The Federal Customs Service Head updated the President on the Service’s performance in January through September and the planned improvements of customs procedures.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Bulavin, first I would like to congratulate the Federal Customs Service personnel on the 25th anniversary of the service and to wish them successful careers, happiness and health.
Your personnel have complicated and responsible tasks that are connected with proper organisation of foreign economic activities, which is very important in a market economy, as well as with budget performance.
The Customs Service has been working very effectively, fulfilling all the plans and tasks set before it. I hope it will continue in the same spirit.
Let us talk about your basic results and plans for this year.
Federal Customs Service Head Vladimir Bulavin: Mr President, thank you for congratulating us.
While preparing for our professional holiday – Customs Officer’s Day – and the 25th anniversary of the Customs Service, we summed up the results of the customs agencies’ performance in the first nine months of the year.
We have achieved all the planned targets and have transferred 3.156 trillion rubles to the budget, which is 3 percent more than the Finance Ministry stipulated.
I have to say that this is the first time that import revenues exceed export revenues by 52 percent. Considering changes in the specific volume characteristics of imports, this could point to the overall effectiveness of the customs agencies’ performance.
Our immediate task is to achieve the planned targets for the transfer of customs payments to the federal budget, assist foreign trade, improve the business and investment climate and create comfortable customs conditions for foreign economic operators.
We believe that our customs agencies must be rapid in terms of service speed, smart – to use digital systems, have access the necessary information resources and efficient in terms of replenishing the federal budget. Taken together, this should win it respect among foreign economic operators and the nation as a whole.
The further development of our customs agencies is directly connected with the progress of telecommunications and information systems. I am proud to say that we have made considerable headway in this area.
Foreign economic operators submit their customs declarations online, with the exception of a small share of declarations that are submitted on paper in accordance with special Government regulations.
Absolutely all foreign economic operators submit their customs declarations online. They can do this right from their offices by using a new information resource called Foreign Economic Operator’s Personal Account.
In addition, we have introduced a system of prior notification of imports delivered by road or rail, which has reduced the duration of customs procedures considerably: to two hours at railway border crossing points and to 18 minutes on automobile border crossing points.
We are also experimenting with automated customs declarations registering and clearance. Every third export declaration is recorded in automatic mode. This has significantly reduced import customs processing times.
Over the past few years, since 2013, we have seen a 30-fold reduction, and now all import customs formalities take about an hour and 35 minutes. Export clearance times have been reduced 5-fold, to an average of 47 minutes.
Following your instructions, this year we started working with the Federal Tax Service, under the coordination of the Finance Ministry, to organise a single system to administer tax and customs duties.
This process involves the integration of our information resources and claims management systems, coordination in the categorisation of areas of entrepreneurial activity, the introduction of product tracing mechanisms and top-to-bottom monitoring, as well as joint and coordinated inspections, especially with regard to monitoring after goods have been cleared.
We already have the first results of our joint inspections. As many as 514 inspections have been conducted, which led to additional fees totaling 1.5 billion rubles. According to the Federal Customs Service, the tax authorities have also imposed additional charges that added up to more than 1.9 billion rubles.
Vladimir Putin: Are you saying that merging the Customs and Tax Service is justified and yielding results?
Vladimir Bulavin: It is justified, with the coordinating role of the Ministry of Finance, and even now, there are very tangible results. We intend to further increase our cooperation.
I would like to note that we are interacting not only at the level of our central departments, but also at the district office level, and most importantly, at the regional level. At this point we are cooperating at every level.
Vladimir Putin: Good.