Customs card – easy, handy and efficient (Users’ opinion)
In July this year Customs Card, company providing coordination of electronic system of customs payments, celebrated its 5th anniversary. What has changed during these years within customs procedures, what benefits the system brought to its users and how it all began? Representatives of three Russian companies involved in international business activities share their views on this subject.
This article contains interviews with Arthur Amirdzhanyan, director of duty free shops chain Belgorod Duty Free; Anna Bratchikova, Ph.D., leading specialist in the methodology of customs clearance at National Customs Broker; and Roman Kopaleyshvili, commercial director of Rusinterform customs broker company.
How long have you been using the Customs Card system? Where did the information about the system come from and how you started using it?
Arthur Amirdzhanyan: We use the Customs Card already for a year and a half. We found out about the system from officials of Federal Customs Service we used to work with in frame of advance customs payments scheme. It took us less than a week to obtain the card and start using thanks to legal assistance ensured by highly qualified staff of Customs Card company. They both facilitated the process of supplying cards for our employees and answered in detail to all the questions we had. Customs Card company provides qualified assistance to our employees and does its job very effective. We have fully appreciated the benefits of the system from the very first transaction made by the customs card. It is handy, easy and efficient indeed.
What are the main advantages of the system, how it helped you and your clients?
Anna Bratchikova: Form the broker’s point of view, the main advantage of the customs card is efficient settlement of customs payments on behalf of the client, which consequently is a grant for release of goods in due terms. Companies active in international business become customs card holders due to several reasons. First of all, thanks to the planning provided by the customs card, the relevant payments may be effected in the process of customs clearance and transferred to any customs account on the territory of Russian Federation, thus avoiding the time-taking procedures of paper based documentation flow and payment orders. Secondly, the customs card ensures safety of the cash assets on the card account and allows reserving part of the assets to guarantee fulfillment of duties to the customs authorities. Third, the customs card may be used by import companies, which are operating the excise goods when receiving the excise marks. Arthur Amirdzhanyan: Our top priority is speed. Previously when we practiced deposit transfer one load operation took several days, since customs officers manage your after the deposit arrives money appeared in customs account. It is very different with the card – operations take about 5 minutes! Besides, in case of deposit or advance payment to customs account you never knew the exact amount needed; as a result we always overpaid to be on the safe side, which means we freezed our own assets. With the customs card the transaction takes minutes – in 5 minutes exact amount of money is transferred to the customs account and we our cargo is released. Roman Kopaleyshvili: Our main targets are efficiency, visibility, safety, minimal risks in terms of fund write off (coverage) into the budget. Great advantage is that we can work anytime during the day and wherever modern communication connections are available. Funds transfer is from card to the current accounts is simple.
What would you say about work of the system?
Anna Bratchikova: The fact that we recommend our clients to become the customs card holders, especially to those who are involved in regular consignments of large loads of cargo, speaks for the system itself.
Have you ever faced any difficulties or shortages using the system?
Arthur Amirdzhanyan: We have had no problems. I use the customs cards in deals with six companies and I do it with pleasure. More so, I insistently advise companies involved in international business to use the cards. The cards work smart!
What customs card option is the most common for you?
Arthur Amirdzhanyan: The most effective option for us is confirmation of payments of customs services, we have only advantages here. (As the goods are put into customs tax-free trade regime according to the art. 31 of the Customs Code of Russian Federation the guarantee customs service payments must be settled. – TW) The rate of money and waste of time when Settlement of bank guarantee or deposit payment is considerably is money and time consuming in comparison to transactions done by the customs card payments.
Do you know about the system of prior notification offered by Customs Card in cooperation with TLC Technology and Regional Customs Brokers Association (RCBA) North – South?
Anna Bratchikova: We found out about the development of prior notification project at the beginning of this year and keep following its progress with great interest. Currently we consider possibility of joining the test implementation of the new system of prior notification and we believe all preconditions are met. One of them is our rich experience in electronic goods declaration. According to the system of prior notification the customs card may be effectively used in cases when customs payments are required (e.g. in transportation of foreign goods). Considering the growing tendency to graduate transfer of customs operations to the border customs authorities, the demand for customs card services will grow.
Recently Russian Federal Customs Service has committed large scale arrest of mobile phone consignments, illegally imported by so called «grey» schemes. What, in your opinion, are the perspectives of products like the customs card in terms of large Russian mobile phone and electronics dealers’ network transfer to the «white» and independent import schemes?
Roman Kopaleyshvili: Highly effective and perspective, unless the «white» and independent schemes of import are completely understood by the government and the end-buyer’s retail price is considered.
Do you have any suggestions for the Customs card in terms of new service and maintenance introduction?
Roman Kopaleyshvili: I welcome all progressive and high-tech related payment system developments, based on the card platform. This approach leads to increase of quality and simplicity in budget accounts. Trust me, importers have enough problems apart from the settling budged accounts. Arthur Amirdzhanyan: My business is very specific – duty free shops; and the customs card system completely meets my requirements. Just go on! This is what we need!
Now we should sum up all the mentioned above. Work of the electronic customs payments system Customs Card legislatively is being stipulated by the order of the State Customs Committee of the Russian Federation No 757 of 3 August 2001 “On the Improvements to the System of Customs Payments” (Legislative confirmation of the technologies of customs and other payments using the smart cards (customs cards); the Order of the State Customs Committee of the Russian Federation No 51 of 16 January 2004 “On the Usage of Customs Cards when Receiving Excise Duty Stamps” (allows usage of customs cards while receiving excise duty by importers); by the Order of SCC of the Russian Federation No 29 of 16 January 2004 “On the Usage of Customs Card” (gives the possibility for the participants of foreign economic activity to use the customs cards while confirmation of customs payments). Most often with the help of Customs Card payments are confirmed at the conventional product launch, including putting goods under free trade regime, as well as when putting under the procedure of internal customs transit (delivery). During the five year of operations the system proved its reliability and inestimable advantages, which are provided to holders of customs cards. Arthur Amirdzhanyan, director of duty free shops chain Belgorod Duty Free described Customs Card in the best way: “Intelligent work!”