On October 2, 2018, AsstrA’s Belarusian subsidiary was officially recognized as an authorized economic operator (AEO) in accordance with the norms of the new Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) Customs Code. The status is recognized in all countries belonging to the EAEU. We discussed how AsstrA clients will benefit from AsstrA’s new status as a AEO with Nikolai Yepihov, a specialist responsible for organizing work at the opening of customs transit procedures:
- Nikolai, why was it so important to get this AEO certificate?
It is worth noting that AsstrA Belarus had received another type of AEO accreditation in 2008 as a “Conscientious Participant of Foreign Economic Activity.” This status, however, was recognized only in Belarus.
Over time, customs legislation has changed and the authorized operators’ capabilities have expanded, most notably on January 1, 2018, when the new EAEU Customs Code came into effect.
One notable regulatory simplification is that an AEO acting as a forwarder is not required to provide any security for the payment of customs duties during customs transit procedures initiated by the AEO.
According to the TIR convention, a TIR carnet guarantees payment of Belarusian customs duties of up to 60 thousand euros. This guarantee does not apply to the carriage of alcohol, tobacco, or shipments incurring more than 60 thousand euros in customs duties.
In other words, a TIR carnet is not a universal tool. If the goods being shipped fall into exceptional categories, special procedures regarding security against national customs duties are applied. Generally speaking, these are the following solutions:
The first option is a cargo security escort with fees of 0.5 dollars per kilometer. In the case of delivery to the Russian Federation and further, a patrol truck goes to a temporary storage warehouse, where even a part-time day costs start at 100 US dollars. Transport to the distant regions of Russia and Kazakhstan can result in hundreds of dollars in fees for clients.
The second option is to issue a guarantee amounting to 0.6% of the amount of customs payments.
And the third option is to retain the services of a customs carrier and thereby increase transport costs by 10-15%.
Now I propose we turn to the conditions of transportation in the framework of the Authorized Economic Operator regime. AsstrA’s Belarusian subsidiary pays an agent, Beltamozhservice RUE, to issue a transit declaration at the Belarusian border. The customer’s cargo – even if it’s expensive – can then be transported unhindered across the territory of the EAEU.
As an AEO for any goods that enter the Eurasian Union, AsstrA can open customs transit procedures without additional procedures to secure the payment of customs duties. What is the key benefit? We can arrange customs transit for any goods.
-What procedures are required to obtain a certificate?
By 2018, we already had AEO status as per the framework of the Customs Code of the Customs Union. This status applied during a 2-year transition period and only within Belarus.
To achieve our current AEO status, the main task was to carry out the necessary procedures under the new EAEU customs code. The new certificate allows you to open customs transit procedures for delivering goods to AsstrA clients in any EAEU state.
It took some time to obtain this certificate. The process was launched in early April, and the company was certified only in October.
During this time, AsstrA renogitated its contracts with Beltamozhservice RUE so as to align them with the new EAEU Customs Code. As per our company’s request, transit declarations are processed by Beltamozhservice staff located directly at the border crossings. Paperwork is then submitted directly to the customs authorities. Subject to the necessary conditions, the customs authorities shall allow the customs transit to proceed without ensuring the payment of customs duties.
In other words, AsstrA acts as the customs authorities’ guarantor of customs duties for the goods transported. There is great trust involved here – and great responsibility. An AEO customs transit procedure may be conducted exclusively for the carriage of cargo forwarded to a legal entity within the AsstrA corporate group.
At present, AsstrA is one of 23 Belarusian legal entities included in the register of authorized economic operators under the conditions defined by the new EAEU customs code. This allows our corporate clients to avoid additional costs when sending expensive goods, alcohol, or tobacco products.
AEO status for AsstrA clients means 100% savings on security guarantees and escorts, which are no longer necessary. Entry of goods is possible through any international automobile checkpoint of the Republic of Belarus with delivery to any EAEU state.
Our next step is to capitalize further on our AEO status and work with customs representatives at the most popular multilateral automobile checkpoints of the Russian Federation in 2019.