Ukraine: Customs – Advance Rulings (Valuation) Workshop

May 16, 2019 - May 17, 2019

As part of CLDP’s on-going assistance to the GOU on trade facilitation, CLDP supported Customs – Advance Rulings (Valuation) Workshop on May 16-17 in Kyiv, Ukraine. The two-day workshop proved a resounding success marked by high attendance and un-ending questions.  CLDP supported two experts, Elizabeth Grant from Customs Border Protection and Anja Wegner from World Customs Organization), whose expertise on advance rulings, data confidentiality and data models deepened participants awareness of and understanding. Ukraine officials and private sector expressed keen interest as evidenced by several dozens of questions in plenary as well as over coffee breaks.  Ukraine warmly welcomed a possible on-going dialogue under CLDP’s leadership to assist with practical implementation on this trade facilitation topic. 

Repeatedly, customs valuation was identified as a central issue with delays at border crossings.  Refreshingly, both government and private sector policy experts openly identified the federal budget’s strong reliance on customs revenue as the major underlying policy concern.  Pressure for customs offices to achieve import revenue targets sidetracks transparent, predictable and fluid customs activity at borders.  Pending action to provide customs separate organizational authority (from taxation) is broadly viewed as a necessary (albeit not sufficient) first step.

Ukraine currently provides only advance rulings for tariff classification and country of origin.  American Chamber of Commerce members articulated how multiple (19) forms burden application for advance rulings and hence lower business interest in this option.  In fact, it appears advance rulings is not generally well known, among ministry officials as well as in business circles.  Ukraine issues relatively few (less than 200) advance rulings annually.  Both central and regional offices issue rulings.  Substantive transparency does not exist for Ukrainian advance rulings.  Only the requesting firm has access to the ruling details (and all customs offices).  Thirty plus years of publically available historical text of advance rulings (over 200,000) in the U.S. forms a valuable business knowledge center.  The U.S. public database enables companies worldwide to draw upon past U.S. customs determinations to formulate and / clarify customs actions for same or similar products.  Thus, business has a shared responsibility to be informed.

Business confidential information policy is implemented starkly different.  Ukraine firms must upfront agree to any possible public release, which essentially creates a null set.  This non-sharing of information on advance rulings reduces (eliminates) private sector checks and balances and hence less consistent, predictable customs treatment.  Absent public reviews, the entire burden is placed solely on Ukrainian customs authorities, which presumably increases their workload.

Ukraine data model in customs is progressing to more fully implement single window.  Public consultation remains limited to specialized groups and appears to be entirely informal in nature.  No formal, public engagement seeks written comments.  Congruency of internal data sharing (particularly on regulatory forms and permits) appears to be a continuing challenge.  Positively, Ukraine will be soon implement a new data sub-model on maritime operations, of high value to Odessa regional ports.

CLDP will organize during May 27-29 a follow-on meeting to explore which specific sub-topics might be meaningfully addressed as part of an forward-looking ‘work program’.  Foreseen are possible periodic, short (2 hour) information exchanges, where common efforts will build out additional factual and policy-relevant information for the development of advance rulings in Ukraine for customs valuation.

Upcoming Programs

June 17, 2019 - June 20, 2019

On June 17-20, 2019 in Tbilisi, Georgia, CLDP will partner with the World Customs Organization (WCO) and the Georgia Revenue Service (GRS) to deliver a customs and trade facilitation workshop with the Afghanistan Customs Department.  The workshop will continue CLDP’s support of Afghanistan Customs’ modernization initiatives, which have helped increase the transparency and predictability of Customs operations in Afghanistan—a key component of fostering a better business environment in Afghanistan for trade and investment.

The June 2019 workshop will build on previous CLDP and WCO-facilitated Customs exchanges between Afghanistan and Georgia; and the program will focus on Afghanistan’s continued implementation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade Facilitation (TFA), as well as Afghanistan’s overlapping efforts to accede to the WCO Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC) for the simplification and harmonization of customs procedures.  In addition to transparency and Customs integrity topics, program participants will work during the 4-day exchange to identify regulatory frameworks for risk-based customs targeting, audit, and trusted trades programs. 

For information about CLDP and the WCO’s previous Customs exchanges between the Afghanistan Customs Department and the Georgia Revenue Service, please see “Afghanistan: CLDP Conducts Customs Project Management Training with the Afghanistan Customs Department, Georgia Revenue Service, and WCO.”

CLDP in Action

May 13, 2019 - May 15, 2019

On May 13-15, 2019, in Tbilisi, Georgia, CLDP facilitated the eighth meeting of the Expert Level Working Group on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures for officials from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan. The group benefited from additional participation by officials from Ukraine and Georgia. 

Read More about Meeting of the Central Asia-Afghanistan Expert Level Working Group on Sanitary/Phytosanitary Measures