Kherson Customs releases importer’s goods
Subject of complaint: State Fiscal Service (SFS), Kherson Customs of SFS (Kherson Customs)
Complaint in brief: On June 1, 2017, the BOC received a complaint from an importer of lead-acid batteries whose goods had been held up at Kherson Customs for over a month.
The Complainant’s problem began in September 2016, when the importer won a tender to supply batteries for cell towers – constructions for transmitting mobile communication data.
The company faced problems with the Kherson Customs from the very first shipment of batteries. Customs officials applied 6% duties against the cargo, although the Complainant claimed that the goods should be imported at a 0% tax, according to the Ukrainian classification of foreign economic goods (UCTZED). The customs officers then seized the goods and said they could only be returned through the court. But Kherson Customs then delayed the submission of documents to the court, so the Complainant could neither challenge Customs’ actions in court, nor get its goods back.
At that point, the BOC helped the Complainant speed up the document delivery to the court. The Complainant won the case over the violation of customs rules. Moreover, the court revoked the Customs officials’ decision to change the code on the goods.
Kherson Customs was not satisfied with this outcome and decide to appeal. The case was continued in the Odesa Court of Appeals, where Kherson Customs prevailed, and the High Administrative Court, which ruled in favor of the Complainant. A fixed UCTZED code was established for the company’s goods, which required no additional customs duties to be paid. The case seemed to have been solved, since there were no other reasons for blocking the imports.
However, in May 2017, the case took a new turn. A new consignment of goods arrived at Customs and the Complainant faced similar problems with the classification of the company’s goods. Customs once again seized the goods to examine samples, although customs procedures should have taken less than 4 hours.
Actions taken: On June 7, the BOC investigator met top officials at the SFS. As a rule, even the preliminary assessment of a complaint takes up to 10 days. In this case, the investigator managed to prepare thoroughly to defend the Complainant within three days. The investigator convinced SFS officials that such consignments could be imported at a zero tax rate, based on the ruling of the High Administrative Court.
Result achieved: The BOC investigator helped the Complainant get its goods released and obviated the need to confirm UCTZED codes for every consignment in court. The current and all subsequent cargos were processed without problems.