Russian Customs put cross-border trade in jeopardy

More red tape by the Russian Customs leads to troubled trade across the Russian border.

Companies trading with Russia are increasingly at unease as Russian Customs introduce a series of enhanced control measures along several of the country`s borders. In December, cross-border trade could face chaos as Russia exits international regulations on cross-border trucks traffic.


The Russian Customs and its leader Andrey Belyaninov earlier this year announced that Russia is withdrawing from the UN TIR Convention and instead introduces alternative regulations on cross-border truck traffic. The original date of exit from the convention was originally set to August 14, but then postponed to September 14. After heavy pressure from businesses and transportation companies, the new regulations where then last minute postponed again, this time to December 1.

In an open letter addressed to President Vladimir Putin, the International Transport Union expresses deep concern with the Russian position on the TIR Convention saying that it could have “potentially devastating consequences […] for Russian citizens, the Russian economy, as well as the economy of the Eurasian Union”.

The proposed new Russian regulations will impose a series of fees and bank guarantee requirements on the transport companies, newspaper Kommersant reports.

At the same time, the Russian Customs have over past months been behind several serious cases of unilateral and sudden border crossing restrictions. In early August, import goods from Ukraine were held back on the border following instructions from the Kremlin. Then, in mid-September, the Customs introduced major control measures on goods transported across the Lithuanian-Russian border.

According to a representative of the Lithuanian Transportation Association, the actions from the Russian Customs leads to a “threatening situation”, which ultimately could put “the entire international trade with Russia in jeopardy”, Kommersant writes.