On returning to Russia, travellers can now bring more tax-free goods with them thanks to new regulations agreed by customs officials.
Russia, along with Customs Union partners Belarus and Kazakhstan, has agreed to up the duty-free value to the equivalent of 10,000 euros.
But shopaholics stocking up on trips to Europe, America or Dubai will still have ensure their bag doesn’t tip the scales beyond 35 kg.
The new limit is expected to be implemented in August, and all the details have been agreed, Vedomosti reported.
But the new rules will only help air passengers – rail, road and sea routes will stick with the current 1,500 euro limit.
Exceeding the duty-free amount will prompt a charge worth up to 30 per cent of the value of the goods as determined by the customs post, with a rate no lower than four euros per kilo.
Selling the Union
The change will help promote the benefits of the Customs Union, which was established last summer but has had little impact on the average traveller so far.
And fears that it will become a smugglers’ charter are wide of the mark, economic development ministry staff say.
“Smuggling should be fought with complex measures – monitoring the routes, trailing certain groups of people, and not through creating additional problems for law-abiding citizens,” a ministry representative told Vedomosti.
And the Russian Tourism Industry Union also liked the deal as the present-day limitations are too low.
Tourists often need to ask for a receipt on a smaller amount so they don’t face any problems on the border, according to spokeswoman Irina Tyurina.
“For example, people who travel to Greece for fur coats do this,” she told Vedomosti.
Customs staff concerned
However, customs officials are less keen on the new rules, arguing that things are liberal enough as it is, according to Andrey Belyaninov, head of the Federal Customs Service.
Clothes and shoe manufacturers have also lobbied against the change, fearing more intense competition with cheaper international brands.
“We wrote a letter to the government asking not to make this decision, but no-one listened to us,” Alexandra Andrunakiyevich said.
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