Authorized Economic Operator in Russia

Due to the establishment of the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan1 and adoption of the Customs Code of the Customs Union (hereinafter the Code), the conditions and the procedures for application of the simplified customs clearance procedures (e.g. the release of goods prior to submission of customs declaration, the storage of goods in a warehouse owned by the goods' proprietor, etc.) were changed in the above countries as of 1 July 2010.

Pursuant to the Code, the special simplifications may be granted now only to an Authorized Economic Operator (hereinafter the AEO), i.e. a legal entity which:

  • Is established in accordance with the legislation of a member-state of the Customs Union;
  • meets certain requirements;
  • is included into a special register.

It is noteworthy that the institute of Authorized Economic Operators has existed in the European Union since 1 January 2008 and is based on principles stipulated in the International Convention on the Simplification and Harmonization of Customs Procedures of 1973 (Kyoto Convention), which Russia acceded in November (Federal Law № 279-FZ, as of 3 November 2010).

In Europe a broad range of persons is eligible for the aforementioned status, amongst them, manufacturers, importers, exporters, brokers, carriers, intermediaries, distributors as well as others engaged in the foreign trade. The Customs Union legislation establishes, however, that the AEO status may be granted only to the direct foreign trade participants, i.e. importers and exporters.

Pursuant to the Code, the AEO status will be granted by customs authorities to a legal entity through its inclusion to the Register of Authorized Economic Operators. There are certain requirements for companies applying for AEO status (e.g. performing foreign trade operations for not less than one year).

The procedure for acquiring the AEO status is stipulated in the national legislation of each member-state of the Customs Union including Russia.

As regards Russia, the Federal Law On Customs Regulation in the Russian Federation as of 27 November 2010, № 311-FZ, (entered into legal force on 29 December 2010) stipulates that foreign trade participant shall apply to a respective customs authority for inclusion to the Register of Authorized Economic Operators. The customs authority will be obliged to review the application within 90 days (which matches the deadline set in the EU legislation).

The list of special simplifications granted to an Authorized Economic Operator generally complies with the list of special simplified customs clearance procedures established in the Russian legislation before 1 July 2010. It should be mentioned, however, that the above-mentioned Federal Law (unlike the Customs Code of the Russian Federation which was used previously) includes a detailed description of such simplification as the delivery of imported goods to an AEO warehouse without the interaction with an internal customs authority.

It also should be mentioned that Authorized Economic Operators will not be entitled to apply the special simplifications during the importation of certain goods which have been specified by the Decision of the Customs Union Commission. The list of such goods includes the excisable goods which are subject to special marking (e.g. cars, alcoholic beverages).

1) The official name is the Customs Union within the Eurasian Economic Community (EAEC or EurAsEC)