28 Februari 2014

[280214.EN.BIZ] Truckers: Russia Risks Ouster From Customs Co-op If Border Hassle Persists

RUSSIA has been warned by the International Road Transport Union (IRU) to scrap "illegal" border inspections and charges, or risk being excluded from an international customs system that facilitates cross-border trade.

The threat comes after Russia stepped up inspections, causing long queues at its borders, when it customs service began to enforce a new system, levying charges dozens of times higher than before, reported Reuters.

The new Russian system, ruled illegal by the Supreme Arbitration Court in Moscow and affecting imports worth US$110 billion in 2013, has multiplied the cost of transport operations, according to the global road trucking body.

The IRU warns in a letter to President Vladimir Putin that it would recommend members vote to suspend Russia from the United Nations-brokered TIR a system that was started in 1959 and is now operating in 60 countries worldwide.

"There could be a huge impact on trade flows," said IRU spokeswoman Juliette Ebele. "It's going to be a complete mess for transport operators and trade, and the Russian economy, and for imports like food and medicine."

Under TIR goods-carrying road vehicles are inspected by local customs officials at departure and closed with a recognised seal.

The value of the goods is transmitted to customs in the country of destination, which is supposed to allow TIR trucks through borders rapidly to their point of destination, where the cargo can be inspected again.

The IRU says that the new system on Russia's borders affects 40 per cent of the nation's overall imports, mainly consumer goods, driving up their cost.

If Russia were to be pushed out of the TIR system, the competitiveness of its own exports to Europe and beyond could be sharply reduced, resulting in what IRU Secretary-General Umberto de Pretto calls "a lose-lose scenario." 

Source : HKSG.

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