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RUUKKI: “A single window” principle when applying a preliminary customs declaration got underway

23.07.2018

Subject of complaint: Chernihiv Customs of the State Fiscal Service (Chernihiv Customs) 

Complaint in brief: On March 21, 2018, Ruukki, a Finnish manufacturer of building materials, applied to the BOC. The company complained that Chernihiv Customs officers of the SFS ignored its requests for phytosanitary control of goods when applying  an "EA" type customs declaration (a preliminary customs declaration) when importing goods into Ukraine according to a "single window "principle.
On February 1, 2018, the Cabinet of Ministers introduced a "single window" – an electronic data exchange system. This allows the customs and various controlling services to exchange information about the cargo that passes across the border and the results of its state control. It enables mporters and exporters to go through all customs procedures at one customs point. Moreover, such a principle reduces corruption risks through the interaction of information systems and processes automation. 
At the same time, according to the CMU Resolution a mark of phytosanitary control should be assigned automatically based on the conclusions of the analysis and risk management system. However, as reported by the Complainant, during the customs clearance of imported goods at Chernihiv customs a "single window" did not work. Having prepared all the necessary documents in advance and drawn up the preliminary customs declaration, he arrived at the checkpoint with the goods – rolled steel on special wooden pallets. It is worth mentioning that wood, as a rule, is subject to more severe control requirements. However, in the Complainant’s case, wooden pallets are only a part of packaging, an accompanying material, rather than the main product. 
The company’s case for carrying out radiological and phytosanitary control of the goods was received by the customs along with the declaration. However, customs officers refused to conduct phytosanitary control in accordance with the formed case. A phytosanitary expert was not allowed to inspect the goods. Besides, no official explanations by customs officers were given. The complainant had to go to another customs control zone at Kyiv Customs, where the control procedure is already carried out under internal rules. For the company it meant additional monetary and time burdens.
In order to look into the situation and ensure proper clearance of the next batches without significant financial costs for logistics, the company appealed to the Council.

Actions taken: The BOC investigator has addressed the SFS twice in writing requesting to check the situation and explain how customs officials should act in case of presence of an accompanying wooden material as is the Complainant’s case. In addition, the Council brought up Ruukki case to the SFS Expert Group meeting.
In early June, the SFS solved the company’s problem locally by instructing the heads of customs to provide an opportunity of carrying out state control at checkpoints via the border in the order of nformation exchange when applying “EA” type preliminary customs declaration.

Result achieved: On 19 July, the Complainant confirmed that rules in the part of phytosanitary control of goods while importing goods into Ukraine according to a “single window” principle when applying “EA” type customs declaration are working, and goods are cleared based on a “single window” principle without any problems. The Complainant’s problem was successfully resolved.