Russian Post To Make Online Shoppers Pay Duties

UrBC, Moscow, January 10, 2019. Russian Post Unitary Enterprise can now charge customs duties on the Russians’ online purchases, and do so remotely. The duty-free limit has been halved since January 1 and now comes to ˆ500 for all purchases made within one month’s time.

According to Kommersant, a pilot project takes off on January 1 to enable Russian Post to charge customs duties on online purchases from abroad remotely. It hasn’t so far been explained what retailer businesses will be involved, but the expectation is that all the major market players will join the project eventually.

Under the new regulations, the authorized operator will have to handle all the customs procedures relating to goods Russians buy for their personal use on behalf of the customer. Russian Post will work in cooperation with the Federal Customs Service’s electronic system and will enter information on every international shipment, as well as the customer’s personal data, into the said system. The enterprise will also have to keep track of a particular customer’s goods’ weight and value in the given calendar month.

Customers will have to pay their customs duty as they place the order on an online shop’s website. In case they have purchased more than ˆ500 worth of goods in one month, or the purchases’ overall weight comes to more than 31 kg, the customer will have to pay 30% of the product’s value (at any rate, no less than ˆ4 per every extra kilogram). In 2020, the duty-free limit will come down to ˆ200 (for every single shipment, not for the overall value of one month’s purchases). In fact, Russian customers don’t order goods in this price segment very frequently.

Cross-border trade market players feel apprehensive about the new powers given to Russian Post: the latter might gain monopoly on the international freight forwarding market as a result.


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