Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Customs control: who shall pay for it?

Lines of sea containers in Ukrainian ports. Economic upturn and increase of goods circulation? No, customs control.

Despite numerous promises of Ukrainian customs authorities to apply selective customs control deviations often happen in practice. Yesterday the Southern Customs Office issued an internal order demanding total inspection in sea ports. This time-consuming procedure caused lines of incoming containers. In addition, importers bear extra expanses related with customs control procedures, i.e. container weighting. However, it contradicts Ukrainian Customs Code.

Do not pay for control procedures
Customs Code clearly provides that customs control procedures shall be conducted at customs authorities’ expense if no violations were revealed. Moreover, in several weeks a new Government resolution restating this obligation will come into force. Nevertheless, we can’t be sure that it will make customs pay for control procedures.

Necessity of precedent
It is likely that court precedent will solve this problem. Many forwarding agents don’t want to worse their relationship with customs authorities by initiating disputes for additional expenses of US 100 per container. Consequently, all importers suffer. An importer claiming for customs control expanses on the grounds of abovementioned laws will have a very strong position. Court decision will serve as a guide for all other importers and reduce such control expanses practice.

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