The measure was set to be introduced on 14 August, but Russian authorities confirmed it would now not be implemented until 14 September.
The move followed a letter sent (25 July) by Taxation and Customs Commissioner Algirdas Šemeta to the Russian Customs chief asking Moscow to reconsider the measure to introduce additional controls on road cargo, and claiming these might represent a possible breach of international agreements.
Šemeta said the measures would be in breach of the TIR Convention regulating international transport by trucks. Both the EU and Russia are signatories.
“If the measure is implemented as announced, we can expect that the additional burdens for operators and customs authorities will lead to serious disruptions to EU-Russia trade flows. It will also be in prima facie breach of the Convention,” Šemeta wrote to Andrey Belianiniv, head of the Federal Customs Office of Russia.
The TIR procedure allows goods to move under customs control across international borders without having to pay duties and taxes that would normally be due at import/export points.
A spokesperson for Commissioner Šemeta said the Commission welcomed the delayed implementation, and “hoped the postponement of the measure would allow a solution to be found in compliance with the TIR convention.”
The Commission is concerned about the consequences such a Russian move could have on EU traders and transporters, in terms of movement of goods, additional financial costs and administrative burdens.
In 2008, when Russia decided to introduce additional controls on trucks entering its territory without prior notice, the move generated massive queues at border checkpoints. This lasted one week until Russia agreed to review its measures.