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Meeting with Federal Customs Service Head Vladimir Bulavin

October 25, 2017, The Kremlin, Moscow

The Head of the Federal Customs Service updated the President on the service’s performance.

At the beginning of the meeting, the President congratulated the customs service staff on their professional holiday.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Bulavin, today is your professional holiday, Customs Officer’s Day. I would like to congratulate you and the staff of Russia’s Customs Service on this holiday and to wish you success and good luck.

I know that you and the personnel of the Russian Customs Service have been working smoothly and successfully this year. The Customs Service is one of the most important state agencies responsible for budget revenues. You have a special responsibility. Like the border guards, you are the first Russian officials foreigners meet. Moreover, you have not just fiscal but also economic responsibilities. Much depends on the proper organisation of this work.

I hope that the service will pick up steam under your guidance. You have assumed this position only recently, and you know about the service’s problems. You must keep working to introduce new technologies so as to streamline the operation of border facilities, including the arrival and inspection stations, so that foreign trade operators feel your support and see the customs service as not just a fiscal agency, but as an agency that is responsible for export-import transactions, which are a vital element of the country’s economic life.

Of course, you must never forget about the personnel’s compliance with law. I hope this will be done routinely, and the customs service personnel will be concerned above all, with the interests of the country and the national economy, and that the service, with support from the Government, will also take care of social matters, including salaries and the social protection of its employees.

Once again, congratulations on your professional holiday and good luck.

Federal Customs Service Head Vladimir Bulavin: Mr President, thank you for your appreciation of the work of the customs officers and the Federal Customs Service as a whole.

Today, on our professional holiday, I am happy to report on the positive dynamics and practical results achieved by the Federal Customs Service in all spheres of its operation.

Customs and tax payments have been made in full. In the first nine months, the revenue side of the budget received 3.21 trillion roubles.

Vladimir Putin: What was the planned figure?

Vladimir Bulavin: We have hit our projections and even surpassed them by three percent. I must say that we are registering the same trend as last year: the import component of customs payments is a bit higher, 55 percent, and the export component is 45 percent. This has to do not only with the increase in declarations and weight of imports but also with better administration of commercial consignments that are brought in by our businesses.

Speaking about business, we are working on the task that you set a while back – to enhance our cooperation with business and step up our dialogue with it. Our public council, expert advisory council is actively working. I can say that we listen to each other and hear each other.

A comprehensive programme on developing customs to 2020 has been drafted with the active participation of businesses. It has a very important section, 10 Steps to Meet Business Halfway. We set forth fairly ambitious goals, for instance, to bring the level of automatically registered declarations to 99 percent (that is, without the involvement of a customs inspector) and to raise the level of automatically issued declarations to 80 percent, but I must make a caveat here – this applies to risk-free supplies alone. In all, 64 percent of all declarations will be issued automatically.

Major reforms in customs administration are an important component of our comprehensive programme. We have reported to you about our approaches and would like to thank you for your support. Today we have 672 locations for customs procedures in this country and we want to reduce them to 16. We plan to establish online customs offices in the capitals and major cities and online declaration centres in the existing customs centres – the regional Kaliningrad and Moscow customs centres, the energy and excise customs centres; separate online declaration centres in the ports of St Petersburg, Novorossiysk and Vladivostok.

In the process, we will move from private premises that do not belong to the state to public spaces, which will allow us to resolve one more important task: we will break personal contacts between our customs inspectors and foreign economic actors, thereby substantially reducing corruption risks – the task you set us. In addition, it will be much easier to control 16 online declaration centres than 672 customs offices.

Vladimir Putin: But it is important to make sure they will cope with all the work.

Vladimir Bulavin: No doubt, they will be enough, all the more so since our programme is designed for three years. We plan to carry out the reforms in stages, depending on the region in question. Businesses support us. I would like to repeat that they took an active part in drafting our comprehensive programme.

Vladimir Putin: Fine.


October 25, 2017, The Kremlin, Moscow