EU asks Russia to reconsider truck control measure

Crossing into Denmark. [Shutterstock]

Taxation and Customs Commissioner Algirdas Šemeta has sent a letter to the Russian Customs chief asking Moscow to reconsider a measure to introduce additional controls on road cargo, a possible breach of international agreements.

Šemeta wrote to Andrey Belianiniv, head of the Federal Customs Office of Russia on Thursday (25 July), expressing the EU’s concern on the measure, which Russian authorities plan to introduce on 14 August.

If introduced, this measure would lead to serious disruptions in EU-Russia trade, Šemeta warns, asking the Russian authorities to reconsider the measure, which he said is 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 writes. 

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.

Emer Traynor, spokesperson of Commissioner Šemeta , said the Commission was concerned about the consequences this 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.

The Commission is concerned that the measures announced for mid-August could have the same result, Traynor explained.

The international TIR transit system was developed soon after the second world war in order to help revitalise the economies of post-war Europe. The TIR Agreement was concluded in 1949 and led in 1959 to the first TIR Convention.

Each member of the European Union, including the Union itself, is a Contracting Party to the TIR Convention of 1975.

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