The Interdepartmental Commission for Protection Measures in Foreign Trade and Customs and Tariff Policy approved in general the new procedure of export duties on oil products at its meeting held on January 27, 2005. Export duties on oil products will be cal culated concurrently with oil duties for a period of 2 months on the basis of monitoring of oil prices in the world market. The following equation will be used :
For oil products (except for fuel oil):
• 0,416 * (P is 109,5) for fuel oil:
• 0,224 * (P is 109,5), where P is oil price, according to the conducted monitoring; 109,5 is oil price per ton, tax exempted.
New export duties on oil products will be determined on April 1, 2005.
In 2004, measures of protection of domestic manufacturers were based on two guidelines as follows.
First guideline: improving and developing a legal and regulatory basis regulating ap plication of protective measures in the internal market:
• a concept and terms of reference for the Federal Draft Law “On Amendments to the Customs Code the Russian Federation” was developed. The documents were submit ted to federal executive agencies for coordination. The Draft Law provides for updating a procedure of declaring various names of goods contained in a single shipment as specified in Clause 128 of the RF Customs Code, as well as a procedure of paying and refunding preliminary special, antidumping and compensatory duties ;
The real sector • Regulation No. 546 “On Approval of Rules of Calculation of Specific Subsidy of Foreign Country (Union of Foreign Countries) and On Invalidity of Various Laws of the RF Gov ernment Regulating Application of Special Protection, Antidumping and Compensatory Measures in Import of Goods” was prepared and adopted by the RF Government.
Second guideline: providing protection of domestic manufacturers by applying spe cial protection, antidumping or compensatory measures.
The following measures and duties were applied in 2004 on the basis of findings of the previous studies: special protective measures were applied against growing import to the Russian Federation of potato and corn starch, caramel, refrigerating compressors, poultry meet, as well as a compensatory duty was imposed on subsided import of rein forced concrete rounds from Ukraine.
The effect of the Agreement On Regulation of Black Pipes Supply concluded on April 10, 2001 between the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Russia and the Ministry of Economy of Ukraine was extended for the period of 2004 for the purpose of regulating black pipes supply from Ukraine to the Russian Federation.
As a result of negotiations, an Agreement on Regulation of Galvanized Rolled Iron Supply from Ukraine to the Russian Federation was concluded on January 23, 2004 be tween the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Russia and the Ministry of Economy of Ukraine.
Monitoring of effectiveness of special protective measures against import of potato and corn starch, caramel, refrigerating compressors, poultry meet to the Russian Federa tion and the compensatory duty on import of reinforced concrete rounds to the Russian Federation from Ukraine were monitored throughout 2004. Furthermore, the situation of the Russian caramel market was analyzed.
The monitoring resulted in decisions aimed at reducing the applicable duty on potato starch import and updating the rate of import customs duties on native and modified starches by introducing combined duty rates with a specific component in order to prevent understatement of the customs value.
Growth of imported dried yeasts in the Russian market as well as dumping import of channel beams to Russia from Ukraine were investigated into.
Investigations into dumping import of asynchronous motors to the Russian Federa tion from the Republic of Belarus and Ukraine and various types of pipes from Ukraine, flat rolled products from the European Union, as well as increased import of white sugar and electric bulbs to the Russian market were commenced.
Negotiations on conditions of Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) were animated in 2004.
The Task Group held its 22nd meeting on February 5, 2004 in Geneva. The meeting was dedicated to further consideration of the Final Report made by the Task Group, which represents a basic element of the final package of documents for the accession. The meeting resulted in consideration of another 10 sections of the Final Report, including col lection of excises and import VAT, export duties, government purchases, regulation of trade in cases of transit, etc.
In addition, two day bilateral negotiations were held on the subject matter of market access of goods and services. As a result, agreements on tariffs were finalized with countries, however, 1 to 2 items remain to be agreed with 10 countries; agreements on services are expected to be achieved with 11–12 countries. In addition, multilateral consul tations on the new RF Customs Code, agricultural issues and tariff quotas were held. The consultations covered mostly technical issues.
RUSSIAN ECONOMY in trends and outlooks The Task Group held its 23rd meeting on March 29 thru April 2, 2004. Ten updated sections of the draft report were considered and coordinated during the meeting. In addi tion, a series of bilateral arrangements were conducted, including representatives of for eign business communities.
The Task Group held its 24th meeting on Russia’s accession to the WTO on July thru 16, 2004 in Geneva. Sections of the Final Report dedicated to customs clearance, for eign trade licensing and intellectual property protection in Russia were considered.
The meeting was dedicated to the issues related to customs. Most of the WTO mem bers express their concern about the new RF Customs Code, especially in regard to ship ment clearance at customs stations and customs value determination.
The Task Group held its 25th official meeting dedicated to Russia’s accession to the WTO on November 18, 2004 in Geneva. The third revision of the Final Report on Russia’s accession to the WTO which was substantially updated as compared to the previous one, was considered.
Customs service is one of the most delicate issues at the negotiations, especially customs value determination, law enforcement, several agricultural problems, sanitary and phytosanitary control and technical regulation in general, as well as intellectual property protection.
Furthermore, the United States and Canada continue express their high concern of the issue related to double pricing of energy sources. Russia, however, is not ready to of fer substantial concessions in this field.
The progress is as follows. Russia finalized negotiations on terms and conditions of mutual access to product markets with 14 countries (in particular, major trade partners of Russia : nearly 50% of trade turnover with the European Union, 10% with China, 4% with South Korea). A total of 46 countries (in addition, over 10 countries have been negotiating on services only, other WTO members have no claims whatsoever to Russia as they have no economic relationship) expressed their desire to negotiate with Russia. It is important that all of them should agree on Russia’s accession to the WOT, because decisions on ac cession of a new member to the WTO must be made by common consent of the existing WTO members. Russian negotiators expect to finalize negotiations with Australia in spring of 2005.
The hardest part upon achieving an agreement with the European Union and China is to do the same with the United States. Prospects of the Russian aircraft industry is the is sue that still remains unresolved. Accession to the WTO has various impact on various in dustrial sectors. Some of them (telecommunications, banking, insurance services, etc.) has an up to date institutional and technological base, but anticipate a sever competition upon opening of the market, though they are competitive and even have an advantage over their competitors in the Russian market. Others, above all processing industries, recognize their poor competitiveness against importers and consequently tend to a harder protective policy. Aircraft industry is the “hardest” one: it needs huge investments, secured leasing treatment and more to make it catch up with the contemporary market of passenger air jets. This industry must continue for strategic purposes.
Copyright is the second complicated problem in the negotiations with the United States. Russia is ranked second in the world in production of illegal copies (software, video and audio products). At a press conference held recently in Moscow, the US party has demonstrated DVD movies that haven’t been released in the United States yet.
Thus, the Russian Federation has reached the final stage in accession to the WTO, when most complicated issues are to be resolved. Potential obligations on all parameters of the accession (tariffs, agricultural obligations, service market access, system based Section 3.
The real sector issues) will be based on current and future economic situation and ensure the required protection of domestic manufacturers and adequate competitive environment.
Construction of legal and regulatory framework regulating foreign economic activity is expected to be finalized soon. A lot of work has been performed to bring the Russian customs legislation in compliance with the WTO’s regulations. A total of fifteen laws and draft laws were considered in the previous year. The RF Customs Code took effect on January 1, 2004; RF Law “On Regulation in Foreign Trade” came into force on July 15, 2004. RF Antidumping Law and Law on Technical Regulation regulating a minimum set of standards and reducing the number of required licenses were adopted. A foundation of legal protection of intellectual property was laid.
The applicable legal base regulating Russian foreign trade includes the new RF Cus toms Code, 12 regulations and 2 instructions issued by the RF Government, more than regulations of the RF Federal Customs Service issued in elaboration of the RF Customs Code.
However, the initial year of operation under the new the RF Customs Code revealed that several of the RF Customs Code need to be more clear cut, certain and legally elabo rated. The same is true with the regulations issued on the basis of the RF Customs Code and orders of the RF Government, as well as law enforcement. In addition, nearly 30% of more than 10 000 different regulations, orders and instructions issued on the basis of the RF Customs Code of 1993 are still effective. RF Law “On Customs Tariff” needs to be brought in compliance with the new RF Customs Code and the requirements of the World Trade Organization. No amendments were made to the RF Tax Code the Russian Federa tion in regard to value added tax refund, in particular processing products exported from the customs territory of Russia. Provisions of the RF Customs Code and the RF Tax Law remain to be correlated. Altogether this is evident of the fact that legal basis of customs regulation still remains to be finalized.
Application of simplified customs clearance mechanisms to special types of entities is one of the essential new developments of the RF Customs Code. Such mechanisms pro vide for faster customs clearance for the entities which respect customs regulations in good faith.
However, special simplified procedures of customs clearance came to be applied only in May 2004 pursuant to Federal Law “On Amendments to Various Regulations of the Russian Federation and Invalidity of Various Regulations of the Russian Federation Due To Application of Measures on Public Administration” of June 29, 2004 No. 58 FL. This is caused by the fact that the RF Customs Code neither specifies clear application mechanisms of such procedures nor authorizes departments to establish such procedures. So, amendments were made to the RF Customs Code authorizing the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of the Russian Federation to establish such procedures.
There is another new and essential development provided for by the RF Customs Code – computer based declaring of goods – that needs to be finalized too. The RF Cus toms Code permits provision of electronic documents. However, neither list of electronic documents which may be submitted nor their forms have been specified to date. The re quired software and hardware are not available yet.
Foreign trade operators are facing serious economic, legal and administrative prob lems caused by expanding practice of the RF Federal Customs Service aimed at restricting the number of customs clearance stations for declaring certain categories of goods.
There were 34 regulations restricting the number of customs clearance stations for declaring certain categories of goods before the new the RF Customs Code came into ef fect. Such measures allowed declared goods to become legal in trade and increased in RUSSIAN ECONOMY in trends and outlooks number: electronic household appliances by 1,5 to 2 times and meat by 2,5 times, with in significant changes in export of such goods to the Russian Federation.
Article 125 of the RF Customs Code provides for submission of customs declara tions to any customs clearance station. However, practical application of this Clause by agencies under the RF Federal Customs Service makes this provision ineffective in re gard to numerous categories of goods by underlying a new category: “goods related to frequent violations of the RF Customs Law”. Such practice is governed by Clause 2(3), Article 125 of the RF Customs Code which is uncertain and referential in essence, thus allowing the RF Federal Customs Service to restrict by internal regulations the number of customs clearance stations for declaring numerous categories of goods. Such practice of application of Article 125 of the RF Customs Code received a fairly negative response from the Task Group on Russia’s accession the WTO as being considered a form of non tariff protectionism.
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