14 Sep 2009 13:23

Customs Union's export duty mechanism needs improvement

MOSCOW. Sept 14 (Interfax) - The mechanisms for levying export duties in the Customs Union needs improvement, Vladimir Ivin, the head of the analytical department of the Federal Customs Service, told the Trade and Industry Chamber on Monday.

Ivin recalled that export duties are virtually non-existent in Belarus and Kazakhstan, where they are levied under agreements with Russia. In the meantime, Russia has over 300 commodities which are subject to export duties, he said.

"We have a legal scheme where a Kazakh businessman can import Russian wood duty-free on a single economic territory and can later sell it to China through a chain of mediators," Ivin said. The agreement on export duties, which currently exists in the single Customs Union, is a framework one. "There is no mechanism to implement these agreements. It says there that economic duties should be levied, but it does not say who should levy them, in what order and on what rates," he said.

Ivin said that if no agreement is reached on the mechanism, for levying export duties, all Russian programs to support domestic producers and create production on its territory will be economically inefficient. The Federal Customs Service has raised these issues with the Finance Ministry and the Economic Development Ministry as export revenues account for 60% of all payments made by the Federal Customs Service to the budget.