New Customs regulations crimp Russian e-commerce

Recent changes to Russia’s Customs procedures have dealt a serious blow to the country’s burgeoning e-commerce segment whose sales rose 27 per cent last year over 2012.


New Customs regulations crimp Russian e-commerce


Recent changes to Russia’s Customs procedures have dealt a serious blow to the country’s burgeoning e-commerce segment whose sales rose 27 per cent last year over 2012. Private individuals are now obliged to provide a scanned copy of their passport to the Customs authorities when they purchase goods from outside Russia.

Customs authorities have also announced plans to levy a 30 per cent duty on all purchases from foreign e-commerce companies valued at more than €150. Previously, customs duties were only applied to shipments worth more than €1,000 or weighing more than 31kg.

Russian government officials have said the increase in revenue from the new customs requirement, estimated at 20-40 billion rubles (US$580 million-$1.2 billion), was earmarked for funding infrastructure projects. But commentators have suggested that the new customs rules are instead motivated by a desire to protect Russian domestic e-commerce providers.

As a result of these latest customs requirements DHL, FedEx and other express operators have suspended express deliveries from abroad to customers in Russia. “Due to these changes, we are unable to process these shipments with the appropriate level of service and speed and have decided to suspend the import of dutiable shipments (into Russia) for private individuals,” a DHL spokesman said. Non-dutiable shipments, such as documents, sent to private individuals in Russia, are unaffected and neither is DHL’s import service for business customers.