Green light for “customs visa-free”: Ukraine handed over to the European side the necessary instruments for accession

On August 31, 2022, Ukraine handed over to the European side the required instruments for joining the Convention on the Common Transit Procedure and the Convention on the Simplification of Formalities in Trade in Goods.

This was preceded by a purposeful customs policy and consolidated efforts of the Ukrainian government and businesses for the deployment of NCTS at the local level, as well as for the successful completion of two evaluation missions of the European Commission (EC). In addition, the challenges of the war in the centre of Europe united the EC and friendly countries to support the European integration processes of Ukraine, in particular, in the customs sphere. As a result, on August 25, 35 member countries of international customs conventions officially invited Ukraine to join the European family of common transit and simplification of cross-border trade.

“The international application of NCTS, in addition to the re-engineering of the AEO program and the Customs Facilitation System, is a primary tool for the rapid transit of goods through customs while maintaining border security during wartime. With the accession to international customs conventions and the launch of relevant legislative changes, Ukraine will fulfil 81% of its obligations under the Association Agreement with the EU in the customs sphere. Achievements in international customs policy significantly bring Ukraine as a candidate country closer to joining the EU,” informed Yuriy Draganchuk, Deputy Minister of Finance of Ukraine for European Integration.

The day before, on August 30, the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, signed laws that allow the international application of NCTS to begin and expand the system of customs simplifications:

–      Закон України «Про приєднання України до Конвенції про процедуру спільного транзиту»;

–      Закон України «Про приєднання України до Конвенції про спрощення формальностей у торгівлі товарами»;

–      Закон України «Про внесення змін до Митного кодексу України щодо окремих питань імплементації глави 5 розділу IV Угоди про асоціацію між Україною, з однієї сторони, та Європейським Союзом, Європейським співтовариством з атомної енергії та їх держави-члени, з іншої сторони».

“These key political decisions in the context of Ukraine’s accession to the Convention on the Common Transit Procedure were adopted by all partner countries extremely quickly, everything happened in fact during the last month. For us, both the solidarity shown by the countries of the Convention and their direct support, which helps Ukraine to consistently carry out all the necessary actions for the introduction of European customs procedures, are crucial” said Deputy Head of the State Customs Service Vladyslav Suvorov.

At the same time, instruments of accession were elaborated, that Ukraine had to submit to the depositories of the conventions. Among them are official translations of conventions into Ukrainian. In their preparation, the Ukrainian side was supported by the projects “Association4U” and EU4PFM.

Ukrainian business receives new opportunities with the accession of Ukraine to the Convention:

• working according to the principle of “one vehicle – one declaration – one guarantee” and speeding up the transit of goods through the customs border of Ukraine;

• using the advantages and simplifications of common transit that business has in the 35 countries of the Convention and which make up a complete picture of customs simplifications together with those that were already provided within the framework of the AEO program in 2019;

• wider access to simplifications even without AEO status, as well as the possibility to apply reduced duty rates on raw materials for production on the domestic market, wider possibilities of previous resolutions.

“The political decision of 35 countries to invite Ukraine to the Convention on the Common Transit Procedure is an assessment of Ukraine’s efforts and a recognition of the great progress achieved for the introduction of the common transit procedure. It encourages the EU to continue assisting in the customs area,” added Vytenis Alishauskas, EU4PFM Key International Expert in customs area.

“The international application of NCTS together with the re-engineering of the customs simplification program gives a start to the development of customs hubs and the market of financial customs services in Ukraine, encourages business to take out of the shadows its profits, opens up new opportunities on the international market for many branches of the Ukrainian economy. It is an evolution in the customs sphere, which should replace the relationship of the controlling body with business to cooperate under the motto “security and partnership”. Only such a format will simultaneously provide border security and economic support,” said Oksana Nikanorova, adviser to the Deputy Minister of Finance of Ukraine, coordinator of customs reforms of the Reform Support Office under the Ministry of Finance.

Find out more information on new opportunities provided by common business transit on the official websites of the Ministry of Finance and the State Customs Service.