Transcript of V.I.Bulavin’s speech at a meeting of the expanded board of the Federal Customs Service, 26.02.2021.

“Dear Anton Germanovich, dear participants of the meeting, colleagues. 2020 will go down in the history of our country and each of us, first of all, as a year of struggle or even war against coronavirus infection, for which significant state resources were mobilized. Unfortunately, the pandemic claimed the lives of 26 of our colleagues. I ask you to honor their memory with a minute of silence.

The introduction of restrictive measures, the closure of borders, the suspension of international air traffic could not but affect foreign economic activity, international trade, and, consequently, the work of the customs service, which directly depends on the volume and intensity of trade. Last year, it fell 15 percent to $ 568 billion.

The customs service transferred 4 trillion 752 billion rubles to the federal budget. This is proportional to the level of foreign trade turnover and is 338 billion or almost 8 percent more than the estimate of income generated by the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation.

It should be noted that in the structure of payments – three quarters of the import component, one quarter – of the export. This trend is directly related to a significant reduction in the volume of export of hydrocarbons and a drop in prices for them, as well as the implementation of the next stage of the tax maneuver.

2020 is the year of completion of the implementation of the main strategic documents of the FCS of Russia, which determined its development for 10 years, of which the last three are the time of complex transitional processes associated with the application of the new Customs Code and the Federal Law on Customs Regulation, a new regulatory document with over two hundred documents. base, as well as with the large-scale reform of the Ministry of Finance. Today we can report that we have fulfilled the decisions of the President of Russia on the cardinal modernization of the customs service adopted in October 2017.

A new coordinate system has been built in the customs sphere of the country. Electronic customs offices, electronic declaration centers, customs posts of actual control have been created and are functioning. We have achieved a significant reduction in places for customs clearance. 16 Electronic Declaration Centers instead of more than 600 customs posts that previously processed declarations. All of them are located on state squares, they already issue 98 percent of all declarations. The functionality of customs posts has been changed, which now provide actual control. The management system of customs authorities has been optimized, the number of customs, as a management link, has been reduced by 10 units.

The transformations carried out made it possible to increase the efficiency of management of customs authorities, achieve uniformity, transparency, efficiency of decisions in customs clearance and control, while ensuring greater independence and efficiency of issuing inspectors, significantly reduce corruption risks and increase the effectiveness of customs control. I would like to note that all the changes took place in a controlled manner, no critical failures were allowed.

In the course of the reform, a basis has been created for introducing new innovative methods and information technologies into our activities. The service has made significant progress towards full-scale digitalization and automation of all customs processes. Last year, out of 4.9 million completed declarations, 3.8 million were automatically registered, more than a million declarations were automatically issued. And all this without human participation, which means objectively and quickly. The average time for registering an issue in automatic mode does not exceed 5 minutes. This can be called our achievement in 2020.

В то же время и это принципиальный момент не допущено снижение качества таможенного контроля, основанного на автоматизированном выявлении таможенных рисков. Общая результативность применения системы управления рисками при охвате 34 процента всего декларационного массива составила 50 процентов. При сокращении количества проверочных мероприятий после выпуска товаров на 30 процентов, их средняя эффективность выросла в два раза. В тесном сотрудничестве с налоговой службой проведено 385 результативных проверок. Всего мерами таможенного контроля довзыскано 41,5 миллиардов рублей. 

Digitalization has contributed not only to speeding up operations, increasing the transparency of customs administration, but also improving the business environment and reducing the costs of bona fide market participants. Our relationship with business has become more flexible and, if you can use this term, more elastic, less conflict, more open and objective. The subject-orientation model of a risk management system with an automatic three-level categorization today assigns eleven thousand organizations to the green sector, that is, to the sector with minimal risks. Last year they submitted 75 percent of declarations for goods, payments from which accounted for 83 percent of the total volume of transfers to the federal budget. They have an auto-release mode and the actual inspection frequency has been significantly reduced.

The implemented measures made it possible to significantly reduce the potential for conflict in the customs sphere. The volume of legal claims on customs disputes over the past 4 years has decreased by almost 3 times.

I want to emphasize that we are consistently pursuing a policy of contactless relations with business. Almost all interaction between customs and declarants is carried out electronically. Every fourth declaration, almost every fourth declaration, as I said earlier, last year was issued automatically. Transit processing has been transferred to a digital format, the practice of registering the automatic issuance of transit declarations has been developed.

We have fully completed the section in our Comprehensive Program “10 Steps Towards Business”. The dialogue with the business community will continue in a constructive manner. We see the prospect in our relations in greater openness, mutual trust and equal partnership. It is necessary to build feedback loops with business at the level of customs, regional offices and the central office of the Federal Customs Service of Russia. Provide a quick response to incoming proposals to improve the customs administration process. Continue to work together to counteract unscrupulous market participants.

I cannot but say about our relations with those representatives of business, and there are, unfortunately, quite a few of them, against which we have built a system and measures to ensure the country’s economic security. In a pandemic, we are faced with new challenges. Criminals, believing that government agencies were distracted by the fight against coronavirus, stepped up their illegal activities. The attempts to violate the prohibitions of the Russian Government to take out of the country personal protective equipment, disinfectants and materials for their production, which at that time were in acute shortage, looked especially challenging. In 2020, law enforcement units of the customs service seized 9 tons of narcotic drugs, potent and psychotropic substances, more than 14 million packages of tobacco products, 52 tons of tobacco, with a market value of almost a billion rubles, from illegal circulation. 2000 criminal and 114000 administrative cases were initiated. Particular emphasis was placed on curbing crime against knowledge-intensive and strategically important commodities. Fines amounting to more than 2 billion rubles were collected. The authorized bodies have received goods converted into federal property worth more than 9 billion rubles. Mobile groups of customs authorities have identified more than 77 thousand tons of goods prohibited for import, including over 820 tons of sanctions. Estimating these volumes, it becomes clear that we are not confronted by lone smugglers. Experience shows that these are close-knit organized groups and communities with significant financial assets, connections in the public administration sector, actively using the Internet for information attacks on the Service. We have the law, the professionalism of our employees and constructive interaction with all law enforcement agencies, special services, the General Prosecutor’s Office, ministries and departments, the public and honest business. I express my gratitude for this to the leaders participating in the meeting of our board.

Dear colleagues, today we can say with confidence that e-customs is already a reality. The achieved level of informatization is a solid foundation for the further digital transformation of the customs service in accordance with the Development Strategy 2030. Our goal for the next decade is to form a qualitatively new, high-tech and highly efficient customs, saturated with artificial intelligence and digital technologies, quickly reconfigurable, informationally connected with internal and external partners invisible for law-abiding business and effective for the state.

This year we started the first stage of the Strategy implementation. The most ambitious project is an intelligent checkpoint, which provides for the development and approval of promising schemes for organizing the work of all departments at checkpoints, as a standard for their subsequent arrangement and equipment. The creation of modern digital platforms in them will allow automating all control procedures for the non-stop movement of risk-free goods. A project for digital processing and analysis of images of inspection and inspection complexes using artificial intelligence. The new technology will make it possible to improve the quality and objectivity of decisions made, minimize corruption factors, and create conditions for the implementation of one hundred percent scanning within an intelligent checkpoint. Transition to the full-scale use of electronic navigation seals, including those with a standard independent memory for controlling the movement of goods.

We plan to implement the approaches developed with our foreign partners on the mutual recognition of the results of customs control and to ensure that it is applied once, as well as to counteract false transit as effectively as possible. Development of the institution of authorized economic operators, creation of conditions for their recognition by foreign customs administrations in order to organize safe supply chains. The implementation of these plans is aimed at solving the tasks set by the Government to create digital transport corridors, primarily in the Chinese direction.

One of the key projects of the Strategy, the implementation of which has already entered an active phase, is the construction and equipping of the main data processing center, which will ensure the continuity, safety and smooth operation of our information systems in the context of further digitalization of customs processes.

In the near future, it is planned to create a new model of a risk management system based on the technology of automated assessment of the risk level of each consignment, which, in our opinion, will be more effective and more objective than the existing one.

In a short time, we will have to solve the problems of introducing a digital search system according to the criteria of the operational interest of law enforcement units, implementing a project to create a special technology for performing operations with international mail. This will require a new legislative framework and education in the system of customs authorities of the central postal customs with the reassignment of customs posts at international postal exchange points, a transition to fully electronic interaction with banks in collecting debts, as well as further integration of our information technologies with the Federal Tax Service, as a basis for conducting, under the leadership of the Ministry of Finance, measures to create a unified mechanism for customs and tax administration. The introduction of labeling and a national system of traceability of goods – these areas remain a priority for us.

Dear colleagues, the sphere of activity of the Federal Customs Service is already sufficiently saturated with numbers. Now is the time to harness this potential to automate inspection, research, and search functions. The board of the FCS of Russia made a decision to create a center for operational monitoring and analysis in the staff of the Service. Its main tasks are the creation and maintenance in real time of a digital picture of the activities of customs authorities during the day, identification and response to deviations in the processes of customs operations and control, prompt management decisions, as well as analytical research in all areas of activity in the interests of all functional departments. This will require the development of a new software product, call on the customs service and artificial intelligence. Approaches to the stage-by-stage formation of the center have been developed. The first, initial stage will be implemented in July this year.

This year, we also have to complete the transition processes and bring the work of electronic customs and actual control customs into a regular mode. Continue digitalization of international interaction. To improve certain areas of the Service’s activities, including legal, personnel, logistics, social security.

The fulfillment of such large-scale tasks is impossible without a reliable and professional staff. We have already done a lot to improve the level of material security and social protection of our officials, especially those who work on the “front line”, in electronic declaration centers, at checkpoints and in mobile groups. In turn, the requirements for the official and moral character of the customs officer, the level of their knowledge, skills, and resistance to corruption have been increased. I will reiterate our firm position. We have fought, we are fighting and we will fight against any manifestations of corruption, regardless of positions, titles and image costs.

The customs system employs a lot of highly qualified specialists dedicated to their work. In 2020, many of them were awarded state and departmental awards for the impeccable performance of their official duties. I would like to thank the entire staff of the Service for the work done. The new year for us is not only the beginning of a new decade and a new stage in the development of customs administration. This year we will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Russian customs department. I believe that the Service has approached this milestone with worthy results.

We are facing large-scale tasks, but I am sure that the customs service has all the capabilities to fulfill them. I would like to once again thank those present at our collegium – the heads and representatives of the Presidential Administration, the Federal Assembly, ministries and departments, law enforcement agencies, public organizations, the business community and the media for constructive interaction. The results, which I reported today, have a significant component of our common efforts. I hope for further close interaction and effective joint work. Thanks for attention”.

Source: Alta-Soft