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Customs Tariffs in Russia
In every country import-export rates are supposed to fulfill four functions:
• to protect home producers from foreign competition in order to increase their own competitiveness in the domestic market;
• to limit exporting products in which there is a shortage in this country and to regulate foreign trade transactions for political interests;
• to supply local consumers, both legal entities and individuals´, with products which are not produced in this country or produced insufficiently;
• to provide the state budget with additional financial resources.
In order to put these issues into practice2, the Russian govern¬ment changed its import rates in 1994. The change of import duties3 affects mostly the status of foodstuff imports. Inflation and the subse¬quent price increases for energy, equipment and other materials make storage, processing the products and their packing very expensive. Fo¬reign suppliers have the opportunity to sell products at lower prices, though sometimes their products are of lower quality. Food interven¬tion of imported goods has led to the reduction in the production of some agricultural products inside Russia. So the change of customs tariffs is based on an objective necessity to protect local commodity producers and does not conflict with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. Customs duties are levied only on those types of products which are produced in sufficient quantities.
The level of imposition by import rates4 was increased at an average of five to seven percent. Formely, the import rates were calculated IS a percentage of the customs value of the imported goods. At the present time there is a universal order for introducing rates as an absolute sum for the imported unit (kilogram, liter, piece) value. I or some types of agricultural products, mainly fruits and vegetables, seasonal duties with limited duration are in force.
Apart from the duties on foodstuffs the duties on some types of industrial products have also been increased. This step of the govern¬ment is related to the fact that during the last several years Russian industry has experienced difficulties connected with the success of sale of imported cars, electronics, and some other types of industrial import. Duty rates have been increased on different transport vehicles, on completing articles5 for assembling electronics and computers, on consumer electronics6 and on metal-cutting machines. The minimum duty sums per one item for cars depend now on the engine volume and the year of production.
The regulations for granting a delay in payment for import du¬ties have also been changed. Previously, the delay was permitted for a period of no more than thirty days. This delay was granted to the importer with no additional fees or expenses. Under the new regula¬tions, this period is prolonged up to sixty days, but a certain interest is collected7 throughout the whole duration of the delay.
Export duties in Russia were set up in 1992. At that time world prices were much higher than internal ones and export was highly profitable, though it seriously hurt the level of domestic consump¬tion8. Nowadays, in relation to the increase in domestic prices, the existence of export duties negatively affects the ability for long-term export deals9. So export duties are supposed to be cancelled in future.