bulavinvi_eng Vladimir Ivanovich Bulavin
 Head of the Federal Customs Service of the Russian Federation
On the results of customs work to abate unauthentic declaration and unlawful importation of household appliances and cellular phones

In August 2005 the FCS of Russia began to make methodical efforts, within the framework of enhancing customs administration efficiency, to strengthen control over unauthentic declaration of the value of household appliances and cellular phones and to prevent their unlawful importation. The Federal Customs Service launched a program to gather information regarding the value of electronic appliances, household appliances and cellular phones of different manufacturers in order to provide for the levying of customs duties in full volume and for the creation of equal conditions of competition for law abiding importers. The FCS of Russia conducted a number of working conferences in September and November 2005 with the executives and employees of representative offices of foreign manufacturers in Russia; relevant formal requests were made to provide their lists of prices for goods to be sold in the Russian Federation.

As of today, 34 manufacturers of household appliances and cellular phones have presented the FCS of Russia with their lists of prices, including BenQ (Siemens), Candy, Daewoo, De’Longhi, Electrolux, Gorenje, JVC, LG, Motorola, Nokia, Panasonic, Pantech, Philips, Pioneer, Samsung, Sony, SonyEricsson, Sharp, Thomson and Toshiba. Such reference information was provided to customs authorities for use in controlling the customs value of imported goods. Using this information will allow the organization of customs value control at the level of the product line, and to increase substantially the collection of customs duties.

The results available so far have confirmed the efficiency of this work: an extra 430 million rubles have been transferred to the state budget of the Russian Federation in three weeks of September 2005, after the customs authorities had been provided with information regarding the value of cellular phones.
Compared to August 2005, when 1.8 million cellular phones (930 t) were brought into the customs territory of the Russian Federation, 3.1 million units (1.5 thousand t) were declared in October of the same year. The customs value in the comparable periods was accordingly $43 million United States and $436 million. The average value used to declare phones in the last three months has grown from $24.00 to $135.00 per unit. As a result of the measures taken by the FCS of Russia in October 2005, payments into the Federal budget of Russia, levied during the importation of telephones, have increased tenfold compared to August of the same year, amounting to 104.6 million dollars.

The management of the FCS of Russia declares an objective of detecting potential unreliable declaration of goods by unconscientious Russian participants of foreign trade, and creating equal competitive opportunities for foreign manufacturers of goods on the Russian market. The business community has supported the initiatives of the FCS of Russia and is ready for cooperation, which is testified by the geography of the manufacturing companies that have already provided their price lists; these are Japanese, European and South Korean manufacturers of such goods. When new information is received, it will be forwarded to customs offices to add to the information already collected.

In their turn, the law-enforcement divisions of the customs service have activated their efforts in detecting channels of unlawful conveyance of household appliances and cellular phones across the customs border of the Russian Federation. Thus, in September this year in the zone of responsibility of Podolsk customs, a smuggling channel of large batches of goods comprising expensive computer equipment, laptops of famous manufacturers, professional Xeroxes and printers was discovered. It was estimated that the cost of contraband exceeded 90 million rubles. In October, 28 batches of goods comprising electronic household appliances worth 450 million rubles were detained in the zone of responsibility of Noginsk customs. The amount of customs payments to be settled as per these batches exceeded 100 million rubles.

As recently as October this year, several cases of unlawful importation into the territory of the Russian Federation of large batches of goods of cellular phones were revealed. 3,500 charging devices for cellular phones were detained in the course of an interregional operation carried out in the Far East. The documents provided for 37 sea containers delivered to the sea trade port of Nakhodka from Korea described this cargo as ceiling boards.
The officers of Tatarstan customs detained 10 thousand telephone cases with the trademarks of famous international manufacturers of cellular communications manufacturers. All these cases turned out to be counterfeit products.

The Petrozavodsk customs office has revealed more than 66 thousand rubles’ worth illegal importation of cellular phones into the territory of Russia. In Moscow the activity of a company which organized the illegal supply of cellular phones using “fly-by-night” companies was curtailed. The contract exceeded 1.5 million dollars.

The officers of Dagestan customs also seized a large batch of cellular phones, which was found under the siding of a railway carriage. The cost of this contraband exceeded 700 thousand rubles.
Work will continue towards the legalization of the market of household appliances and communications means to the maximum extent, and towards the abatement of illegal importation.