14 Mar 2024 16:36

Head of State Duma committee proposes maintaining threshold for duty-free import of goods into EAEU at 1000-euro level

MOSCOW. March 14 (Interfax) - Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Information Policy Alexander Khinshtein considers it inappropriate to reduce the value of duty-free goods allowed for import into the EAEU from 1,000 euro to 200 euro.

"It would be correct to maintain the duty-free threshold for imported goods at 1,000 euro. Reducing this norm 200 would primarily affect citizens," Khinshtein said Thursday on Telegram.

He said he had appealed to Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin with a request to maintain the current level for the duty-free import of goods for personal use after April 1.

Khinshtein said that, as a result of reducing the upper duty limit fivefold, a third of the goods that Russians order from abroad will increase 10-15% in price, the range will be reduced and the purchasing process will become more complicated, and this will affect only inexpensive goods. In addition, the volume of cross-border trade would decrease 18-20%, the politician said. He also said that as a result of lowering the threshold, Russian Post will lose 50 billion rubles per year in goods flow, at a time when "its economic situation is already difficult."

Deputy Prime Minister Alexey Overchuk told Interfax on February 29 that the discussion on extending or lowering the threshold for duty-free trade through marketplaces in the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) was ongoing; Russia had not yet developed a position on this issue.

Currently, the EAEU has an increased threshold for duty-free import of goods purchased online by individuals at a level of 1,000 euro, with a maximum parcel weight of 31 kg. A decision to increase the threshold was made in March 2022 amid the introduction of sanctions; in September last year, the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) extended the measure through April 1, 2024.

Before the increase, the threshold for the duty-free import of goods into the EAEU via e-commerce was 200 euro, also with a weight limit of 31 kg. If the weight or value standard is exceeded, the duty is 15% of the order value, but not less than 2 euro per 1 kg.

Interfax sources say that several options are now being considered: maintaining the threshold, reducing it to 500 euro or 200 euro, completely abolishing it while maintaining a 15%, or reducing it to 5%.

Russian ministries have yet to officially announce their positions; the Vedomosti newspaper, citing a letter to Russian marketplaces and retailers, said that the Ministry of Finance was against extending the threshold of 1,000 euros.

E-commerce retailers do not yet have a unified industry position on this issue, a representative of the Association of E-Commerce Companies (AKIT) said earlier.

Ozon expressed concern to Russian Presidential Aide Maxim Oreshkin at the beginning of 2024 about plans to lower the threshold. In a related letter, the company indicated there could be a possible increase in prices and a decrease in trade volume, an informed source told Interfax.

Ozon estimated that setting the duty-free import rate at 200 euros could lead to a drop in cross-border trade volumes of 18-20%. At the same time, prices for goods costing more than 200 euros would increase in price 10-15%, with a simultaneous reduction in product range and a more complicated process for purchasing goods. If the duty rate is set at 5%, then prices for the corresponding goods will increase by 5%, and the purchasing process will also become more complicated.