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18 January 2024, 17:59

Belarus to ease up customs clearance procedures

MINSK, 18 January (BelTA) – Customs clearance procedures will be simplified. The relevant draft legislative changes were discussed at a meeting of Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko and top officials of the Council of Ministers on 18 January, BelTA has learned.

Chairman of the State Customs Committee Vladimir Orlovsky told reporters: “The conference hosted by the head of state looked at a draft law that amends the law on customs regulations. The 91st article of the law will be amended. This is why the discussion was serious.”

Some of the norms stipulated by the bill focus on national customs administration and a number of provisions focus on interaction within the framework of the Union State of Belarus and Russia and on unifying the legislation.

As for the national legislation, there are plans to significantly facilitate and prune administrative norms and procedures for the private sector.

For example, commercial entities will no longer have to submit a number of documents to the customs service. “We will get the information directly from other government agencies, banks, and so on. A number of documents will be submitted in an electronic form instead of hardcopies,” Vladimir Orlovsky said.

The time for completing some administrative procedures will be reduced. For instance, the time needed to decide on how to classify a product in a complex object will be reduced from 30 days to 15.

New procedures will be introduced to facilitate customs clearance for commercial entities. For instance, a preliminary decision on the size of the customs cost is the most complicated matter in customs affairs.

Another set of innovations targeting the Belarusian customs legislation will affect ordinary citizens. The bill allows natural persons, who need to cross the border, to fill in a digital declaration and submit it in advance instead of submitting hardcopy declarations. The approach will reduce time and costs. “The digital declaration will be submitted free of charge. Without paying for electronic communication,” Vladimir Orlovsky clarified.

Some of the innovations focus on people, who want to relocate to Belarus. “If a person intends to settle down in Belarus and brings a car with him or her, the required period of ownership [for exempting the car from customs duties and taxes] is two years. The period will be reduced to six months,” the head of the Belarusian customs service said.

A number of other ways to simplify customs procedures are expected to benefit the private sector, commercial entities, and ordinary citizens. Most of the norms introduced by the bill focus on Belarusian legislation.

At the same time some of the norms focus on interaction within the framework of the Union State of Belarus and Russia. “We had certain agreements within the framework of realization of Union State programs with the Russian Federation. We will unify some legislation norms with Russia by adopting this bill. But I’d like to emphasize and the head of state pointed it out as well that this unification must not bear any risks for our country. And it doesn’t. The norms are stipulated in a way so as to only benefit our private sector, our commercial entities,” Vladimir Orlovsky stated.

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