FCS of Russia with representatives of major foreign companies - manufacturers of electronics, household appliances, cellular phones, computer equipment and components to computer equipment, copying equipment.

By this time there has been received, analyzed and forwarded to customs authorities information on official pricing for these goods from 150 Japanese, European and South Korean companies manufacturers, which shall be used as criteria for establishing reliable customs value of the imported goods. Similar work has been done in relation to second hand Japanese and Korean motor cars, on results of which there were issued and introduced into operation relevant pricing handbooks to assist a customs officer.

Chinese Customs Terminal, which has been put into operation in Moscow Region recently, will become a good means in prevention unreliable declaring, contraband and importation of counterfeit products from China into Russia; which is another evidence of the desire of the two countries to develop civilized forms of trading.

 Special role in prevention of unlawful importation belongs to post-audit – checking of goods after their release in free circulation; the customs have learnt to use it very efficiently. Only in the 8 months of 2006 there have been made 8379 inspections, including 2333 customs audits. On the results of these audits there have been additionally charged more than 1.3 billion rubles, opened 3164 administrative and 314 criminal cases, charged additionally almost 0.5 billion rubles of customs fees.

 Customs has various means of fighting with unprincipled business – cooperation with tax authorities, mechanism of comparison of invoices with cargo customs declarations and many others. From 1995 customs have been given the right of conducting operational search activities.

In the last five years there have been withdrawn from illegal circulation:

· about 40 tons of narcotics, psychoactive and strong substances, including – more than 3.5 tons of heroine and cocaine,

 · approximately 13 thousand carat of precious stones,

 · more than 300 kg of gold, · 320 items of firearms,

· more than 10 tons of explosives and 42 explosive devices.

Apart from that, customs have prevented illegal importation-exportation across the border of more than 13 thousand rare species of wild flora and fauna, which are on the brink of extinction.

There has been well learned the practice of conducting specialized international and interdepartmental operations.

Among those which have been the most efficient one could mention such operations as “Forest”, “Metal”, “East”, “Plasma”, “Brand”, “Primrose” and others. Altogether, Russian customs officers participated on more than 100 such joint operations together with their foreign colleagues from law enforcement organizations.

 Customs are doing well in another very important aspect of their work – fighting contraband of cultural valuables. In the last ten years Russian customs have stopped unlawful conveyance across the border of about 100 thousand items, which present cultural and historical value.

 Customs of Russia have made a good tradition of free of charge handing over to museums, libraries, Russian Orthodox Church historical and cultural valuables, such as old icons, items of religious cult which had been confiscated by customs when they were attempted to be conveyed across the border out of the country.

Each year churches, museums receive up to six thousand items of cultural and historical wealth of Russia. In view of this, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II has called work of customs officers “work of men of faith”, which made very important input into saving and renaissance of cultural basis of new Russia.

As customs service became stronger there appeared necessity of setting up in its structure law enforcement subdivisions.

 Among their main tasks is participation in protection of the state and customs border, training and conducting of special operations, organization of protection of customs facilities, customs support of goods and transport means, which are under customs control.

 Availability of aviation subdivisions (helicopters) allows performing air control in border regions, detecting bypass roads, which are used by contraband traffickers, moving the goods outside of checkpoints (in particular, at the borders of the CIS states - Ukraine, Kazakhstan and etc.). Customs are using 35 fast sea and river vessels, In the last years, customs service has become not just a working place for many people, but also a significant part of life for tens of thousand of employees of customs bodies and their families. There are well formed traditions in the customs service. Compliance with such traditions has been started with museums.

 Today in the customs system of Russian, in addition to the Central Museum of the customs service of Russia, there operate 2 full-time museums, and also more than 90 museum rooms of customs service. Together with customs activities customs officers are actively engaged in amateur talent groups’ activities, and are going into various types of sports.

 From 1996 in customs service have been carried out competitions of amateur activities in various nominations. In this period about 500 participants, more than 50 amateur groups have become laureates of the above competitions. In the FCS of Russia there have been formed picked teams, which participate in completions of various levels, including in international competitions.

For example, the teams of regional customs Administrations for several years have been taking top places in competitions among law enforcing bodies in mini football, volleyball, power lifting, karate, hand-to-hand combat, and also in competitions of canine teams.