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24 Jan 2019

Lukashenko discusses customs revenues, distribution of import duties in EAEU

Lukashenko discusses customs revenues, distribution of import duties in EAEU

MINSK, 24 January (BelTA) – Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko met with Chairman of the State Customs Committee of Belarus Yuri Senko on 24 January, BelTA has learned.

The head of state noted that as far as he knows, in 2018 the amount of central budget revenues raised by the State Customs Committee increased by a third over 2017. The president asked what helped achieve that. He believes that it is necessary to carefully study the revenue sources in order to maintain momentum.

“Of course, the growth should remain in place, even if it slows down. Otherwise, what is the point of working,” he said.

Alexander Lukashenko asked how Belarusian legislation is brought into line with the Customs Code of the Eurasian Economic Union. “The most important thing: have we managed to avoid mistakes? The general assessment suggests that we have not made mistakes. However, maybe there are some areas of concern?” he asked.

The president also touched upon the distribution of import customs duties between the EAEU countries. “Have we lost a lot as we shared our import customs duties with Armenia and Kyrgyzstan upon their accession to the EAEU? This support period ends this year. How much have we lost and how much will we get upon the completion of the period of support for these states? Can we continue to provide such support to Kyrgyzstan and Armenia? We must speak frankly: they joined our union at a later stage. They had more problems. On the whole, there were a lot of problems in the economy. We need to have clarity on this matter because it will be discussed in the middle of the year at the level of heads of state,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

Yuri Senko confirmed that the past year was a good year for the Belarusian customs. It collected payments to the tune of nearly Br9.5 billion. “These include payments of VAT, excise duties, export and import duties, which are transferred to the union’s budget and shared between the member countries. The amount transferred to the union’s budget was $600 million,” he said.

After the meeting with the president, Yuri Senko told reporters that the Belarusian budget received back $77 million less from the Union State budget. “You try to work better and earn more money, but after you transfer money to the Union State budget, you get back a smaller amount. That means that the distribution of customs duties between the countries is not quite fair today,” said the chairman of the State Customs Committee. According to him, the redistribution of import duties is under discussion in the EAEU. However, the partners have not found common ground yet.

The protocol on amendments to the agreement on Kyrgyzstan’s accession to the Treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union, signed in Moscow in April 2017, clarified the mechanism of the distribution of import customs duties for each state. At present import duties are distributed in the following way: Armenia - 1.22%, Belarus - 4.56%, Kazakhstan - 7.055%, Kyrgyzstan - 1.9%, Russia - 85.265%. With Kyrgyzstan joining the EAEU, the mechanism of the distribution of import duties was established temporarily, until August 2018, due to the lack of necessary statistical information on Kyrgyzstan. However, the authorized bodies of the countries failed to reach an agreement on the mechanism again due to the absence of the statistics on Kyrgyzstan. Therefore, the leaders of the countries agreed to extend the established rates through 31 December 2019.

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