Russian customs law provides that if the customs authorities
suspect a violation of import regulations, they are entitled to
impound the goods and place them in a temporary storage
warehouse.1 The storage is maintained at the
importer's expense at the cost (tariff) in force for the period
of storage as set out in the public offer made by the warehouse
owner or stated in the contract for storage of goods made between
the representative of the customs authorities and the warehouse
Attributing the storage costs to the importer seems fair if the
importer's violation is proven during the customs inspection or
by subsequent court proceedings. However, if no violation is found,
until now the importer has only been entitled to claim the
reimbursement of its expenses for this storage by separate
litigation against the customs authorities. This litigation and
further enforcement procedures are time-consuming and
In order to simplify the reimbursement procedure, on August 19,
2011, the Government of the Russian Federation issued Decree No.
704, by which it approved the Provision on customs authorities'
reimbursement of expenses (hereinafter, the "Provision").
Subject to Clause 2 of the Provision, reimbursement of an
importer's storage costs must be paid in full from the federal
budget if the customs inspection of these goods finds no violation
of the laws of the Customs Union3 and/or the customs law
of the Russian Federation.
The reimbursement must be made on a non-judicial basis in
response to the importer's application. Should the customs
authorities find the application reasonable, the importer will
receive reimbursement through a bank transfer within 45 days from
the date of submitting the application.
The Decree came into force on September 26, 2011.
1. Subject to Article 168 of Federal Law No. 311-FZ,
dated November 27, 2010 "On Customs Regulation in the Russian
3. The Customs Union ("CU") is contracted
between Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus on the basis of the
trilateral Treaty of October 6, 2007. CU means a single customs
territory, unified customs rules, flat duty rates, no control
within borders, etc.
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