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bulavinvi_eng Vladimir Ivanovich Bulavin
 Head of the Federal Customs Service of the Russian Federation
Representative of foreign companies visited “Kashirsky” customs terminal

On June 6, 2005 the customs terminal “Kashirsky” of the Moscow Southern Customs of Moscow (MSC) of the Central Customs Department (CTU) welcomed a familiarization visit of a representative delegation of experts of foreign companies and business combinations, operating in Moscow and participating in foreign economic activities. Amongst them there were such major business associates of Russian business as the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia and the Union of German Economy, “Shell Oil”, “Ford Motor”, “Ernest & Young”, “Coca-Cola”, “Mars”, Daimler Chrysler”, “Imperial Tobacco”, “Siemens”, “Procter & Gamble” and others. The interest shown by the participants of foreign economic activity concerned the experience of the post, which was the first to change over to electronic declaration. The guests were hosted by Mr. Nikolay Ramenskih, Deputy Head of the Central Customs Department (CTU), by heads of subordinate customs authorities and representatives of various units the FCS.

First, the guests were given preliminary information by Mr. Andrei Smelkov, Head of the “Kashirsky” customs terminal to introduce the guests into activities of the post and all Moscow South Customs. More than 3% of goods traffic, passing customs clearance in the MSC, falls to the share of electronic declaration. At the same time, the customs authorities of the Central Customs Department (CTU) complete 1200 electronic customs cargo declarations of goods. According to clarification made by Mr. Valery Frolov, Acting Head of the “Kashirsky” customs terminal, beginning from January 1, 2005 the terminal’s officers had completed 682 state electronic customs cargo declarations (SCDs) or approximately 10% of total amount (traffic) of entered (declared) goods. A number of companies, utilizing services of the “Kashirsky” customs terminal have already changed over to total-lot electronic declaration of imported commodities. Among them, for example, are a Polish company “Bella” and a company “Hilty”, importing high-priced tools into Russia.

An indisputable advantage of electronic declaration is the substantial reduction of time, allotted for customs clearance of goods, making up from 20 to 50 minutes. Technological progress and diversification of customs clearance should be noted as well. In comparison with declarations, processed by customs officers and containing only one name of goods at the beginning, now the number of goods in one SCD reaches 300 names. Now the only exception is goods that are subject to licensing and quoting. Apart from streamlining of procedures, removal of human error and enhancement of authenticity of entered declarations, experience have shown that participants of foreign economic activities may make use of electronic declaration, which enables them to increase the traffic of their goods by 20-30%.

The electronic declaration system, operated by the “Kashirsky” customs terminal provides for application of the most advanced technologies, including the video monitor access mode, which makes it possible to trace all operations of the commodity handling cycle in progress in the terminal. At the same time, this option may be offered for businessmen outside of Russia. The equipment, installed in the FSC office premises in Germany permits to monitor remotely a customs clearance cycle in progress. Specifying this information, Mr.V.Frolov said that a participant of foreign economic activity, switching over to electronic declaration, is provided with the possibility to monitor the process of customs clearance of his goods in real-time mode and to use the most extended range of reference data, provided by a “sensor mart”. Furthermore, this option provides him with the option of on-line handling of goods without personal attendance of temporary warehousing.

The representatives of foreign companies had an opportunity to familiarize themselves with practical work of customs offices and brokers, running the temporary storage warehouse “Nord Ost”.
The guests interestedly asked questions about advantages and drawbacks of electronic declaration and benefits obtained by participants of foreign economic activity from its utilization. Particularly, the question asked about acquisition of digital signature was explicitly clarified by Mr. Alexander Tkachenko, Head of Main Administration for Information Technologies. He pointed out that broad application of advanced information technologies in customs practice provides for considerable streamlining of customs clearance procedures and bringing in line with the policy, followed by the World Customs Organization (WCO). While summing up, Nikolay Ramenskih stressed that in spite of unadjusted problems, no one would impugn the perspective of customs clearance of goods in electronic format, while the FCS of Russia is consequentially carrying out the intended program of implementation of this hi-tech system. As of today, the area of responsibility of the Central Customs Administration (CTU) involves 14 customs terminals, which have changed over to this format of declaration. By the end of the 3rd quarter of 2005 their number will increase of up to 30 customs terminals, while by the end of 2005, approximately 40 customs terminals will be ready to handle electronic declarations. The total number of 60 customs terminals will be ready to operate the electronic format declaration systems.

At parting with the hospitable hosts, the specialists of major foreign companies and business combinations signified their acknowledgement of detailed information provided to them regarding all aspects of operating the electronic declaration system in activities of customs authorities and foreign trade participants, and expressed their readiness for active cooperation in the area of streamlining of customs procedures and of increasing of Russia’s share in world commerce.