The State Duma (the lower house of the Russian parliament) on Friday starts considering in the second reading the draft new Customs Code of the Russian Federation.
The document was adopted at the end of 1999 in the first reading. Then, the work over the Code was interrupted by the elections to the State Duma of the present, third convocation. After the elections, the parliamentarians, jointly with the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, the State Customs Committee and other interested bodies, worked over the amendments to the Code. Today, the State Duma starts considering the document in the second reading at its plenary session.
This week, representatives of the State Customs Committee, who had taken part in working out the Code, conducted consultations with members of the State Duma. During these consultations, Leonid Lozbenko, First Deputy Chairman of the State Customs Committee, underscored that the adoption of the new Customs Code in the near future, and a number of other factors "will give us an opportunity to create by 2008 practically one of the best customs administrations in the world." Leonid Lozbenko noted that four components are necessary for the customs service to start working in new conditions: well equipped state frontiers, a legal basis, a professional staff and information technologies.
According to him, the equipment of the frontiers calls for 209 billion roubles today, but "we do not have such an amount of money." As to the legal basis, the new Customs Code "gives an opportunity for the Russian customs administration to act on the basis of international standards," Leonid Lozbenko pointed out.
Another Deputy Chairman of the Customs Committee, Yury Azarov, underscored that the new Customs Code "will make it possible to considerably intensify the foreign trade of Russia." According to him, "the ideology of the Code will enable the participants in foreign trade activity to work openly and to a greater advantage." The day before, Chairman of the State Duma budgetary committee Alexander Zhukov forecasted that the new Customs Code would be adopted by the State Duma in the second reading. In the opinion of Zhukov, the Code "has turned out to be very good and liberal; it takes into consideration the interests of business."