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Russian, Ukrainian presidents discuss sudden customs issues

August 16, 2013, 18:09 UTC+3
New Russian customs rules may cost Ukraine $2.5 billion
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Ukraine-Russia border. Photo ITAR-TASS/ Mikhail Metzel

Ukraine-Russia border. Photo ITAR-TASS/ Mikhail Metzel

MOSCOW, August 16 (Itar-Tass) - Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday had a telephone conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovich, the Kremlin press service reported. The two leaders discussed issues of bilateral cooperation, including problems of customs clearance procedures at the Russian-Ukrainian border.

According to earlier reports, Ukrainian exporters have been having problems at the Russian customs posts since late July. Freight transport vehicles have to waste too much time at the border, hence products prices for consumers go. According to the Ukrainian Federation of Employers, Ukraine’s losses from the toughened customs procedures may reach $2-2.5 billion in the second half of this year.

According to Ukraine’s official statistics, Russia accounted for 24.7% of Ukrainian exports in the first six months of 2013. Ukraine’s overall exports in the first six months of this year stood at $30,742.7 million, while imports totaled $34,963.1 million.

In early July 2013, Russia announced plans to impose extra special customs dues on Ukraine’s chocolate, coal and glass in response to Ukraine’s special duties on imports of cars. Russia sent a notification to the World Trade Organization (WTO) saying that Ukraine’s car tax would incur damages to Russian car imports to a sum of $328 million. Moreover, this move would not allow Russia to collect $36 million in tax revenues. To compensate for these losses, Russia said it would reserve the right to collect customs duties in the amount of 0.1 euro per one kilogram of Ukrainian-made chocolate, 54% on coal imports, and 15% on glass. These duties may come into force upon agreement with other members of the Customs Union (Belarus and Kazakhstan). Apart from that, from July 29, 2013, Russia imposed non-tariff restrictions on imports of some other Ukrainian products. Thus, Russia’s consumer rights protection authority (Rozpotrebnadzor) imposed a ban on imports of confectionery manufactured by Ukraine’s Roshen corporation over non-compliance with Russian quality, marking and safety standards. According to Rospoterbnadzor specialists, Roshen-made milk chocolate has benzapyrene, a highly carcinogenic and bioaccumulated substance.

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