Sergey Katyrin: Customs is One of the Most Open Bodies for Business

Since the creation of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in its post-Soviet form, we have been constantly interacting with customs authorities literally, wherever possible. This was stated by the President of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Sergei Katyrin on October 31 at the plenary meeting of the International Customs Forum, held at the International Trade Center. “We believed and believe that from a business point of view, customs is one of the most open bodies,” emphasized S. Katyrin.

The Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation, Mikhail Mishustin, addressed the participants of the plenary meeting of the International Customs Forum via video conference, noting the significant and growing role of the customs service in the economic life of the country. The participants were greeted by Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, who also presented government awards to customs service employees.

Ruslan Davydov, acting head of the Federal Customs Service of Russia, spoke at the plenary meeting and said that 25 states were participating in the Forum and 8 agreements in the field of customs activities had been signed and agreements had been reached on exchanges. He spoke about how automation occurs in customs activities and simplification of customs procedures. Freight turnover at checkpoints has increased significantly, he informed, citing as an example the Verkhniy Lars checkpoint, where 1,476 freight vehicles were processed in one day.

Speaking about the interaction of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry with customs authorities, President of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Sergei Katyrin listed the areas in which joint work takes place, such as issuing certificates of origin of goods, issuing documents under force majeure circumstances, issuing documents to ensure duty-free export. “We have been working with customs for more than 30 years and have created a number of platforms where we discuss problems that arise for businesses,” said S. Katyrin. In this sense, he cited a recent example when “Turkish colleagues stopped accepting copies of certificates of origin and the courts had to wait for the originals to arrive; they did not accept documents in electronic form.” “We asked customs and promptly resolved a problem that does not exist now, it has been resolved,” said the head of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The capacity at Chinese border crossings has been doubled, he recalled. In this regard, S. Katyrin remembered the Upper Lars border crossing, which was, as he put it, “the talk of the town,” where there were endless complaints and queues, but now the problems have been resolved. According to Sergei Katyrin, we overcame the first shock, when almost everything in interaction with Western countries stopped, logistics chains were broken, payments stopped, when they stopped giving us containers, all services became more expensive. In this sense, COVID trained us and there was a quick response from the state and a restructuring of supply chains took place, the President of the Chamber said.

“What does business expect from the state?” – S. Katyrin wondered. “First of all, subsidies for the transport delivery of goods and for product certification. Business expects from the state predictability and stability of the rules of the game and legislation,” he said. “There is no need to improve anything,” business representatives say, but this is practically impossible, so the most important problem remains the integration of the rules in force for business into the so-called “single window”. Often there is a force of inertia that prevents the introduction of justified innovations. “But today, business will ask the state to minimize its expenses, and business has the opportunity to express its point of view,” emphasized S. Katyrin. The President of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry recalled that in the old days there was a rule between Russian merchants: “Profit comes first, but honor is more important than profit.” And now we should be guided by the same principle in the relationship between business and the state.

The plenary session was addressed by Andrey Belousov, First Deputy Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation, (in video format), Ruslan Davydov, Acting Head of the Federal Customs Service of Russia, Eldar Alisherov, Member of the Board (Minister) for Customs Cooperation of the Eurasian Economic Commission, Veronika Nikishina, General Director of "Russian Export Center", Ekaterina Salugina-Sorokovaya, First Vice-President of Gazprombank, Bhujabal Surjit, Special Secretary of the Government of the Republic of India, Member of the Council of the Ministry of Finance on Customs Issues (Deputy Head of the Central Council for Indirect Taxes and Customs of the Republic of India), Jackson Aluir Corbari, Deputy Special Secretary of the Federal Revenue Service of Brazil - Head of the Undersecretariat for Customs Administration of the Special Secretariat of the Federal Revenue Service of Brazil, Edward Kieswetter, Head (Commissioner) of the South African Revenue Service, Chairman of the WCO Council (by video message), Yu Jianhua, Head of the General Administration of Customs of China (GCU) China) (video message).

By Peter Cheremushkin,

Press Service of the Chamber