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Meeting with Head of the Federal Customs Service Vladimir Bulavin

October 25, 2019, Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

Vladimir Bulavin updated the President on the performance of the Federal Customs Service and progress in the establishment of online customs declaration centres.

The President extended greetings to the customs service personnel on the occasion of their professional holiday.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Bulavin, first of all I would like to wish all the very best and every success to you and the customs service personnel on the occasion of your professional holiday.

The customs service is a unique agency, because it combines law enforcement, administrative and fiscal powers. It is an extremely important instrument of ensuring state interests. I would like to thank you and all the customs service personnel for your work and to wish you every success.

Federal Customs Service Head Vladimir Bulavin: Mr President, thank you for your congratulations on our professional holiday, your attention and support to the service and your appreciation of the efforts of our personnel.

Vladimir Putin: As far as I know, you worked to full capacity in the first nine months of this year.

Vladimir Bulavin: More than that, we over-fulfilled the plan. I can tell you about the performance of the Federal Customs Service in January-September 2019 that we have attained all our goals. The estimated funds transferred to the federal budget exceed the target figure by 2 percent.

Overall, we have transferred 4.18 trillion rubles to the budget, including 1.7 trillion from export operations and 2.4 trillion from import operations.

The export component is decreasing as per plan every year because of the tax manoeuvre. This year, the export component has decreased by 17 percent, while the import component increased by 15 percent.

It should be said that the basic factors influencing the growth of the import component were the dollar/ruble exchange rate, the growth of VAT by 2 percent and an increased customs cost, which is proof of the customs agencies’ efficiency.

Vladimir Putin: You mean good management.

Vladimir Bulavin: Yes, improved management standards.

Overall, the application of all forms of customs control has allowed us to additionally collect over 50 billion rubles.

Mr President, in line with your decision, we continued a large reform of taxation bodies in order to create online declaration centres on public platforms.

Vladimir Putin: Which part of the total volume is declared at these centres now?

Vladimir Bulavin: At present, the figure stands at 65 percent.

Vladimir Putin: And how much is expected in the near future?

Vladimir Bulavin: 95 percent in 2020.

Vladimir Putin: So you will increase it almost by 30 percent?

Vladimir Bulavin: Yes, to 95 percent.

In total, we plan to establish 16 centres across Russia. Before the reform, there were over 600 customs processing centres, and as a rule, all of them were located in facilities that belonged to businesses. To date, we have established 12 centres. As I have said, 65 percent of all the declarations are processed there. Next year we will create another four online declaration centres.

Vladimir Putin: Where?

Vladimir Bulavin: In theFar East, in Vladivostok, as well as St Petersburg, Moscow and Rostov on Don.

Vladimir Putin: Will they be completely yours?

Vladimir Bulavin: Yes, only for customs processing.

Vladimir Putin: Thank businesses; they will not do this anymore.

Vladimir Bulavin: Yes, we will thank businesses after the reform is completed; we expect to do this in 2021.

I must say that we have the first experience from working at online declaration centres. It must be noted that the goals we set when creating them have been accomplished.

First, it is easier to handle customs bodies now. I mean, when there were 672 centres, we used one approach; when there will be 16, we will use a completely different one.

Second, there is now more uniformity in decisions made by control inspectors on certain declarations. The inspectors have become more independent and objective when making decisions. We have made sure that there are no personal contacts between the inspector and the declarant and decreased corruption risks significantly. In the end, this has resulted in increasing customs payments.

The ongoing reform and the achieved level of digitalisation of customs operations enabled us to automate some customs procedures. At present, 85 percent of export e-declarations are automatically recorded and 38 percent of them are automatically released.

As for imports, the picture is somewhat different and looks more modest because there are some unique factors there. However, 45 percent of declarations are automatically recorded and 48 percent are automatically released. It takes two minutes to complete an automatic registration and three minutes to release them. So, for risk-free deliveries it takes five minutes to complete customs procedures.

Vladimir Putin: This process will be continued.

Vladimir Bulavin: Yes, this process will be continued.

Digitalisation and automation processes are based on the Integrated Customs Information System, which consists of 89 information resources and 61 software tools.

This information system allows us to carry out customs procedures around the clock. In other words, our information systems never stop. If they stop even for an hour, there will be long queues at the border, and transport operators and other citizens will be displeased.

The achieved level of IT penetration allows us to automate our ongoing interactions with other federal executive bodies. Today, we have access to the information resources of 32 federal executive bodies.

Vladimir Putin: Is the exchange going well?

Vladimir Bulavin: It is going well, and every query is answered in 30 seconds. Every year, we prepare 20 million queries for the information resources of federal executive agencies and receive six million queries ourselves. Here is an example: it takes 6.5 seconds to charge the account of a customs applicant and three seconds to check whether a customs e-declaration is subject to claims.

Last year, you made a decision to establish a large data processing centre for the Federal Customs Service. We have launched this process. We are clear on the funding, the land plot and utilities. Next year we will start the construction of this centre and its equipment.

Vladimir Putin: When will this be completed?

Vladimir Bulavin: By 2024.

Vladimir Putin: Good.

Mr Bulavin, I congratulate you on your professional holiday once again.

Vladimir Bulavin: Thank you very much, Mr President.


October 25, 2019, Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region