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Customs and foreign trade regulation

Customs and foreign trade regulation

Pepeliaev Group's Customs and Foreign Trade Regulation Practice is one of Russia's leading practice groups in this area. This is due to a number of factors: a strong team of professionals, the variety of services we offer, and an individual approach to every client.

The practice is represented by experts who have considerable experience of working in customs authorities and well-known international companies, and in taking part in litigation relating to customs disputes (in both the state commercial courts and courts of general jurisdiction). They are capable of providing support both in the context of integrated projects and on current projects in Russia and abroad.

The Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC), state authorities, Russia's highest courts and federal executive bodies all engage our lawyers as experts to work through and improve customs legislation and to draw up unified approaches for applying it.

Our lawyers are involved in nationwide associations (the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, the Chamber of Commerce, Business Russia, and the Agency for Strategic Initiatives), groupings and expert organisations that work together with representatives of the EEC, deputies from the State Duma, and officials from core ministries and authorities.

The practice group's services are:

  • Advising on the application of customs legislation and the regulation of foreign trade activity, including the rules of the WTO, the Eurasian Economic Union, the Commonwealth of Independent States, and Russia
  • Providing support for projects relating to the amendment and application of rates of import customs duty, protective measures in foreign trade (including antidumping and countervailing duties), non-tariff measures and technical barriers to trade
  • Structuring transactions having regard to Russian customs and currency legislation
  • Legal support for the import of property contributions to the issued capital of companies and in the context of international finance leasing
  • Offering qualified legal assistance in settling conflicts and difficult situations that arise when dealing with Russia's customs authorities, including in relation to matters of customs value, classification under the Commodity Classification for Foreign Trade, the application of customs procedures, and administrative and criminal liability
  • Representing clients in state commercial courts and courts of general jurisdiction during appeals against decisions and acts or omissions of the customs authorities, against resolutions during administrative offence cases in the area of customs, and also against regulatory legal acts of Russia's Federal Customs Service
  • Representing clients when they appeal decisions of the Eurasian Economic Commission to the Court of the Eurasian Economic Union

Projects

Successful appeal against the customs authority's decision to refuse to grant an export customs duty benefit Completed a project that included appealing in the court and having the customs authority's refusal invalidated to grant an export customs duty benefit to a Russian ship owner
Lawyers of Pepeliaev Group’s Customs Law practice have completed a project that included appealing in the court and having the customs authority's refusal invalidated to grant an export customs duty benefit to a Russian ship owner.

This case was unique because the client, together with Pepeliaev Group, has become a ground-breaker in applying the new customs duty connected with fuel for seismic survey ships, which was introduced by Federal Law No. 72-FZ dated 1 May 2019. This law provides that the procedure for the benefit to be applied should be established by the Russian Government. However, the Government has delayed adopting the resolution. At the client's request, Pepeliaev Group’s lawyers have prepared and presented, in the framework of public discussions, amendments to the draft resolution prepared by the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade. Some of these amendments provided that the law could apply retrospectively. However, this proposal has been dismissed. As a result, when the company received the customs authority's refusal to apply the benefit for the reason that there was no resolution of the Russian government, it had to appeal it in the State Commercial Court.

Based on the legal position developed by Pepeliaev Group’s lawyers which took into account previous decisions on similar matters issued by the Russian Constitutional Court and the Russian Supreme State Commercial Court, the State Commercial Court of the Primorsky Territory by its Decision dated 4 December 2019 in case No. А51-20524/2019 upheld the client’s claims and invalidated the customs authority’s refusal to grant an exemption from export tax duty. By the Resolution of the Fifth State Commercial Appeal Court dated 17 February 2020 the decision of the first instance court was left unchanged and the customs authority's appeal was dismissed.
Owing to the efforts of Pepeliaev Group's lawyers, the Russian Federal Customs Service has reimbursed to our client interest on excess customs payments recovered by it The lawyers of Pepeliaev Group’s customs practice have successfully completed a project that involved protecting the interests of our client, a major Russian shipping company, before the Russian Supreme Court's Judicial Panel for Economic Disputes. 
The lawyers of Pepeliaev Group’s customs practice have successfully completed a project that involved protecting the interests of our client, a major Russian shipping company, before the Russian Supreme Court's Judicial Panel for Economic Disputes. A year after the court decided in favour of the client, owing to the efforts of our lawyers, the Federal Customs Service transferred to the client interest of almost RUB 50 million on excess customs payments it recovered. 

It is worth reminding the reader that the case concerned a customs audit resulting in the customs office’s decision that the client had violated the terms and conditions of the customs procedure of temporary import of a tanker in connection with entering into a time charter contract for such tanker. This decision resulted in the company being charged more than RUB 220 million. The client appealed this decision in the Krasnodar Territory Commercial (‘Arbitration’) Court, which decided in favour of the Company (Case No. А32-9485/2016). By the resolution of the appeal court the decision was left unchanged, but the North-Caucasian Circuit Commercial (‘Arbitration’) Court quashed the judgments of the lower-level courts and handed down a resolution in favour of the customs office. The Judicial Panel for Economic Disputes of the Russian Supreme Court accepted the circuit court’s resolution for review and, after examining the client’s complaint, cancelled such resolution and upheld the decisions of the first instance court and of court of appeal.

Other projects

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