Since 14 August, all Ukrainian exporters, without exception, have been added to the risk profile of the risk management system of the Federal Customs Service of Russia. What does the enhanced control of products imported into Russia from the territory of Ukraine mean?
One after another, there were reports of blocking Ukrainian goods at the Russian border due to the complexity of customs procedures. For example, Interfax-Ukraine, citing the press service of the wine-making holding Inkerman International, reported that the machines with the products of this company "could not pass the customs control of the Russian side and were forced to leave the goods in temporary storage warehouses." Similar information was spread by Ukrainian metallurgical companies. Obolon Corporation announced that it suspended the shipment of products to the Russian Federation due to the blocking of Ukrainian goods at the Russian border ... And so on. etc ... By the middle of the day 15 of August, about a thousand cars were accumulated on the approaches to the Russian-Ukrainian border.
Ukraine began to calculate the possible losses. Thus, APK-Inform stated that the current situation is fraught with a loss of about 250 mln UAH, which Ukraine receives annually from the export of fresh fruits and vegetables. The Federation of Employers of Ukraine (FRU) called the figure $ 2,5 billion in potential losses by the end of 2013. “Ukraine’s losses from the described actions of the Russian side can be achieved, depending on the development of events, in $ 2 – 2,5 billion only in the second half of the current year. As a result, the balance of payments deficit will increase by the specified amount. It can also be assumed that this will lead to an additional fall in the industrial production index by 7 – 8 percentage points and affect the reduction of real GDP by about 1,5%, ”predicted FRU.
As one would expect, Ukrainian politicians began to actively comment on the situation in the style of “Moscow is again pressing and blackmailing”. The head of the political council of the Batkivshchyna party, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, stated that “such actions are another manifestation of Russia's pressure on Ukraine” and “in fact, forced to join the Customs Union.” Funny. So what? "Forced" Ukraine to join the CU? Not. Yatsenyuk himself said in the statement that “Ukraine has already made its choice”: “The course for European integration is enshrined in the legislation of Ukraine, and an association agreement between Ukraine and the EU should be signed at the Vilnius Eastern Partnership Summit.” So what's the problem?
Or here's Oksana Prodat’s deputy comment from UDAR: To Interfax-Ukraine: “Of course, this is obviously a step in order to prevent Ukraine from joining the European Association and signing the Association Agreement.” Also interesting. And how can the actions of Russian customs “not allow” Ukraine to sign an association agreement with the EU? Completely incomprehensible.
In a similar vein, spoken and representatives of the ruling party. For example, the People’s Deputy from PR Vladimir Oliynyk: “Friendship, mutual respect are built not on the fear that you will lose something, but on what you have gained from communication, associations ... Ukraine is being tried to be forced to unite with the Customs Union in an uncivilized way.” It seems that Mr. Oliynyk was lost in time. Ukraine was quite civilized for several years invited to join the Customs Union, always emphasizing that the foreign policy choice is its sovereign right. However, the foreign policy choice - the CU or the EU - also contains a trade and economic dimension. In Moscow, they simply react to the integration vector of Ukraine. How could it be otherwise?
There are a number of factors that determine the current situation.
The first. There is such a reality as the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. There is no need to be a rocket scientist in order to understand that this means a change in the mode of trade between members of the CU and those who are not part of this economic union. Is Ukraine a member of the CU? Not. With all the consequences of this fact.
Second. Kiev is preparing in the near future to sign an agreement on political association with the European Union (which, in particular, Mr. Yatsenyuk recalled), of which the creation of the Ukraine-EU FTA is a part. The latter changes the mode of trade between Ukraine and Europe, which, in turn, will lead to a change in the trade regime between Ukraine and the countries of the Customs Union. The Ukraine-EU FTA is not yet a reality, but already very close (given the well-known attitude of the Ukrainian authorities).
Those. Ukraine in recent years is experiencing difficulties with access to the Russian market due to the beginning of the functioning of the Customs Union (and its refusal to participate in this organization). And soon there will be new difficulties in the Russian market (and the rest of the CU countries) - not only as a non-CU country, but also as a member of the FTA with the EU.
The recent actions of the Russian customs are in essence the preparation of Russia for the creation of an FTA between Ukraine and the European Union.
Warnings from which they did not draw conclusions
What, in fact, is happening on the Ukrainian-Russian border, which is why the flow of goods has stopped? It's simple: the Russian customs carefully checks the documentation for the goods transported, especially the so-called certificate CT-1, in other words, certificate of origin of goods. A certificate of origin is a document confirming that the goods were produced in a given country. It is included in the package of documents necessary for crossing the border and the subsequent legal sale of products.
There are several forms of certificates of origin, but CT-1 in the light of the situation in question is the most relevant. This is a document confirming that the products are manufactured in the CIS countries - parties to the agreement (from 15 on April 1994) about the free trade zone (CT-1 and is valid only in the CIS). CT-1 exempts the recipient of the goods from the need to pay VAT in the customs duty on the goods. Those. This is a preferential customs clearance of goods. Moreover, if the origin of the goods is not reliably established, then it is necessary to pay the customs duty at the maximum rate (according to the law of the Russian Federation "On Customs Tariff"). It should be noted that this provision of the Russian law also applies to goods imported from the countries of the Customs Union.
And at the moment, Russian customs are subjecting these same CT-1 (and other documents) to a complete check - are the goods really Ukrainian? This, of course, leads to temporary delays in the passage of goods through customs and, as a result, to the losses of Ukrainian entrepreneurs.
Is it any wonder? Not. For a number of years, high-ranking Russian officials have repeatedly issued warnings to this account, explaining very clearly why this will happen.
So, 15 March 2011 of the year at a press conference following the EurAsEC Interstate Council and the meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Union State, Vladimir Putin (at the time, Prime Minister of the Russian Federation), stressing that the decision on joining / not joining the CU is ", Said:" We know that Ukraine is negotiating the creation of a free trade zone with the European Union. The level of customs protection that Ukraine has uttered when joining the WTO is more than two times lower than our single customs tariff. And even in the case of Russia's accession to the WTO, on the grounds that we have now identified for ourselves with the partners in the WTO negotiations, it will hardly change - it will be twice as high as the Ukrainian one. ”
What does this mean for Ukrainian-Russian trade and economic relations? “This means that if Ukraine creates a free trade zone together with the European Union and will be forced to concede in many positions that are sensitive to the Ukrainian economy, then it will of course expect that these goods will go to the Russian market. And we cannot afford to do this, ”said Vladimir Vladimirovich.
Therefore, according to him, in this situation Russia will be forced to start building a border. “We with colleagues, both with Belarus and Kazakhstan, are clearly aware of this. I do not believe that both Kazakhstan and Belarus will immediately put before Russia the question of closing the customs border. But one does not have to be an expert in order to understand that the consequences will be grave, ”said the Russian prime minister.
Commenting two and a half years ago on the said statement of the Russian president, we wrote: “It’s clear that Putin’s words have no hint of either“ pressure ”or, even less, the“ blackmail ”of Ukraine. No wonder he stressed that to join or not to join the Customs Union is the sovereign right of Kiev. Putin simply called a spade a spade. Directly and honestly, as it should be in relations between partners. So that later the introduction was not a surprise even by Russia, but by the Customs Union (after all, the Russian prime minister didn’t even speak on behalf of Moscow) of measures aimed at protecting the customs space of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan from the consequences of Ukraine’s creating a free trade zone with the EU ... If Ukraine ready to sacrifice its trade and economic relations with the countries of the Customs Union (for example, for the sake of certain political goals - “joining Europe”) - this is its sovereign right. However, Russia (as well as Belarus and Kazakhstan) has the same sovereign right to protect its economic interests ”(“ Russia will not pay for European integration of Ukraine ”,“ 2000 ”, No.13 (552) 1 – 7 in April 2011).
At the same time, we recalled that the problematic issues raised by Vladimir Putin are not new. And that almost in the same form they rose even at the time when it was discussed the need to synchronize the accession of Ukraine and Russia to the WTO, which was also warned by 2000 in the year already distant 2003: "... an important point that should be considered , are quite painful costs assumed after joining the WTO, and their impact on the state of Ukrainian-Russian economic relations. A number of Ukrainian industries will not be able to compete with foreign manufacturers who will come to our open spaces. And first of all these are enterprises oriented to the domestic market (exporters are therefore exporters because they are competitive in world markets). Where to go the products of these enterprises? The obvious option is to look for other markets. The main one is the CIS countries, and among them, first of all, Russia. But if Ukraine and Russia do not coordinate their steps on the WTO and enter on significantly different conditions, then Moscow’s natural step is the barriers (taxation, quotas, etc.) on the way of Ukrainian goods. And Russia in one form or another has repeatedly stated this. At the same time barriers will be installed on whole groups of goods. That is, not only potential suppliers to the Russian market will suffer, but also those who work on it now. It is quite obvious that setting trade barriers makes all sorts of arguments about a free trade zone between our countries meaningless ... ”(“ Kuchma cut another window into Europe ”//“ 2000 ”, No.23 (173) 6 — 12 June 2003) .
The creation of a Ukraine-EU free trade zone (an integral part of the agreement on political association with the European Union, which is planned to be signed in November of this year) against the background of the formation of the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan makes the above problems even more acute.
Today, there is a special trade regime between Ukraine and Russia (it is within this regime that the above mentioned CT-1 operate), while the borders between our states are almost open. Thus, due to the creation of an FTA with the EU, Europe will in fact receive a kind of “back door” (represented by Ukraine) to promote its products to the Russian market. Accordingly, the protective measures taken by Russia and its partners in the Customs Union will prove to be useless. The concern of the CU countries about this is quite reasonable. And it is quite natural to review the current trade regime between Ukraine and the CU countries. It is not surprising that such a thorough verification of CT-1 certificates - are goods of Ukrainian origin imported into Russia?
18 March 2011 th at the forum of business leaders of the CIS countries, First Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Igor Shuvalov said that the FTA of Ukraine with the European Union is a serious threat to the economic interests of the countries of the Customs Union. “The conditions that are currently being discussed between Ukraine and the EU on a free trade zone can be quite a serious threat to the countries of the Customs Union,” he said, adding that there is a risk that the goods for which he has put barriers appear on the market of the CU countries, through the Ukrainian corridor.
23 March 2011 representative from the Institute of Economic Forecasting of the Russian Academy of Sciences Alexander Shirov said during the Kiev-Moscow video bridge that if Kiev creates a free trade zone with Europe, the West will be able to use this loophole to promote its products in the Russian Federation. “Ukraine will turn into just a transit point. Therefore, Russia will be forced to introduce the same customs regime as, for example, with Latvia. Bets will be different, everything will be tougher, ”he warned.
5 June 2011, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, on the radio station Ekho Moskvy, said that Ukraine needs to equalize its customs tariffs to at least the average on the WTO - if it does not want to get problems with access to the Russian market. He noted that Ukraine has reduced its customs tariffs to 4%, although on average for the WTO they constitute 10%, "and there will also be in the Customs Union: in the Customs Union, on average, 10% customs tariffs". Ukraine, stressed S. Lavrov, “must understand that if suddenly it opens its borders for the European Union, then the Customs Union, which is guided by the averaged WTO norms, will defend itself”. And he added: "this is not a threat, this is a clean economy."
“I think that even in the interests of Ukraine, to tell WTO members:“ Guys, excuse me, I will go to some kind of harmonization with the members of the Customs Union, therefore, here are the specific tariffs that, under Yushchenko, were, well, actually surrendered without a fight , we will align them. We will align them not under the Customs Union of 3 countries, but will align under the average WTO indicators, ”the Russian Foreign Minister noted. At the end of last year, the Ukrainian authorities made a timid attempt to revise tariff commitments, which Kiev shouldered during its accession to the WTO, but “squeezed” from Brussels - and the process stopped.
7 June 2011, Vladimir Putin, speaking to reporters after talks with Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, noted that no one is going to drag anyone into the Customs Union, but Russia will protect the interests of its producers. “There is no policy here; Ukraine itself should decide whether it is beneficial for it or not,” Putin said.
He recalled that at the moment we are talking about the entry of Ukraine into the free trade zone with the EU. And in this context, Vladimir Vladimirovich described the situation when Europeans would restrict access to their market to any “sensitive” goods of Ukrainian origin, and Ukraine, on the contrary, would have to open its market for European goods. “What shall we do? We will have to ensure the protection of the external borders of the Customs Union from the penetration of such goods to our market, which will have nowhere to go, ”Putin said. He also stressed that “such things need to be talked about in advance” (which, as we see, was done - SL). “We will have to protect our national producer,” Putin concluded.
In connection with the current difficulties during the passage of Russian customs in the largest Ukrainian mining and metallurgical holding Metinvest stated that there is a “continuous inspection with an overhang of all incoming metal”, moreover, “total checks of authenticity of certificates of origin of metal imported from Ukraine began with shipment their examination in Moscow, which can last up to two months. " Long. At this time, market niches may be lost - for example, they are occupied by Russian manufacturers. But is it really surprising?
July 15 2011 in the course of communication with the employees of OJSC Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works, Vladimir Putin noted that “Ukraine is, of course, a country with a developed metallurgical industry and, of course, your (Russian metallurgists - SL) competitor” . The political leadership of Ukraine, pointed out Vladimir Vladimirovich, has no plans to join the CU. "What does this mean? This means that the three countries - Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan - will agree on how to protect their domestic market from products from third countries, ”he stressed. Well, to protect your domestic market, everything goes in the course, incl. and similar strict customs control, which can be completely attributed to one of the forms of non-tariff restrictions (on this topic we wrote in the article “Peter Alekseevich, Europe’s“ huge markets ”at your disposal!” // 2000, No. XXUMX-31 (32 ) 663 - 9 August 15 g.).
Or, 19 of March of 2012, the then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, said after the meeting of the Interstate Council of the Eurasian Economic Community: “We talked about what the Customs Union gives, about its advantages and about certain difficulties that may arise and already arise among states who are not members of the Customs Union. Such is life: if you participate in any international education, you get a certain set of privileges; if you don’t participate in this international legal entity, you may have difficulties accordingly. ”
26 April 2013 th adviser to the president of Russia Sergey Glazyev on the air of the Shuster Live program: “We must understand that we live in market conditions. And we do not live in a united socialist fraternity. And the market conditions are such that economic entities compete there. Compete for their profits, for their interests. If we want Ukraine to receive the advantages that participants in a single economic space have - Belarus and Kazakhstan, it means that we need to be inside, not outside. The customs border is a line of barricades. If you are on one side of the barricades, inside a single economic space, then you get all the resources and all your production are the same as everyone else. Based on fair direct competition. If you are on the other side of the barricades, then you naturally get all the delights of modern market relations. And nowhere to go from this.
Etc. etc. This, of course, is far from a complete list of warnings about the consequences of foreign policy choices (objective, we emphasize the consequences) that were voiced by the Ukrainian partners in advance from Russia. So no wonder what is happening. If in Kiev they didn’t hear or didn’t want to hear, they didn’t draw any conclusions for themselves from these warnings - Moscow, and then?
By the way, the situation with phytosanitary claims against Roshen products should not have been a “surprise” (interpreted as “Moscow pressure”) for Kiev. Back in October, Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov wrote 2011 on his Facebook page that “much of the trade is determined not even by the trade regime, but by the existing technical regulations ... for example, product quality issues, sanitary, phytosanitary standards, etc. can seriously complicate the lives of our entrepreneurs. " “In addition to general rules in trade, general technical regulations should also be in force. Then removed a large number of problems in mutual trade. That is why I gave instructions to consider the possibility of joining those regulations that operate within the framework of the Customs Union, ”he pointed out. Another thing is that Ukraine, within the framework of its “non-alternative European integration”, adapts itself to the system of EU standards and regulations, which significantly differ from the technical regulations of the Customs Union (the CU has a wider list of products subject to certification; the Soviet principle of standardization, etc. ).
But today, Russia vividly demonstrates in which mode of enhanced control goods from Ukraine will cross the Ukrainian-Russian border after the creation of the last FTZ with the European Union.
What else has Russia warned in advance?
Given that the Ukrainian political elite is experiencing obvious problems with hearing, it makes sense to recall a number of warnings that Moscow made quite a partnership, but which, most likely, will be ignored by Kiev. I am sure that some time will pass, Ukrainian officials and politicians will again begin to shrug and throw up their hands - “what is happening ?!”, accompanying with demagogy on the topic “pressure of Kremlin imperialism”. And yet.
In March of this year. We wrote that "Russia has not yet fully utilized such an integration argument as import substitution."
“Russia is not just the main market for Ukraine, but the market to which our manufacturers supply high-tech products, goods with a high degree of processing and high added value. The West does not need Ukrainian planes, cars or machines. Russia is needed. Until. In the Soviet times, Ukrainian production of high-tech goods was created as part of a single national economic complex. But Ukraine further does not want to be in the same economic space with Russia (it is equal with Belarus and Kazakhstan). What, one wonders, should deter Russia (and other countries of the CU) in launching the full power of import substitution programs? After all, let's be frank, nothing so special - what Russia and its CU partners could not produce independently, Ukraine does not produce. And for the States of the Customs Union, the creation of their industries, replacing the Ukrainian counterparts, is a revival of the economy, GDP growth, technology development, additional budget revenues, new jobs. Maybe Mikhail Zurabov spoke about this: “Sami? So, yourself. Only then no offense "?", - we noted (see "The loss of the Russian market is the collapse of Ukraine" // "2000", No.10 (645) 8 - 14 March 2013 g.).
Two months later, our forecast began to come true - the CU was thinking about restricting imports and replacing it with its own production. On May 23, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated at a meeting with the business community in Voronezh that Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus are discussing the issue of limiting imports. “We are now with colleagues in the Customs Union - with Belarusians and Kazakhs - just thinking about how to take appropriate decisions within the framework of the Customs Union, but so that these decisions do not contradict WTO principles,” Putin said.
We note that Ukraine has long taken steps in this direction, incl. trying to oust Russian imports from the Ukrainian market (in Moscow, however, on this occasion they are not satisfied with the hysterics in the style of "Kiev blackmails", "Kiev presses" and so on.). For example, on August 27, 2012, Prime Minister Azarov, during the opening ceremony of the Staltech steelworks plant in Brovary (Kyiv region), said that Ukraine would completely refuse to import metalwork from the Russian Federation: “We have practically abandoned the purchase of metalwork in Russia. Everything that we bought at Russian factories we can already manufacture at our factories. ” It is obvious that in Russia they can also produce at their enterprises much of what they import from Ukraine today.
A reduction (and in some areas and a complete cessation) of cooperation between Ukraine and Russia is coming. Back in October, 2011, at the Rhodes Forum in Greece, the executive secretary of the Customs Union Commission, Sergei Glazyev, warned that Ukraine’s accession to the free trade zone with the European Union would entail an accelerated curtailment of the Ukrainian-Russian scientific and technical cooperation “in aircraft manufacturing, energy, engineering, space rocket cooperation and shipbuilding. " In numerical terms, he said, this would mean a reduction of Ukrainian exports by $ 2 billion per year.
25 April this year Vladimir Putin on the air of the Russian central TV channels, arguing on the topic of Ukraine’s accession / non-entry into the CU, noted that Ukraine “is tied by very extensive cooperation” to the countries of the Customs Union, the rejection of which (as one of the consequences of Kiev’s western integration vector) irreparable loss. "
Finally, the “non-alternative European choice” also means a blow to the interests of those Ukrainians who annually go to work in Russia. According to the NBU, in 2012, labor migrants sent $ 6,5 billion to their families. Most from Russia - $ 2,3 billion (35% of the total). And this is only the amount that went through the payment system. And how much was imported in cash?
21 April 2012, Yuri Kozhankov, former director of the legal department of the Secretariat of the Customs Union Commission and one of the developers of the Customs Code of the CU, more than frankly warned: “We will only protect citizens of our countries with economic and social rights. We are humane only in relation to their own. With respect to citizens of non-union states, you can call this discrimination. ”
4 March this year During a meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovych, Vladimir Putin said bluntly that as integration ties develop within the framework of the Customs Union, it will be more difficult for citizens of Ukraine to find employment in the Russian Federation. “Starting from 2015, our labor movement will be restricted from countries other than the Customs Union. We have already announced this publicly. The current preferential procedure for the movement of labor will be maintained only for the countries of the Customs Union, ”Putin said.
But there is no reason to complain about the “intrigues of the Kremlin” - all these are the objective consequences of Ukraine’s integration choice.