The Federal Customs Service has postponed its exit from the TIR international customs control system for road transport until Sept. 14, following a meeting with the Association of European Business, Vedomosti reported Thursday.
TIR allows sealed, pre-approved shipments to cross borders with minimal delays and no on-the-spot payments. It was established by UN Convention in 1975 and operates in 68 countries.
The FCS had said that it would withdraw from the system on Aug. 14, saying that it is owed to 20.8 billion rubles ($630 million) by the Association of International Automobile Carriers.
The association, which is entrusted with guaranteeing the payment of Russian taxes and duties on shipments within TIR, has disputed the figure and said that it still has time to pay what is owed.
The AEB proposed a six-month postponement, in view of the fact that it would take that length of time for the FCS to change its regulatory framework and update software for a new customs regime.
If Russia proceeds with its plans to withdraw, all shipments will require a national customs guarantee regardless of whether they have TIR documents.
The International Road Transport Union, which implements the system, is dismayed by this possibility.
IRU Secretary General Umberto de Pretto asked Prime Ministerto attend to the matter immediately in a letter published Monday, declaring the decision unexpected, unilateral, and in violation of both domestic and international law.
Russia is "the largest beneficiary of the TIR System worldwide," he wrote, with more than 1.5 million freight deliveries terminating in Russia each year.
Implementing this decision would be "detrimental to the economies of all countries having international trade with Russia, as well as to the Russian economy itself," de Pretto wrote.