Application of import duties on imported goods is one of the main trade policy instruments of any state.
According to the Decision of the Interstate Council of Eurasian Economic Community (Superior body of the Customs Union) of 27 November 2009 ¹ 18, “On a Unified Customs and Tariff Regulation of the Customs Union of the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation” since January 1, 2010 the rates of import duties of the Unified Customs Tariff of the Customs Union (hereinafter – UCT of CU) are applied on the goods imported from the third countries (ch. Decision of the Council of EEC of July, 16 2012 ¹ 54).
The customs tariff is a list of customs duties, ranked according to the commodity nomenclature, which is applied to the classification of goods in international trade.
The major goals of UCT of CU are:
— to improve the structure of import of goods to the common customs territory of the CU/CEA member states;
— to maintain an efficient ratio of export and import of goods on a common customs territory of the CU/CEA;
— to create conditions for progressive changes in the structure of production and consumption of goods in the customs union;
— to protect the economy of the Customs Union from the negative effect of foreign competition;
— to provide conditions for effective integration of the Customs Union in the world economy.
In the member states of the CU/ÑEA, as in most other countries, the UCT of CU is created in accordance with the principles of tariff escalation and effective tariff protection. In practice this is reflected in the establishment of the lowest rates of duty on raw materials and the highest — for finished products and highly processed products.
This creates incentives for import of the necessary raw materials and machinery to Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan. This also creates barriers to the import of finished products and highly processed products, creating incentives for the development of manufacturing industries within the member states of the CU/ÑEA.
In UCT of CU the following types of import duty rates are applied:
— duties ad valorem calculated as a percentage of the customs value of imported goods;
— specific duties, calculated on the unit of imported goods;
— combined, which combine the both types.
UCT of CU import duties apply to goods imported into a common customs territory of the CU/CEA member states and originating from any country (including the origin of which is not established), except for cases of tariff preferences under a unified system of tariff preferences of the Customs Union, as well as cases of a free trade regime.
For control over the import of goods to the common customs territory of the CU/CEA member states seasonal customs duties can be installed if necessary, the validity of which cannot exceed 6 months of the year. These customs duties are used in place of import duties.
Decision-making about changing import duties
Decision-making authority in the field of customs and tariff regulation has been delegated to the Eurasian Economic Commission.
The Commission shall adopt decisions and recommendations on customs and tariff regulation by consensus or by a qualified majority of two-thirds. For sensitive goods, the list of which is approved by the Superior body of the Customs Union, the Commission shall adopt decisions only by consensus.
For prior review and approval of the positions of the member states of the CU/CEA on customs and tariff and non-tariff regulation the Advisory Committee on Trade is established in the setting of the Commission. The meetings of the Advisory Committee take place monthly.
As for the agricultural products originating in third countries it is allowed to provide incentives (preferences) through the establishment of tariff quotas for their import, provided that similar products are produced (mined, grown) in the common customs territory.
Import duties are applied on the said agricultural products imported into the common customs territory over the set number (quota), in accordance with Article 2 of the Agreement on theTerms and the Mechanism for Applying Tariff Quotas of December 12, 2008.
Decision of the Commission of the Customs Union of November 18, 2011 ¹ 865 established tariff quotas on imports of raw meat to the Republic of Belarus in 2012, and defined volumes of tariff quotas for imports of pork and pork trimmings in the amount of 60 thousand tons, poultry meat – 15 thousand tons, beef – 5 thousand tons.
Distribution of import duties
In accordance with the Treaty on Establishment and Application of the Procedure of Deposition and Distribution of Import Customs Duties (other duties, taxes and fees of similar effect) since September 1, 2010 the amount of paid import duties of the CU/CEA member states are distributed according to the following rule:
The Republic of Belarus – 4,70 %;
The Republic of Kazakhstan – 7,33 %;
The Russian Federation – 87,97 %.