Customs official downplays fears that new import rules can harm domestic makers

A customs official on Thursday played down fears that a recent increase in the amount of goods that individuals may bring in free of duty could harm domestic manufacturers, BelaPAN reports.

After the launch of the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia in July individuals may bring into the three countries goods worth up to €1,500 with a total weight of no more than 50 kilograms free of duty. People traveling to Belarus were previously allowed to bring in goods worth up to €1000 with a total weight of up to 35 kilograms without paying customs duties.

Speaking at a news conference, Andrey Mikhalkevich, head of the smuggling department at the State Customs Committee, said that the new rules had not led to a rise in the import of household electronic appliances by individuals.

The official said that the customs service would step up efforts to prevent duty evasion schemes where the import of automobiles by legal entities is disguised as that by individuals.

Andrey Planin, a deputy departmental chief at the State Customs Committee, noted that the Customs Union's rules abolished the requirement for Belarusians to produce permits for bringing out foreign cash worth more than $10,000. In addition, the amount of foreign cash that may be brought out without a written declaration was raised from $3,000 to $10,000, he said.