Source: Federal Customs Service
1. Measures aiming to Facilitate the Cross-border Movement of Relief and Essential Supplies
1.1. The Federal Customs Service of Russia has established green lanes to ensure fast clearance of food, relief and essential supplies. Extra priority is provided to processing of any goods relating to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. For imported relief and essential supplies, green lanes are provided to minimize the clearance time.
1.2. To Customs authorities there was sent a special instruction based on risk management not to apply additional forms of customs control where customs inspections are not obligatory or necessary.
1.3. The Federal Customs Service of Russia has introduced significant facilitative measures concerning requirements of compliance to technical regulations and sanitary standards during COVID 19 pandemic.
1.4. Facilitation measures and aimed at the security and supporting continuity of the relief consignments on the basis of a list of essential items (sanitary products, medical devices/equipment and food). The Federal Customs Service of Russia has prioritized the clearance of relief consignments at the border crossing points:
- pre-arrival processing of the Goods declaration and release of the goods upon arrival has been provided;
- priority documents and information submission by the customs authority has been guaranteed.
Ultimately, customs clearance has been completely prioritized for relief goods in terms of COVID-19 pandemic countermeasures.
2. Measures aiming at Supporting the Economy and Sustaining Supply Chain Continuity
2.1. The Customs authorities adopted a decision concerning the import duties and VAT exemption on imported goods targeted to combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic (protective equipment, testing kits or medical devices such as ventilators). The Federal Customs Service of Russia has introduced temporary tax relief measures such as lowering of import customs duties on medical supplies, sanitary products, testing kits, protective and medical equipment etc.
2.2. Moreover, there has been introduced temporary tax relief measures such as lowering of value-added tax on food (vegetables, rye, rice, buckwheat, child nutrition etc.).
2.3. To guarantee the supply chain continuity The Federal Customs Service of Russia has introduced several measures. There have been introduced certain facilitation measures to speed up the customs clearance and subsequent procedures for goods in transit. The local customs authorities have designated priority entry for vehicles in customs control zone and priority lanes for freight transport.
To tackle the virus outbreak and to suggest a rapid response in case of the interruption of the supply chain there has been held a daily monitoring and analysis of the clearance of:
- relief consignments on the basis of a list of essential items
- anti-epidemic supplies
- food and goods such as water
Likewise, there has been held a daily monitoring of the freight transport quantity and occurrence of queues at border crossings across the country.
3. Measures aiming at Protecting Customs administrations’ Staff
3.1. Customs authorities were instructed to have their staff working in shifts in order to prevent spreading of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Customs Administration took strict measures for protection, based on social distancing principles. All non-first line officers work from home. Field customs officers have reduced staff numbers to minimize interaction.
3.2. Personal protective equipment is distributed among staff (masks, gloves, antiseptic agents, etc.)
4. Measures aiming at Protecting Society
4.1. There have been introduced certain facilitation measures to ease the movement of medical personnel across borders. The customs authorities responsible for receiving, registration and release of goods declarations, have organized internal distribution of goods declarations among staff for imported essential goods in order of priority.
5. Other Measures
5.1. According to Government decision more than 90% of all on-site customs inspections were cancelled (as of 06/05/2020). FCS Russia conducts on-site customs inspections that are based only on information about significant violation of legislation.