Changes afoot to Russian customs rules as EAEU takes effect

Legislation | | MIC Customs Solutions |

Russia is experiencing some changes due to its EAEU membership, which may require new administrative burdens.

Many businesses worldwide choose to trade with Russia because of its sheer size and the resulting potential for market access to a varying range of products.

However, company owners may notice some forthcoming changes in terms of customs regulations in the country as its membership of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) continues to take effect.

Here, we'll take a closer look at how the bloc is affecting the way Russia operates and what any changes that impact upon trade might mean for businesses.

Russia and the EAEU

The EAEU came into force in January 2015 and is intended to be an economic union of states located in northern Asia and central Europe.

Russian president Vladimir Putin has made no secret of the fact that the EAEU is based heavily on the model of the European Union and that he hopes it will also become a powerful union of sovereign states in the future. 

Indeed, the Guardian reported that he aspired to enlarge the customs union to include all post-Soviet states one day, excluding the three Baltic EU member states.

Many economic analysts see the formation of the EAEU as a way for Russia to beat the global downturn occurring at the time of its creation and to guarantee markets for its products.

Indeed, as a founding and leading member, Russia enjoys being at the centre of flows of capital and labour from the smaller EAEU nations.

Today, the EAEU is estimated to have an integrated single market of 183 million people and a GDP of around €3.7 trillion.

New bloc, new rules

With the formation of the EAEU came new regulations and a need for member nations to begin aligning their standards with those of the other members to create a common market.

In February 2018, for example, an agreement was signed on the common labelling system of goods with control (identification) signs in a bid to create a unified system whereby goods will be marked with a 'means of identification'.

The data collected from these marks will be recorded in a central repository that will be kept by the Eurasian Economic Commission, resulting in a new approach to product traceability.

Changes Russia is making

Russia is not immune to these changes and is aiming to lead the other members in launching what is being referred to as the 'Honest Mark scheme'.

In addition, while it currently uses a combination of technical regulations, this will eventually need to change as EAEU Technical Regulations come into effect and prevail over individual countries' laws for particular products.

Meanwhile, legal intelligence platform IAM has also highlighted some important changes in Russia that it says will impact brands and reshape the "Russian customs recordal landscape".

The first are new timelines and deadlines as agreed under the Federal Law on Customs Regulation in the Russian Federation.

A new decree from the Federal Customs Service (FCS) is to come into effect relating to the maintenance of the customs register for intellectual property items, which was approved in June 2019.

The timeline for customs recordal and renewal requests has also been altered to a maximum term of three years, while there is also a new examination deadline for customs recordal applications that should not exceed three months.

However, it will still be possible for the FCS to request extra information when considering applications to eliminate problems such as counterfeit goods.

Another major change highlighted by IAM is the official introduction of e-filing to organise customs recordal applications electronically through a central portal and have them signed remotely.

Software for e-filing is expected to launch in 2020, at the same time as the implementation of the Unified EAEU Customs IP Register.

To ensure businesses avoid potential complications arising from the new rules, IAM recommends updating customs recordal documents to fit with the new legislation, keeping information for the Customs IP Register up-to-date, and considering any impact of trademark assignments on customs documentation.

Russia's rules may be changing, but - as ever - the best way to ensure compliance is to double-check the rules and be stringent with administrative tasks.