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New Regulations to Speed Customs at Border, Burden Companies

New regulations for imports will go into effect June 17. Andrei Makhonin

Companies will be required to submit customs declarations in advance for goods arriving by road at the Russian border, according to new regulations issued by the Federal Customs Service that will come into force in mid-June.

The rules will require goods to be declared a minimum of two hours before arrival, Kommersant reported Monday. Freight delivered by air, train and sea will not be affected by the regulations.

The new regulations could cut the wait from a current average of three hours to the European average of only 20 or 30 minutes, though it would mean more time spent preparing documents beforehand, according to officials. The information must also be submitted in Russian, meaning the workload on foreign exporters to Russia will be higher.

Federal Customs Service spokesman Vladimir Ivin said Friday his agency decided to use the experience of the European Union and give companies six months to adapt to the new rules.

During this period computers installed at customs stations will process shipments not declared in advance, but a free ride won't be given to those who fail to submit the documents ahead of time.

"We will examine each instance of failure to send information as a risk and respond with appropriate measures," Ivin said. The "measures" will consist of more complicated and burdensome inspections.

Shipments heading to Russia via Kazakhstan or Belarus should be declared at those borders.

Ivin said the system is already in place and collects information on about 60 percent of freight arriving by truck.

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