Finninsh-Russian customs discussions taking place at the Federal Customs Service of the Russian Federation

On September19, 2006 discussions took place between the delegation of the Federal Customs Service of Russia (the FTS of Russia) headed by Andrei Belyaninov and the delegation of the Central Customs Administration of Finland, headed by its general director, Mr.Tapany Erling. During the discussions held the parties touched a wide range of mutually interesting issues.

In particular, Andrei Belyaninov, Head of the Russian Customs Service, informed the Finnish colleagues on the reorganization taking place in the Federal Customs Service of the Russian Federation with a view to optimization of its activity. He emphasized the importance of continuous coordination of cooperation between the customs services in the field of facilitation of ever-increasing freight traffic at the Russian-Finnish border. Thus, it was ear-marked that 25% of merchandize, conveyed to the Russian customs territory by motor transport, passes through the Viborg customs house of the North-West Customs Administration.

As it was noted by participants of the discussions, at present time the potential of increasing of capacities of existing border crossing point has almost been exhausted. Nevertheless, the Federal Customs Service of Russia in cooperation with other supervisory services makes efforts for simplification of the procedure of customs clearance of goods conveyed from the territory of Finland. First and foremost, it concerns automation of data processing and of other procedures. As an example, the reduction of 30% in downtime of motor transport was successfully achieved due to introduction of withdrawal weighing of motor vehicles under subject to strict compliance with the Russian law. In the long term it is planned to increase the number of jobs for the most loaded customs posts, and meanwhile they are appended by officers attached from other posts. Furthermore, the Federal Customs Service of Russia introduced into consideration of the State Duma of the Russian Federation the proposal on reduction of supervising services, operating directly on the inspection line, up to two – border and customs.

At the same time, a number of problems, impeding uninterrupted traffic of motor transport, is not related to activity of customs authorities. They include, in particular, undeveloped road infrastructure of frontier Russian territory.

 Under these circumstances, the head of customs and excise authorities of Russia brought up the problem of the necessity of uniform distribution of motor transport in accordance with functioning crossing points.

In his turn Mr. T.Erling came out with a suggestion in respect of setting-up of an “ad hoc” team assigned to study of the situation arisen at the border.

The members of this team, likely to be composed of representatives of customs authorities of Russia and Finland will be called upon to collect and systematize information as well as to work out proposals on overcoming of occurring problems by coordinating their realization with other services.

In the course of the negotiations the parties also discussed the problems of tuning of information exchange and a closer team-work in struggling against violations of customs law. In consideration of the chairmanship of Finland in European Union, the heads of customs agencies of the two countries touched upon the issue of possible role of Finland in rising of the level of mutual relationship in the sphere of customs operations between European Union and Russia.

In conclusion the head of the Central Customs Administration of Finland invited the head of the Federal Customs Service to take part in the international conference on customs problems, which is to take place in September this year, and as planned to be attended by representatives of customs authorities of member states of European Union and Community of Independent States. The invitation was gratefully accepted.