Destination of Customs Regulation of Ukraine
The principles of customs regulations underlying the 2012 Customs Code of Ukraine are as close to the European standards as can be.
In this context, the question arises as to why the application of the customs legal regulations harmonized with the international standards does not entail customs clearance simplification in Ukraine.
In fact, the number of complaints from entities engaged in foreign economic activities about difficulties they face when importing goods to Ukraine is growing.
The reason why needs to be sought in the role the customs affairs play in Ukraine today.
The answer is simple – it is pumping up the state budget.
The motivating, protecting, regulating, and law-enforcement functions of the state authorities engaged in the customs procedures is the issue of low priority in Ukraine.
It is the fiscal activities of the customs that explains the negative trends in the application of the customs legislation in Ukraine, in particular:
- a growing number of instances when goods’ customs value declared by applicants based on the agreement price is increased;
- taking ‘classification’ decisions and changing the declared goods’ code under the Ukrainian Classification of the Goods of Foreign Economic Activities (UCGFEA) to apply a higher duty rate or prevent using tax relief;
- delays in customs clearance due to strict control over the triggered risk indicators.
On the other hand, to minimize tax burden on goods imported to Ukraine, a large number of importers is not only optimizing business operations, but they strictly violate the legislation, including distortion of information required to conduct customs procedures.
In addition, Newton's third law of motion stating that for every action there is an equal but opposite reaction is seen here.
Therefore, the only correct solution to these problems is developing as transparent and simplified customs control system as possible while strengthening measures against illegal activities in the field of foreign trade.
As far as global practice is concerned, mature economies have shifted the focus of the customs control to the post-clearance audit in order to increase foreign trade turnover.
At the same time, to ensure the post-clearance audit effectiveness, a clear and transparent system of risk assessment based on which each entity engaged in foreign economic activities would be evaluated is required.
At present, audit-based customs control is performed without a relevant system in Ukraine, which makes it impossible to get the maximum of useful effect of its implementation.
It should also be noted that in many countries, the history of risks of a certain entity engaged in foreign economic activities is considered during a transaction’s risk assessment; however, Ukrainian customs authorities do not use such practice.
Prior to adopting the most recent Customs Code of Ukraine, Ukraine also applied the White and the Green Lists of the Register of Companies the goods and means of transport of which were subject to a simplified customs control and clearance procedure.
Such lists motivated importers to avoid at-risk transactions and follow the customs legislation.
In our opinion, it would be appropriate to return to the practice of using such lists at least until the institute of Authorized Economic Operators is implemented, which still fails to operate in Ukraine.
Deloitte is actively engaged in the operation of business associations, including giving comments on draft laws and regulations of the Government.
From the perspective of the local customs development prospects, special attention should be given to Draft Law No. 2061а which stipulates the simplification of the customs value control procedures during customs clearance to carry it forward.
The advantage of the Draft Law is the provision that customs payments shall be made based on the declared customs value and may be adjusted only in the future if such decision is made by the customs authorities after the release of goods.
Furthermore, to ensure the country’s economic security, the aforesaid innovations should be implemented concurrently with the mechanism of counteraction to illegal import of goods by phantom companies disappearing or dissolving before the control procedure is performed, thus, avoiding customs payments.
The implementation of the mechanism of counteraction to illegal import of goods and development of an effective post-clearance audit system will make it possible to introduce global practice of maximum simplification of customs procedures on the country’s border shifting the customs control procedures to the stage of post-clearance audit in Ukraine.