The Intergovernmental Council of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) on November 18-19, 2021 in Yerevan will discuss the possibility of reducing the duty-free threshold for parcels in cross-border trade from 200 euros to 20 euros by 2024. It is also planned to introduce a duty of 1 euro for parcels worth less than 20 euros, TASS reports, citing a source close to the negotiators.
In September, the Russian side proposed to establish, by June 30, 2022, a threshold for duty-free import of goods worth up to 200 euros for personal use within the framework of foreign electronic commerce, and to impose a duty of 15% of the value of the parcel with a value over or weighing more than 31 kg, but not less than 2 euro for 1 kg of weight.
Then, from July 1 to December 31, 2022, it is proposed to reduce the duty-free threshold to 100 euros, and from January 1 to December 31, 2023 – to 50 euros. Then, from January 1, 2024, to reduce to 20 euros under the same conditions of the customs duty.
Also, from January 1, 2024, it is proposed to introduce a duty of 1 euro for shipments, the value of which does not exceed 20 euros, and the mass does not exceed 31 kg.
Director of the Department of Customs Tariff and Non-Tariff Regulation of the EEC Vahagn Ghazaryan confirmed that at the meeting on November 18-19 in Yerevan “a number of issues related to the regulation of electronic commerce” will be considered.
“First of all, we are talking about a roadmap for creating favorable conditions for the development of mutual and foreign e-commerce,” the agency quotes Kazaryan. “In addition, in the context of the development of e-commerce in the EAEU and ensuring fair operating conditions for domestic and foreign companies in this sector of the economy, the issue of the thresholds for duty-free import of e-commerce goods will be raised.”
Back in December 2017, the Eurasian Economic Council (EAEU) decided to gradually reduce the threshold for duty-free import of purchases from foreign online stores. The first stage was introduced from January 1, 2020 – from 500 to 200 euros.
At the same time, according to the head of the Center for Sectoral Economics of the Scientific Research Financial Institute of the Ministry of Finance of Russia (NFI) Inna Rykova, in 2020 Russia received 224.2 million postal items for a total cost of 1.45 billion euros, of which 65% were up to 5 euros, 21.9% – within 5-10 euros, 7.3% – 10-15 euros, and 2% – 15-20 euros.
That is, 96% of shipments are parcels that cost no more than 20 euros, and 87% of them are less than 15 euros.
“There is a risk that customs duties will decrease if consumers begin to refuse to purchase as a result of lowering the customs threshold, but this risk is minimal for the budget system,” she told the agency. “But an increase in the price of a product for a consumer may lead to a decrease in the capacity of the cross-border e-commerce market.”
According to her, a solution is possible due to the development of a system of customs warehouses, which will increase transparency and “whitewash” the commodity market.
Rykova noted that high duty-free thresholds work well in countries where there is no such prevalence of cheap goods in trade as in Russia, where market transparency is important, and lowering thresholds will not affect the current situation.
At the same time, the experience of other countries shows that there are more people who increase the duty-free threshold than those who lower it. Its reduction is mainly intended to increase tax revenues and protect the domestic market.