By Nazrin Gadimova
Azerbaijani State Customs Committee sees no need to change tariff rates in the country.
The remarked were made by chairman of the State Customs Committee and Lieutenant General of Azerbaijani Customs Service Aydin Aliyev on January 26.
"As it is known, the strategy of sustainable economic development implemented in the country has proved its value as before," he said. "Thus, each completed year is marked by the growth of strategic indicators such as Azerbaijan's GDP volume. If we consider the global economic crisis in the last few years, the positive trend in the country's GDP volume is an encouraging factor, also because this growth was achieved through the non-oil sector," Aliyev told Trend Agency.
Aliyev believes that the development of the non-oil sector and the organization of competitive domestic production are directly related to the customs and tariff policy.
"Thus, in order to ensure the country's economic security and expand the range of goods produced in the country, the practice of partial or full exemption of various imported raw materials, equipment, and materials for production purposes of VAT and customs duties is applied when necessary. Furthermore, a maximum rate of 15 percent for customs duty is set on some types of finished products in order to protect domestic production from foreign competition," the head of the State Customs Committee said.
At the same time, the law on "Customs Tariff" which has entered into force, providing an effective way of communication between domestic and foreign markets, and the formation of customs tariffs are based on a strong legal basis for the application of anti-dumping, countervailing, and other duties, and aims to protect the country's economic interests in the future.
"Moreover, taking the dynamics of the national economic development in the medium term into account, the draft laws on "State Regulation of Foreign Trade Activity" and "Anti-dumping, countervailing and safeguard measures" are being worked out," Aliyev added.
Plans for the current year
Besides the various activities related to the requests arising from the Decree of the Azerbaijani President on approval of the Customs Code, the State Committee intends to take several steps in different fields in 2014.
"Further improvement of sanitary, veterinary, and hygienic control on the state border and measures on checking the documents on goods and vehicles imported into the country are among them. Moreover, there are measures to improve the efficiency of customs procedures and qualifications of staff working in this sphere. Customs will continue to pursue the proper work on protecting intellectual property rights on the basis of statements by the owners of these rights," Aliyev said.
Aliyev also said the State Committee will continue to keep the work on further acceleration of operations related to international cargo transportation and security under control.
"Measures related to issuing permits for admission to international cargo transportation and application of TIR Carnet [a customs transit document used to prove the existence of the international guarantee for duties and taxes for the goods transported under the TIR system, within the limit of the amounts specified by the contracting parties and under conditions stipulated in the TIR Convention] in Azerbaijan will be taken this year. Work on mutual cooperation and information exchange will also continue with members of the TIR transit system," Aliyev noted.
List of electronic customs services will be expanded
State Customs Committee plans to introduce three new electronic services in 2014, Aliyev said.
"We're working on the following services: "Electronic customs declaration/goods", through which the participants in foreign economic activities can declare imported and exported goods and vehicles through the Internet, "Electronic monitoring", by which it will be possible to observe the process of registration of imported or exported goods, and "Electronic customs fees", through which the sphere of e-services will be extended," the Chairman of the State Customs Committee said.
The State Committee is working to ensure transparency in the area of customs services and reduce contacts between officials and citizens.
Ordering products via the Internet will not become difficult
"The State Customs Committee doesn't plan to tighten the rules of receiving parcels by individuals from foreign online stores, as it was done in Russia," Aliyev said.
"I believe that tightening the mechanism of receiving and clearing goods purchased via the Internet in Russia is related to the necessity of ensuring the security of the Olympic Games, which will be held in Sochi in February, 2014, as well as the fight against terrorism. Azerbaijan is politically stable and the public order is protected at a high level. Therefore, restricting Internet commerce is not necessary in today's world," Aliyev said.
The Federal Customs Service of Russia tightened its requirements for citizens making purchases from foreign online stores in January 2014, and the list of documents required for customs declaration of parcels was extended.
The original bank statements indicating the online store as the payee, the original agreement on rendering services for customs declaration, and a copy of a bank card were added to the previous mandatory documents. In addition, the country's government is considering the issue of lowering the limit on duty-free import of goods purchased via the Internet from $1,000 to $150 per month. The stricter requirements led to the abandonment of parcel delivery of goods sent to individuals by the alliance of the largest international logistics operators - FedEx, DHL, TNT and others.
Against this background, similar rules were relaxed in Azerbaijan; under the amendments to the Customs Code, the limit on duty-free import of goods for personal use was increased to $ 1,500 (including $ 500 for each attendant). This limit amounts to $1,000 per month for e-commerce.