Russian customs planning tighter control of e-trade

Russia's Federal Customs Service plans to propose "systemic measures" to tighten control of online trade, which is "growing by leaps and bounds" and often bypasses customs, the FTS chief said.

"Internet trade is a problem that many people underestimate today. It's no longer individual people who pick shirts or headsets from catalogues and order them through the Internet because there are no such things in Russian stores or they are three times the price there. Now huge shipments of goods are delivered to Russia via the Internet. This has become a serious business," Andrei Belyaninov said in an interview with Russian government daily Rossiyskaya Gazeta to appear in Friday's issue of the paper.

There are databases of false identities, Belyaninov said. "In other words, there are now some new virtual 'shuttle traders' who bypass customs rules and duties. Virtual supplies, which are growing by leaps and bounds, go along with virtual payments, and those aren't usually done through banks either. Consequently, neither taxes nor customs duties get paid," he said.

Uncontrolled e-trade rocketed in scale during last year, Belyaninov said, predicting even faster growth for 2013.

He did not elaborate on the "systemic measures" the FTS would employ.

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