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  • Customs duties

    World Trade Organization (WTO)

    In August 2012, Russia became a full member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). From that point onwards, Russia must follow WTO rules as well as the terms and conditions of accession as agreed during negotiations.

    Russia’s undertakings as well as exemptions are contained in the Report of the Working Party on the Accession of Russia to the WTO and the Protocol to the WTO Establishment Agreement (Marrakesh Agreement).

    Overall, Russia has committed to:

    • Reforms in relation to goods, e.g. changes to customs duty rates

    • Permitting access to the services market in Russia

    • Reforms in the area of non-tariff regulations (e.g. the application of sanitary and phytosanitary norms in accordance with WTO agreements; and the abolishment or simplification of procedures for licensing imports)

    • Reforms relating to the protection of IP rights

     

    Overview

    Since 2015, the Eurasian Economic Union (hereinafter — the EEU) operates between Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Armenia. The EEU is formed on the basis of the Customs Union between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan established in 2010. The member states have adopted a common classification for goods — the Harmonised System of the EEU (based on the International Harmonised System) — and common import customs duty rates — the Unified Customs Tariff of the EEU — for goods imported from third countries.

     

    Import customs duties are levied based on the classification code and the country of origin of the goods being imported. Import customs duty rates are normally expressed as a percentage of the value of the imported goods, known as "ad valorem" duties. However, they may also be expressed as a set monetary amount per unit or kilogramme — "specific" duties. Finally, they may be expressed as the greater or the sum of the two — "combined" duties. Several "ad valorem" rates of import customs duties are available in Russia — in the majority of cases, they are 5%, 10% and 15%. Certain goods are exempt from import customs duties. The rate of the import customs duty depends on the exact nature of the goods being imported. Goods are classified according to the Harmonized System of the EEU into ninety-seven groups.

     

    After Russia’s accession to the WTO the import customs duty rates with respect to different types of goods were reduced or changed (for example, for seed oil, fats and oils; chemicals; motor cars; pharmaceutical products; and medical equipment). The average applied tariff is now 7.1%. The subsequent reduction of import customs duty rates is planned.

     

    Basic import customs duty rates are not constant and may vary depending on the country of origin of the goods, the type of goods and occasionally on other factors. Countries are classified into five groups for the purposes of applying import duty rates, as shown in Table above. Import VAT and excise tax (if applicable) are also levied on goods imported into Russia.

     

    Exemptions

    There is an import VAT exemption for "technological equipment that has no equivalent produced in Russia" according to a government-approved list. The listed equipment generally also qualifies for a 0% rate of customs import duty. The general rule is for each shipment to be considered on a standalone basis and so, when technological equipment comprises more than one shipment, a special procedure may be applied to classify the equipment under the tariff code applicable to the assembled whole, with the import VAT and customs duty rates determined accordingly.

     

    Export customs duties

    Export customs duties are currently levied on some goods and on raw materials, e.g. oil, metals, and timber. After Russia’s accession to the WTO the export customs duty rates for many categories of goods were changed.

     

    Special customs procedures

    There are a number of customs procedures (regimes) that provide for either a full or partial exemption from import customs duties and VAT. For example, full relief may be granted on goods that are imported into Russia to be processed and that are subsequently exported (inward processing customs procedure).

     

    Goods may also be imported using a temporary import procedure. As the name suggests, this procedure allows for either a full or partial exemption from import duties and VAT for certain goods that are temporarily imported into Russia. Once the specified time period (usually two years) has expired, the goods must either be exported from Russia or a different customs procedure must be applied.

     

    The customs-free zone procedure may be applied within certain Special Economic Zones, resulting in an exemption from import customs duties and taxes on imported raw materials, components, etc. until the processed products are moved out of the zone. Moreover, goods produced from foreign goods in Special Economic Zones may be exempt from customs and import VAT, provided that a certain level of the criteria for product localisation is met. The required level of localisation varies according to the type of goods and type of operation.

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