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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Customs Policy Will Help Home Industry

The president of the State Customs Committee on Friday outlined a tougher Russian customs policy for 1994, promising protection for Russian industry from cheap imported goods that are now bypassing customs altogether.

"We must defend our domestic industry," he said at a press conference, vowing tougher measures on revenue collection and contraband for 1994.

Kruglov said that customs revenues in 1993 totaled 380 trillion rubles, up from 560 billion in 1992, with most of the money coming from import and export tariffs. The customs revenues constitute almost 15 percent of the Russian federal budget.

The borders with the Baltic countries, which have been the outlet for a booming metal smuggling trade, will become the focus of increased customs patrolling, said Kruglov. He said special units to check transports would be set up in the first half of 1994.

Russian borders stretch for over 20,000 kilometers, and the job of patrolling formerly unguarded frontiers with the ex-republics has led to an increase in personnel, from 7,000 two years ago to 30,000 employees now, according to Kruglov.

In response to the huge volume of contraband goods on Moscow's streets, Kruglov called for special customs terminals to be set up outside Moscow to regulate imports into the capital.

"We simply lack the infrastructure at the moment," said Kruglov.

In answer to criticism of the new customs law passed in December, under which cars for personal and private use attract the same tax as cars imported for resale, Kruglov defended the measure by saying that it was the only way to protect Russian industry.

"People went abroad masquerading as tourists and then came back and used the cars for business." he said.

"Do you want thousands of Russian workers to be turned out into the street?" he asked. "What about Togliatti and Moskvich?" he said, referring to two Russian carmakers.

Kruglov said that greater cooperation would be needed between the customs officials and other government branches such as the Interior Ministry and the tax department in order to crack down on currency smuggling, one of the major challenges facing the authorities.

Kruglov said that in 1993, customs seized 11 billion rubles worth of illegally exported currency, and estimated the annual loss in export revenues at $11 billion.

A marked increase in drug and gun running also confronts the Russian customs controls, as Russian organized crime has established wide contacts abroad.

In 1993, according to Kruglov, 2.408 tons of narcotics were confiscated, 5.5 times more than in the previous year.