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MOSCOW, October 24 (Itar-Tass). — Russia's Federal Customs Service (FTS) has proposed to tax parcels from foreign network shops in the amount of 10% of the value of product, the Novye Izvestia newspaper reports. Experts note that although the measure will add revenue to the budget, it will affect the consumer and can hardly help avoid “postal collapses” which hit Russia last spring. At that time, Moscow airports piled up more than 500 tons of postal items. It resulted in the resignation of head of Russian Post and the Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications took it over. Earlier, Russian Post was subordinate to the Federal Communications Agency (Rossvyaz).
Under effective legislation, a 30% customs duty (the minimal rate is EUR 4 per 1 kg of weight) is imposed on parcels whose declared value is above EUR 1,000 and whose gross weight exceeds 31 kg. The Moscow customs department handles internet-trade worth over EUR 2.8 billion a year.
The introduction of a 10% duty on each parcel coming from foreign internet shops is expected to bring nearly EUR 28 million to the federal budget each year. Customs officials openly acknowledge that they find it advantageous. At present, the customs service expends a lot of effort and funds on sending by post goods from foreign online shops, but derives no profit from it. “The efforts are not adequate to the end economic effect. So, a proposal is now being discussed to introduce duties, which buyers will pay,” an FTS representative said.
The proposed duty will allow for combating “postal jams” because the flow of parcels from abroad will diminish. However, the demand for goods from domestic online shops will increase. The measure is not only advantageous, it is also patriotic, the FTS claimed.