TODAY IS WEDNESDAY, APRIL 24, 2019, 2:01:54 AM

bulavinvi_eng Vladimir Ivanovich Bulavin
 Head of the Federal Customs Service of the Russian Federation
The WCO – the FCS of Russia: Security Problems

Today, a meeting was held in Moscow between the FCS executive officers and Mr. Kunio Mikuriya, Deputy Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO), currently on his short visit to Russia. The distinguished guest opened discussions, stating the international importance of Russia. The fact in support of this statement were two visits, made by Mr. K. Mikuriya’s prior to his Moscow visits - to South Korea and Mongolia as a participant of two representative forums held on the problems of world trade and the customs activity in the Asia Pacific and the Central Asia regions. Now, development of these two Asian regions is considered inconceivable without partnership with Russia.

The report, presented by Mr. K. Mikuriya at the meeting, was dedicated to the problems of the security frame standards accepted at the WCO congress of June, 2005, to the WTO, held on promotion of world trade, to further development of the potential of customs authorities at national, regional and international levels, as well as to international struggle against counterfeiting. The security frame standards, being the main focus of the audience’s attention, had become the world community’s response to modern challenges, and one of the most serious standards serves as counteraction of the threat of international terrorism in the context of the events of September 11, 2001 and other subsequent world events. The WCO, expressing the will of the majority of its 168 member states, has actively entered into the struggle against the world terrorism, posing a threat to the free development of international trade and economic activity. As of today, 95 member countries of the WCO, including Russia, have already approved in writing acceptance of the frame standards of security. It is expected that the 25 EU states will join the measures, intended to enhance the importance of customs procedures in their harmonization for the purpose of promotion of world trade and decrease of associated hazards.

The essentials of these measures are well known to Russian customs officers, as not only stated in the new Customs Code of the Russian Federation and explicitly legislated in the Concept of development of the Russian customs service for the period up to 2010, but being actively materialized. These measures include the risk management system, implementation of modern IT services, application of streamlined customs clearance and a great deal of other arrangements. However, administration of these measures depends not only on the resources available to national customs authorities, but on their preparedness for international cooperation and, ultimately, upon the support, given to this process by political authorities of various states. According to Mr. K. Mikuriya, it provides for the establishment of information exchange cooperation between national customs authorities both at the regional and international levels, their cooperation with other authorized authorities, taking part in ensuring of border customs control, as well as the cooperation with international community, the WCO being its essential element. According to the speaker, Russia is in position to demonstrate a positive example within this scope as well.

During the closing of the meeting, the Deputy Secretary General of the WCO answered the questions asked by the attending FCS executive officers in regard to the main lines of development of the risk management system (RMS), the role of the WCO in this process, world-wide experience of control of commodity after its release from customs (post-audit) and training of customs staff. To this effect, Mr. K.Mikuriya pointed to the contribution, made by the regional training center, operating based on the Russian Customs Academy, into training of officers of national customs authorities of the CIS countries and highly evaluated the level of educational and professional qualifications of Russian customs officers. Wrapping up the meeting, Mr. L.Lozbenko, Deputy Head of the FCS, pointed to effective cooperation of the Service with the WCO and to preparedness for active implementation of the frame standards. At the same time, he pointed out that this process demands time and effort, the solution of many technical problems and changes in psychological mentality stereotypes.

Mr. L.Lozbenko touched upon difficulties in arranging of information exchange with foreign colleagues. They are far from being related only to technical problems. The problems of reliability of information security, its volume and purpose of application deserve discussions of the same level of significance. Within this scope the FCS of Russia has gained certain experience in relations with member-countries of the CIS and the EuroAsian Economic Community, for example, Kazakstan and Ukraine. The contacts with the EU are developing dynamically. The Deputy Head of the FCS of Russia attracted attention of those present to positive changes in the status of mutual understanding of exchange of information with China. In particular, by the admission of Chinese colleagues, they are still required to comply with procedural routine for receiving approvals from a multitude of departments and offices in respect to decisions to be made on mutual distribution of information. Nonetheless, the concrete definition of the problems of exchange of information, made by the Russian party in respect of bilateral international trade operations, permitted to remove certain concerns the Chinese partners had in view of complicated discussions. The same kind of ambiguity is taking shape with reference to process of discussions with Turkey, considered by the FCS of Russia to be an extremely important state in terms of acquisition of information.