ACTUAL ISSUES OF FORMATION OF THE OF DIGITAL (ELECTRONIC) CUSTOMS INSTITUTE IN THE EURASIAN ECONOMIC UNION

Sergei Mozer

РУССКИЙ

Sergei MozerPh.D. at law

Deputy Head of Division of Advanced Customs Technologies, Department of Customs Legislation of the Eurasian Economic CommissionContact Person for Communication with the World Customs Organization.

Senior Researcher in the Research Institute of the Russian Customs Academy.

e-mail: moser@teloneum.net

Web: http://customs-academy.net/?page_id=10398

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Dinara Sekerbayeva

Dinara Sekerbayeva, Head of Division of Advanced Customs Technologies, Department of Customs Legislation of the Eurasian Economic Commission

 

Published: Social and Political Sciences. — № 6 (December). — 2019 — pages 109-119. © S.V. Mozer, 2019

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When using the article referance is required

Abstract

Purpose

To analyze the issue of forming the legal institute of digital (electronic) customs within the framework of the functioning of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEС, Commission).

Design/methodology/approach

The research article is devoted to the formation of the institute of electronic (digital) customs. The subject of the research is the institute of digital (electronic) customs. It is comprehensively considered the normative activity of the EEC on the development of electronic customs. It is analyzed the issue of creating such a customs in the context of the Action Plan for the Implementation of the Basic Directions for the Development of the Single Window Mechanism. Special attention is paid to the same issues through the prism of EEC legal decisions. The authors analyze the Project Management Mechanism, the Methodology for Assessing the Development Status of the Single Window Mechanism, as well as the procedures for the interaction of interested parties with government bodies for the development of electronic (digital) customs.

Social implications

The introduction of the digital customs institute into the law of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU, Union) and customs regulation as a whole are aimed at optimizing customs operations and simplifying trade procedures.

Practical meaning

The results of the study are of interest to the EEC customs block; they can be used in the framework of organizing the work of the «Electronic Customs» Thematic Block. The article is recommended to researchers, as well as experts from the Customs administrations of the EEU Member States, whose activities are related to the improvement of customs regulation, the modernization of the digital customs institute, as well as international customs law.

Originality/value

The research material is based on an analysis of the practical aspects of the EEC’s activities and is a continuation of scientific and practical publications on the development of the digital customs institute.

Keywords: The World Customs Organization, the WCO, the Eurasian Economic Union, EEU, the Eurasian Economic Commission, EEC, e-Customs, digital Customs, customs regulation, customs administration, international customs law, customs, information communication technologies.

The relevance of the study. On August 7, 2017, the third meeting of the Expert Group on the preparation of the draft document “On the development of approaches to the formation of digital customs” took place (as part of the work of the “Electronic Customs” Thematic Block of the Working Group on the implementation of the action plan for the implementation of the Guidelines for the development of the Single Window mechanism in system of regulation of foreign economic activity) [1]. During the meeting, the experts discussed the problems of the conceptual framework (digital customs), international experience, as well as possible approaches to the development of the draft document “On the development of approaches to the formation of digital customs”.

It is worth noting that in June of the same year, it was completed a comprehensive study of the Digital Customs Institute in the framework of the World Customs Organization (hereinafter referred to as the WCO) by the EEC customs block [2]. The results of a complex analysis are published in open sources [3]. In this article we will examine the genesis of the institute of electronic (digital) customs as part of the EEC expert work.

As world experience shows, at the heart of the national Single Window mechanism, its central core and foundation is paperless (electronic) customs, designed to replace the traditional paperwork format for customs operations, with

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electronic document management organized on the basis of information and communication technologies (hereinafter — ICT), thus creating a more efficient customs environment. The materials of the EEC customs block indicate that the concept (term) of “paperless customs” is equivalent to the concept (term) of “electronic customs”. The widespread use of ICT in the daily work of customs authorities has radically changed the work of modern customs, from the automation of office work of customs officials to the use of the Internet to publish and disseminate information, use automated systems for submitting customs declarations, risks managing, processing and verifying information and issuing permits, interaction with other state bodies [4].

Initially, the issue of the development of electronic customs was worked out at a high level by the EEC — WCO as far back as 2016. So, during a meeting of the Member of the Board (Minister) for Customs Cooperation of the EEC Mr. Mukai Kadyrkulov with the WCO Secretary General Mr. Kunio Mikuria at meetings of the 127/128 sessions of the Customs Cooperation Council held from 13 to 18 July 2016 in Brussels, an oral agreement was reached on the delegation of the WCO to participate in the conference of its experts to exchange experiences and best practices in the field of electronic customs/ Thus, back in 2016, experts of the customs block of the Commission, including specialists from the “electronic customs” Thematic Block, expressed their clear intention to exchange information with the leading experts of the WCO on the practice of creating and developing electronic customs using new technologies based on international standards in including the provisions of the International Convention on the Simplification and Harmonization of Customs Procedures, WCO Recommendations [4].

In the period from November 28-29, 2016 in Moscow, it was held the International Conference «Electronic Declaration — the Basis of Electronic Customs: A Look from the Present to the Future» [5]. The scientific event under consideration was organized by the Commission, and its feature is the participation of the World Customs Organization. The results of the scientific conference were formalized into relevant recommendations. First of all, the conference participants agreed that for the further development of electronic customs, as one of the main elements of the Single Window mechanism, it is necessary to create an appropriate legal framework at the supranational and national levels; use international standards and international best practices; to analyze and optimize the procedures for interaction between business and government bodies, as well as directly by government bodies; use a unified EEU Data Model based on international standards; introduce modern information and communication technologies [6].

Taking into account the above-mentioned tasks, according to the results of the conference, the participants identified the following recommendations for the areas of work of the “electronic customs” Thematic Block of the Working Group on the implementation of the Guidelines for the development of the “single window” mechanism:

  1. For the purpose of forming a common understanding, to define the concepts (terms) of “electronic customs”, “digital customs”, “electronic customs declaration”, “electronic payments”, “data element”, “electronic message”, “information” in the glossary of terms.
  2. To prepare proposals for fixing the concept of “electronic / digital customs” in the law of the Eurasian Economic Union (for the implementation of the Guidelines).
  3. To develop a strategy (concept) for the development of “electronic / digital customs” as an essential element of the national “single window” mechanism to simplify administrative procedures. To identify the main elements of “electronic / digital customs”, including “electronic customs declaration”.
  4. To ensure the involvement of scientific and business circles in developing a strategy for the development of «electronic / digital» customs.
  5. To provide a subsection “electronic customs” on the information portal about the project for the implementation of the Guidelines for the development of the Single Window mechanism.
  6. To ensure the collection, translation and placement in the subsection “electronic customs” of international best practice, international standards and recommendations in the direction of the Thematic Block.
  7. When developing the functionality of the Reference Model of the “single window” mechanism, in terms of the Thematic Block, to take into account the approaches and positions voiced by the participants of the conference [6].

Thus, for the purposes of further discussion of approaches to the transition to digital customs, issues of defining the concept of “digital customs”, understanding the qualifying characteristics of “digital customs” and its relationship with the “single window” mechanism are becoming relevant [7]. In the framework of our study, the electronic, digital customs as a legal instrument, a legal phenomenon, a mechanism, a regime, as well as the organizational, technical, informational, technological elements, systems, characteristics, features, that distinguish it from a group of others legal phenomena and legal institutions. are of particular interest.

An analysis of the materials of the international conference allows us to summarize the following:

— today there is no definition of the concepts (terms) of “electronic customs” and “digital customs” in the theory of law;

— the concepts of “electronic customs” and “digital customs” are not fixed in the law of the EEU;

— e-customs is considered as one of the main elements of the “single window” mechanism and in this context the thesis is expressed about the need to develop a strategy (concept) for the development of “electronic, digital customs” as a necessary element of the national “single window” mechanism;

— for the development of electronic (digital) customs, it is necessary to use international standards and best practices.

As part of the improvement of the Single Window mechanism in the EEU Member States (Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia) and taking into account the ongoing work of the Commission to implement the digital agenda of the Union, the issue of digital customs becomes relevant, as well as a study of international experience and existing theoretical approaches to its creation and modernization. Let’s consider the theoretical and practical aspects of this issue.

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I. Electronic Customs and the Action Plan for the implementation of the Basic directions for the development of the Single Window mechanism. Studying the problems of creating electronic (digital) customs, it should be noted that the issue of its creation is being addressed by the experts of the EEC customs block in parallel with the consideration of the issue of creating a “single window” mechanism in the EEU Member States. So, according to the Decision of the EEC Council dated April 28, 2014 № 23 [8], the EEC Board was ordered to form under the leadership of a Member of the Board (Minister) for Customs Cooperation of the Eurasian Economic Commission, — Mr. Vladimir Goshin, a Working Group on the Preparation of an Action Plan for the Implementation of the Guidelines for the Development of the Single Window Mechanism in the System of Regulating Foreign Economic Activity (hereinafter referred to as the Working Group) from representatives of the executive authorities of the Member States of the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space, the Consultative Council for Cooperation between the EEC and the Belarusian-Kazakh-Russian Business Community, as well as employees of the Eurasian Economic Commission and to approve its composition [9; 7].

We note that the main goal of the Working Group was to develop an Action Plan for the implementation of the Guidelines for the development of the Single Window mechanism in the foreign economic activity regulation system (hereinafter referred to as the Action Plan) [9; thirteen]. Such a Working Group was created, and its composition was approved by Decision of the EEC Board of July 18, 2014 № 123 [10]. The Action Plan was promptly prepared by the Working Group and approved by the Decision of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council dated 08.05.2015 № 19 “On the Action Plan for the implementation of the guidelines for the development of the Single Window mechanism in the system of regulating foreign economic activity” [11]. According to EEC experts, the considered legal act is a strategic document expressing political will and defining for the Member States of the Union the vector for the development of national Single Window mechanisms and the organization of their information interaction at the supranational level [9; 19].

Returning to the question of the genesis of the concepts of “digital (electronic) customs” in the EEU law, we note that the concepts (terms) of “digital customs” and “electronic customs” are not used in the Action Plan for the implementation of the Guidelines for the development of the Single Window mechanism in the foreign economic activity regulation system. The analyzed Action Plan operates with such concepts (terms) as electronic documents [11; II. Definitions], electronic document, electronic commerce, electronic systems, electronic payment [11; paragraph 3. The intellectual mechanism / V. General description of the reference model of the national mechanism of the Definition], mutual recognition of electronic documents necessary for the implementation of foreign economic activity, electronic payment [11; the structure of the Reference Model of the national single window mechanism. Appendix № 1 to the Action Plan] (within the framework of the Reference Model of the national single window mechanism) [12].

It also provides a conceptual framework. For example, «electronic commerce» — a set of technical and organizational forms of financial and trade transactions carried out using electronic systems; “Mutual recognition of documents” — the recognition and use in one Member State of electronic documents necessary for the implementation of foreign economic activity generated by authorized bodies (organizations) of another Member State; “Harmonization of information” — the collection, definition, analysis and harmonization of requirements for information contained in electronic documents and paper copies of electronic documents used in the same fields of application, with the aim of increasing the comparability of such documents in terms of content and format; “Standardized type of documents” — a document in electronic form, executed in accordance with a harmonized and unified structure and formats, having equal legal force with a similar document on paper [11; See II. Definitions. Action plan].

III. Electronic Customs through the prism of decisions of the Eurasian Economic Commission.

3.1. The organizational structure of the mechanism that ensures the implementation of the Action Plan for the implementation of the Basic directions for the development of the Single Window mechanism.

An important stage in the organizational and legal system for the development of the Single Window mechanism in the EEU Member States can be called the creation in 2015 of the Organizational Structure of the mechanism to ensure the implementation of the Action Plan for the implementation of the Guidelines for the development of the Single Window mechanism in the foreign economic activity regulation system [13] (hereinafter referred to as the Organizational Structure), as well as the development of a methodology for assessing the state (level) of development of national Single Window mechanisms (hereinafter referred to as the Assessment Methodology). The organizational structure was approved by Decision of the EEC Board of September 28, 2015 № 124 [13], and the Assessment Methodology — by the Decision of the EEC Board of September 28, 2015 № 123 [14].

For the first time, the concept of “electronic customs” is mentioned precisely in the decisions of the Commission of September 28, 2015. Initially, we are not talking about electronic customs, but about electronic customs issues within the framework of the work of the Thematic Blocks of the Working Group (hereinafter — Thematic Block) and one of the important areas — customs [fifteen; paragraph 21].

In the context of the comparative analysis, we add that according to paragraph 21 of the «Regulation on the organizational structure of the mechanism ensuring the implementation of the Plan of measures for the implementation of the Main directions for the development of the Single Window mechanism in the system of regulation of foreign economic activity» (hereinafter referred to as the Regulation), the Thematic Blocks carry out activities in accordance with the list work in the following areas:

  1. customs (on issues of electronic customs);
  2. financial and tax (on issues of payment, electronic commerce);
  3. regulatory (for circulation of permits);
  4. transport (for transport and logistics);
  5. information (on information technology).

In addition, we note that the Thematic Block, along with the Coordination

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 Council, is part of the Working Group on the implementation of the Action Plan.

We briefly outline the main elements of the management mechanism. First of all, we note that the main goal of creating a mechanism to ensure the implementation of the Action Plan (hereinafter referred to as the management mechanism) is to ensure the coherence of the actions of state bodies and organizations of the EEU Member States that regulate foreign economic activity, the business community and participants of foreign economic activity of the Member States for development national single window mechanisms.

In accordance with the Regulation, the structure of the supranational segment of the governance mechanism today includes: the Council of the Eurasian Economic Commission; Board of the Commission; a Working Group for the implementation of the Action Plan (hereinafter referred to as the Working Group); expert groups.

Working Group. The Working Group within its powers performs such tasks as preparing draft acts of the EEU bodies aimed at implementing the guidelines for the development of the Single Window mechanism in the foreign economic activity regulation system approved by Decision of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council dated May 29, 2014 № 68 [16] (hereinafter referred to as the Main Directions), and the Action Plan; organization of the implementation of the Action Plan; monitoring the implementation of the Action Plan; organization of the development of draft detailed plans for the next year to implement the Action Plan (hereinafter — the annual detailed plans).

As noted above, the Working Group consists of the Coordinating Council of the Working Group and the thematic blocks of the Working Group. The working group includes representatives of the EEC, government bodies and organizations of Member States that regulate foreign economic activity, as well as the business community of Member States.

The composition of the Coordinating Council of the Working Group includes:

— Head of the Working Group;

— 1 representative from each Member State at the head or deputy head of the state executive body of the Member State responsible for the development of the Single Window mechanism in that state;

— heads of thematic blocks.

In turn, the thematic blocks include:

— from Member States: officials of government bodies at the level of heads or deputy heads of structural divisions of these bodies or their authorized organizations, whose activities are directly related to the scope of the relevant thematic block; representatives of the business community;

— from the Commission — officials and employees of the departments of the Commission, the scope of which is related to the functioning of the relevant thematic block [15; paragraphs 6-11].

We need to remind that the thematic blocks carry out activities in accordance with the list of works according to the Appendix in the following areas: customs (on electronic customs issues); financial and tax (on issues of payment, electronic commerce); regulatory (for circulation of permits); transport (for transport and logistics); Information (on information technology).

Moreover, for the implementation of the Plan of measures and work specified in the list provided for by the Appendix to the Regulation, expert groups may be created. We add that in accordance with paragraph 23 of the Regulation, the expert groups on the areas of activity of the thematic blocks include representatives of EEC departments, authorized state bodies and organizations, as well as the business community of Member States. As for the list of works mentioned in this paragraph, we note that its full title is “The list of works for the thematic blocks of the Working Group on the Implementation of the Action Plan for the implementation of the Guidelines for the development of the Single Window mechanism in the system of regulating foreign economic activity”.

An analysis of the Union’s legal acts allows us to conclude that the concept of “electronic customs” at the initial stage of “digitalization” of the EEU customs administration, in the context of constructing a Single Window mechanism, is positioned primarily with the List of Works for the thematic blocks of the Working Group, where number one is indicated «I. Electronic Customs ”[17]. We need to note that the concept (term) of “electronic customs” is not disclosed in the analyzed legal act of the Union; only the works are named. In this vein, we list the main work of the analyzed block.

Establishment of conformity between government bodies, organizations of Member States that provide government services and services in the field of customs regulation.

Data collection:

a) on business processes arising from the interaction of participants in foreign economic activity and the customs authorities of the Member States of the Eurasian Economic Union;

b) on documents and information;

c) on international treaties and acts constituting the law of the Union, regulatory legal acts of the Member States in the field of customs regulation;

d) on state programs of Member States to improve customs regulation.

Analysis:

a) business processes arising from the interaction of participants in foreign economic activity and customs authorities;

b) documents and information (for redundancy and duplication of documents and information during customs operations and customs control);

c) international treaties and acts constituting the law of the Union, regulatory legal acts of the Member States regulating the procedure for customs operations and customs control [17];

d) state programs of Member States to improve customs regulation;

e) the level of development of electronic declaration in Member States.

An analysis of the problems of interagency information interaction between state regulatory bodies, organizations of Member States arising from

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customs operations and customs control (including during customs control after the release of goods) and joint control at checkpoints.

Consultations, round tables in order to determine areas for improving electronic declaration, harmonization of approaches to the development of electronic declaration in Member States.

Development of recommendations for optimization (taking into account relevant international standards):

a) integrated management of the customs border of the Union;

b) interagency information interaction of state regulatory bodies, organizations of Member States;

c) electronic declaring in the Member States, the procedure for customs operations and the implementation of customs control (including customs clearance after the release of goods).

Development of technologies for automatic registration of customs declarations and automatic release of goods.

Preparation of proposals for amending international treaties and acts constituting the law of the Union, and regulatory legal acts of Member States.

Monitoring and control of the implementation of the Action Plan for the implementation of the Guidelines for the development of the Single Window mechanism in the system of regulating foreign economic activity, approved by Decision of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council dated May 8, 2015 № 19 within the competence of the corresponding block of the Working Group [17].

Having become acquainted with the List of Works, it should be noted that “electronic customs” accepts the outlines of a complex tool (legal phenomenon, element, system, mechanism), which is identified with the provision of services in the field of customs regulation, implementation of business processes, interdepartmental information interaction of regulatory bodies, organizations of the Member States of the Union, integrated management of the customs border of the Union, electronic declaring, automatic registration of the customs declaration and automatic release of goods. In other words, the framework, functionality and relationships of this tool with other systems and legal institutions are manifested.

However, at this stage it is still early to talk about its characteristics and features. It can be definitely stated that the activities of the “electronic customs” Thematic Block are directly related to customs regulation as a direction of activity. At the same time, we note that according to the Treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union of May 29, 2014 [18], the EEC operates within the powers, stipulated by the Treaty and international treaties within the Union, in a number of areas of regulation. Among them is customs regulation.

Thus, in our understanding, “electronic customs” as a legal instrument in a legal context is identified, first of all, with customs administration (regulation), and only then with other areas defined by the Treaty and international treaties within the Union, for example, domestic markets, informatization, information -communication technologies. Accordingly, the concept, methodology, scientific and methodological apparatus as a whole, instruments for legal regulation of legal relations with the participation of customs authorities and foreign economic activity participants as part of the development of the electronic (digital) customs institute are to be developed by the EEC customs block of the EEC. Other approaches will be contrary to the provisions of the Treaty on the distribution of competence.

3.2. Electronic Customs and the Methodology for assessing the state of development of national Single Window mechanisms.

Experts of the Commission with the participation of the Parties have developed a supranational Methodology for assessing the state (level) of development of national Single Window mechanisms, which was approved by Decision of the EEC Board of September 28, 2015 № 123 [14]. The Methodology was developed in order to assess the state (level) of development of national mechanisms of the Single Window and determines the procedure for analyzing the state (level) of development of national mechanisms of the Single Window [19; paragraph 1]. In our opinion, this tool can be used by various international institutions, for example, the World Customs Organization, UNECE as a model tool in the development of international standards in the form of a separate guide, recommendations for assessing the development of the Single Window mechanism in a given state [20 ]. Before highlighting the elements of “electronic customs” in the analyzed Assessment Methodology, we note that the following tasks were solved within the framework of the analysis of the state of development of national mechanisms of the “single window”:

a) analysis of the legal framework for the development of the national mechanism of the “single window” in Member States (hereinafter — the analysis of the legal framework);

b) analysis of the technological basis for the development of the national Single Window mechanism in Member States (hereinafter referred to as the analysis of the technological basis);

c) analysis of the information and technical basis for the implementation and development of the national Single Window mechanism in Member States (hereinafter referred to as the analysis of the information and technical basis);

d) analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the national mechanisms of the “single window” in Member States, the opportunities and prospects for the development of these mechanisms;

e) preparation of proposals and recommendations aimed at the further development of national mechanisms of the Single Window, optimization of business processes, as well as identifying priority areas for convergence of national mechanisms of the Single Window [19; paragraph 5].

As a note, we mention that the analysis of the technological basis includes:

  1. determination of the list of priority export, import and transit operations (hereinafter referred to as priority operations);
  2. analysis of existing business processes in accordance with the list of priority operations, determining the degree and level of their automation;

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  1. the definition of «bottlenecks» in the transition from paper documents to electronic documents.

To analyze the technological basis for each direction of movement of goods, an approximate list of business processes was formed in accordance with Appendix № 3 to the Assessment Methodology. We add that all operations in the approximate list of business processes are distributed into thematic blocks. Among them are “electronic customs”, “payments and electronic commerce”, “permits”, “transport and logistics”. In the aforementioned Appendix № 3 all business processes are divided into three blocks: (1) export of goods from the customs territory of the EEU, (2) import of goods into the customs territory of the Union and (3) transit of goods through the customs territory of the Union. And each of them contains a dedicated list of business processes related to «electronic customs».

So, for the block called “export of goods from the customs territory of the EEU”, the business processes (customs operations) are referred to the “electronic customs” group as:

  • determination of the classification code of goods according to the HS of the EEU;
  • obtaining a certificate of the country of origin of goods;
  • interaction with a customs broker (search for a customs broker, sending a request about the need to use the services of a customs broker, exchanging information about a product and preparing an offer to conclude a contract, concluding a contract, sending documents for preparing preliminary information and subsequent customs declaring (including preliminary declaration) ;
  • customs operations preceding the filing of the customs declaration, customs declaring (formation of the goods declaration, filing (sending) of the goods declaration, registration of the goods declaration, verification of the goods declaration (logical format control), amendment and addition of the information stated in the declaration to goods before the release of the goods, application of a risk management system, customs control (in case of a risk management system), etc.).

3.3. Electronic customs and interaction procedures.

In December 2015, the Commission adopted a decision “On the list of priority procedures for the interaction of interested parties with government bodies and (or) authorized organizations of the Member States of the Eurasian Economic Union in the framework of the operation of national Single Window mechanisms [21]. It was developed by the Department of Customs Legislation of the EEC in accordance with paragraph 4.1 of section XII of the Action Plan for the implementation of the Guidelines for the development of the Single Window mechanism in the system of regulation of foreign economic activity, approved by Decision of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council of May 8, 2015 № 19, and subparagraph 4.1.4 of the Detailed Plan for 2015 on the implementation of the Action Plan for the implementation of the Guidelines for the development of the Single Window mechanism in the regulatory system foreign economic activity approved by the Decision of the Council of the Eurasian Economic Commission dated February 4, 2015 № 4 [22] (hereinafter referred to as the Detailed Plan) [23].

The purpose of the draft decision is to determine the list of priority procedures for interaction between interested parties and state bodies of the Member States of the Eurasian Economic Union (hereinafter referred to as B2G procedures) for their phased inclusion in national Single Window mechanisms. According to the developers of the legal act, the approval of the list of priority B2G procedures should serve as a tool for approximating the approaches of the EEU Member States in the development of Single Window mechanisms and allow Member States to implement such procedures taking into account the unified requirements and prepared technology documents within the Eurasian Economic Union. The draft Decision was agreed by the Department of Enterprise Development, the Department of Customs Infrastructure, the Department of Trade Policy, the Department of Financial Policy, the Department of Information Technologies, the Department of Technical Regulation and Accreditation, the Department of Sanitary, Phytosanitary and Veterinary Measures, the Department of Customs and Tariff and Non-Tariff Regulation, the Department of Transport and Infrastructure [23]. Pursuant to clause 132 of the Regulations of the Eurasian Economic Commission, approved by Decision of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council dated December 23, 2014 № 98 [24], the draft Decision from October 28, 2015 to November 17, 2015 was posted on the Union’s official website for presentation to interested parties persons of their comments and suggestions. For reference, we note that during the public discussion, the Department of Customs Legislation received comments on the draft Decision only from the Atameken National Chamber of Entrepreneurs of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The comments related to paragraph 26 of the annex to the draft Decision, the procedure “Forwarding preliminary information for the transport of goods by various means of transport, in respect of which decisions were made by the Eurasian Economic Commission”.

It was proposed to tentatively resolve the issue of the advisability of including in the draft EEU Customs Code the provision of preliminary information in the form of an electronic document. A corresponding clarification was sent to the Atameken, which noted that the regulation of the above procedure was planned in 2016-2017 taking into account the agreements reached within the framework of the EEU Customs Code and the decisions of the Commission. In order to develop national Single Window mechanisms and ensure further regulatory work in this direction, it was decided to keep this procedure in the list of B2G procedures. The draft decision of the Board of the Commission did not require an assessment of the regulatory impact, as it does not affect the business environment [23].

The effective work of the customs block of the Commission, as a result, was transformed into the adoption of Decision of the EEC Board of December 22, 2015 № 171, which approved a list of priority procedures for the interaction of interested parties with government bodies and (or) authorized organizations of the Member

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States of the Union within the framework of national single window mechanisms [21]. Among this list, the procedures for the “electronic customs” block are defined. In particular, an act of the Union refers to them:

  1. Obtaining a preliminary decision on the classification of goods according to the single Commodity Nomenclature of foreign economic activity of the Eurasian Economic Union.
  2. Obtaining a preliminary decision on the country of origin of goods.
  3. Inclusion and exclusion of legal entities from the register of customs carriers.
  4. Assignment of the status of an authorized economic operator.
  5. Filing, registration and refusal to register a declaration of goods.
  6. Amendments to the information declared in the declaration of goods.
  7. Sending a notification on the release (on refusal to release, suspension of release) of goods.
  8. Obtaining permission to commit cargo operations with goods.
  9. Filing, registration and refusal to register a transit declaration.
  10. Filing, registration and refusal to register a certificate on the provision of security for the payment of customs duties and taxes when placing goods under the customs procedure of customs transit [21].

In other words, the legal instrument “electronic customs”, that we are analyzing, in development of the Union’s law on a “single window” mechanism, among other things covers such legal institutions as the classification of goods, determining the country of origin of goods, customs carrier, authorized economic operator, customs declaring, release of goods, customs transit, customs payments.

CONCLUSIONS. Based on the foregoing, we formulate conclusions.

  1. Today, we consider electronic (digital) customs as a legal instrument, a legal phenomenon, a mechanism, a regime, as well as the associated organizational, technical, information, technological elements, systems, characteristics, signs, features that distinguish it from the group other legal phenomena and institutions.
  2. The issue of the development of digital customs in the EEU Member States, as a comprehensive legal institution based on information technologies in the field of customs administration, was positioned as part of the EEU-WCO international customs cooperation in July 2016. The initiative of the EEC customs bloc found support from the WCO leadership.
  3. Today, experts of the customs block of the Commission, including specialists from the “electronic customs” Thematic Block, proceed from the position of the need to exchange with the WCO Member Countries information on the practice of creating and developing electronic (digital) customs using modern customs technologies based on international standards and good practice.
  4. In order to form an institute of electronic (digital) customs, experts of the Department of Customs Legislation of the EEC, as well as the Thematic Block “electronic customs” consider it necessary to create an appropriate regulatory framework in the EEU Member States.
  5. Today in the theory of law there is no definition of the concepts (terms) of “electronic customs” and “digital customs”; in the law of the EEU these concepts are not defined; in EEC practice electronic (digital) customs is considered as one of the main elements of the Single Window mechanism, and in this context the thesis is expressed about the need to develop a strategy (concept) for the development of electronic, digital customs as a necessary element of the national Single Window mechanism; for the development of electronic (digital) customs it is necessary to use international standards and best practices.
  6. The expert community with the coordinating role of the EEC customs block has formulated scientific and practical recommendations for creating an electronic (digital) customs institute. Among them are:
  • to define the concepts (terms) of “electronic customs”, “digital customs”, “electronic customs declaring”, “electronic payments”, “data element”, “electronic message”, “information” in the Glossary of terms;
  • to prepare proposals for fixing the concept of “electronic / digital customs” in the law of the EEU (for the implementation of the Guidelines);
  • to develop a strategy (concept) for the development of electronic (digital) customs, as well as identify the main elements of electronic (digital) customs ”;
  • to ensure the involvement of scientific and business circles in developing a strategy for the development of “electronic / digital” customs.
  1. The concepts (terms) of “digital customs”, “electronic customs” are not used in the Action Plan for the implementation of the Guidelines for the development of the “single window” mechanism in the foreign economic activity regulation system.
  2. At the regulatory level of the EEU, for the first time, the concept (term) of “electronic customs” is mentioned in the decision of the EEC Board of December 22, 2015 № 171 [21], as well as subsequent decisions of the Commission of September 28, 2015 № 123 [14], № 124 [13]:
  • within the framework of priority procedures for the unification of the interaction of interested parties with government bodies and (or) authorized organizations of the Member States of the Union within the framework of the functioning of the national Single Window mechanisms. For this case “electronic customs” in development of the Union’s law to create a “single window”

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mechanism, is associated with such legal institutions as the institute of classification of goods, determination of the country of origin of goods, customs carrier, authorized economic operator, customs declaring, release of goods, customs transit, customs payments.

  • in the framework of the Organizational Structure of the mechanism ensuring the implementation of the Action Plan for the implementation of the Main Directions, a list of activities in the direction of “customs (on electronic customs)” has been highlighted for the thematic blocks. For this case, “electronic customs”, in our opinion, takes the shape of a complex tool (legal phenomenon, element, system, mechanism), which is identified with the provision of services in the field of customs regulation, the implementation of business processes, interagency information interaction of regulatory authorities, organizations of the Member States of the Union, integrated management of the customs border of the Union, electronic declaring, automatic registration of the customs declaration and automatic release of the goods. In other words, the scope, functionality and relationships of this tool with other systems and legal institutions are manifested.
  • within the framework of the Methodology for assessing the state (level) of development of national Single Window mechanisms and the logical chain — (1) analysis of the technological basis for the development of the national Single Window mechanism in the Member States — (2) business processes (customs operations) — (3) electronic customs. There the business processes (customs operations) are related to the “electronic customs” group, such as determining the classification code of the goods according to the EEU Commodity Nomenclature; obtaining a certificate of the country of origin of goods; interaction with the customs broker; customs operations preceding the filing of the customs declaration, customs declaring, etc.
  1. Electronic customs, as a legal tool in a legal context, is identified, first of all, with customs regulation (administration), and only then with other areas defined by the EEU Treaty and international treaties within the Union, for example, domestic markets, informatization, information and communication technologies. Accordingly, the concept, methodology, scientific and methodological apparatus as a whole, instruments for legal regulation of legal relations with the participation of customs authorities and foreign economic activity participants as part of the development of the electronic (digital) customs institute are to be developed by the EEC customs block.
  2. In 2015, the EEU created the Organizational Structure of the mechanism that ensures the implementation of the Action Plan for the implementation of the guidelines for the development of the Single Window mechanism in the foreign economic activity regulation system [13]. The structure of the supranational segment of the governance mechanism includes: the EEC Council; ECE Board; Working Group on the implementation of the Action Plan; expert groups. The working group consists of the Coordination Council of the Working Group and the thematic blocks of the working group.
  3. In our opinion, in the absence at the regulatory (Union law), conceptual, scientific levels of understanding of electronic customs as a whole, as a complex legal phenomenon (tool, mechanism, etc.), it is premature the talk about the implementation of its basic elements in the basic regulatory act — EEU Customs Code.

OTHER PUBLICATIONS

LIST OF SOURCED USED

  1. Protocol of the 3rd meeting of the Expert group on the preparation of the draft document «On the development of approaches to the formation of digital customs» (within the framework of the Thematic Block «Electronic Customs» of the Working Group on the Implementation of the Action Plan for the implementation of the Guidelines for the development of the «Single Window» mechanism in the system regulation of foreign economic activity) of August 7, 2019. № 18-53 / пр of August 15, 2019 / EEC Archive.
  2. Mozer Sergei. Digital Customs. WCO Experience: monograph /S.V. Mozer. Moscow: Publishing House of the Russian Customs Academy, 2019.266 pages. URL: http://customs-academy.net/?p=12388
  3. Moser S.V. Reports, scientific publications, projects. URL: http://customs-academy.net/?p=3817
  4. Information on the organization of the international conference on topical issues of the development of electronic declaration within the framework of the «Single Window» mechanism of September 2, 2016. On item 4 of the Agenda of the 2nd meeting of the Thematic Block «Electronic Customs» of the Working Group on the Implementation of the Action Plan for Implementation the Main directions of the development of the «Single Window» mechanism in the system of regulating foreign economic activity // EEC Archive.
  5. «International conference» Electronic declaring — the basis of electronic customs, a look from the present to the future» // EEU Legal Information Portal. URL: http://www.eurasiancommission.org/en/act/tam_sotr/edinoe_okno/Pages/intconfecustoms.aspx (date of access 02.02.2019).
  6. Recommendations of the International Conference «Electronic declaring — the basis of electronic customs: a look from the present to the future» (Moscow, November 28-29, 2016) // EEU Information and Legal Portal. URL:

http://www.eurasiancommission.org/en/act/tam_sotr/edinoe_okno/Documents/EDConf/Recommendations%20conferences/docx (date of access: 04.02.2019).

  1. Information on the conceptual approaches and reasons for the transition to digital customs dated March 27, 2017. On item 4 of the Agenda of the 4th meeting of the «Electronic Customs» Thematic block of the Working Group on the Implementation of the Action Plan for the Implementation of the Guidelines for the Development of the «Single Window» Mechanism in the system of regulation of foreign economic activity // EEC Archive.
  2. Decision of the Council of the Eurasian Economic Commission dated April 28, 2014 № 23 «On the draft decision of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council «On the Main Directions for the Development of the «Single Window» Mechanism in the System of Regulation of Foreign Economic Activity»// Alta-soft. URL: https://www.alta.ru/tamdoc/14sr0023/ (date of access: 02/04/2019).
  3. Collection of normative legal acts for 2014 — 2015 on the introduction and development of the «Single Window» mechanism in the Member States of the Eurasian Economic Union — M.: Eurasian Economic Commission, 2015. URL: http://www.eurasiancommission.org/ru/act/tam_sotr/edinoe_okno/Documents/Сборник%20НПА%202014-2015_Итоговый%20вариант.pdf (date of access: February 4, 2019).
  4. Decision of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission «On the Working Group on the preparation of an Action Plan for the implementation of the Guidelines for the development of the «Single Window» mechanism in the system of regulating foreign economic activity» dated July 18, 2014 № 123 // Electronic Foundation «Code». URL: http://docs.cntd.ru/document/420208538 (date of access: 02/04/2019).
  5. Decision of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council of May 8, 2015 № 19 «On the Plan of measures for the implementation of the Guidelines for the development of the «Single Window» mechanism in the system of regulating foreign economic activity» // Alta-soft. URL: https://www.alta.ru/tamdoc/15vr0019/ (date of access: 02/04/2019).

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  1. On reference model, see Sekerbaeva D.K., Mozer S.V. Prospects for the development of the national «single-window» mechanism in the Member States of the Eurasian Economic Union at the present stage // Academic Bulletin of the Rostov Branch of the Russian Customs Academy № 3 (28), 2017. — P.15-27. URL: http://customs-academy.net/?p=11223 (date of access: 02/04/2019).
  2. Decision of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission dated September 28, 2015 № 124 «On the organizational structure of the mechanism ensuring the implementation of the Action Plan for the implementation of the Basic directions for the development of the «Single Window» mechanism in the system of regulating foreign economic activity» // Alta-soft. URL: https://www.alta.ru/tamdoc/15kr0124/ (date of access: 02/05/2019).
  3. Decision of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission of September 28, 2015 № 123 «On the Methodology for assessing the state of development of national mechanisms of the «Single Window» // Alta-soft. URL: https://www.alta.ru/tamdoc/15kr0123/ (date of access: 02/05/2019).
  4. The Regulation on the organizational structure of the mechanism ensuring the implementation of the Action Plan for the implementation of the Basic directions for the development of the «Single Window» mechanism in the system of regulation of foreign economic activity. Approved by the Decision of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission dated September 28, 2015 № 124 «On the organizational structure of the mechanism ensuring the implementation of the Action Plan for the implementation of the guidelines for the development of the «Single Window» mechanism in the system of regulating foreign economic activity» // Alta-soft. URL: https://www.alta.ru/tamdoc/15kr0124/ (date of access: 02/05/2019).
  5. Decision of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council dated May 29, 2014 № 68 «On the Main Directions for the Development of the Single Window Mechanism in the System of Regulation of Foreign Economic Activity» // Alta-soft. URL: https://www.alta.ru/tamdoc/14vr0068/ (date of access: 02/05/2019).
  6. Electronic Customs. The list of works for the Thematic Blocks of the Working Group on the Implementation of the Action Plan for the implementation of the Guidelines for the development of the «Single Window» mechanism in the system of regulation of foreign economic activity». An appendix to the Regulation on the organizational structure of the mechanism ensuring the implementation of the Action Plan for the implementation of the Guidelines for the development of the «Single Window» mechanism in the system of regulating foreign economic activity. Approved by the Decision of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission dated September 28, 2015 № 124 «On the organizational structure of the mechanism ensuring the implementation of the Action Plan for the implementation of the guidelines for the development of the Single Window mechanism in the system of regulating foreign economic activity» // Alta-soft. URL: https://www.alta.ru/tamdoc/15kr0124/ (date of access: 02/05/2019).
  7. The Treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union (Astana, May 29, 2014) (as amended by the Agreements of 10/10/2014, of December 23, 2014 (as amended on April 11, 2017), and the Protocol of May 8, 2015) // Alta-soft. URL: https://www.alta.ru/tamdoc/14bn0044/ (date of access: 02/05/2019).
  8. Methodology for assessing the state of development of national «Single Window» mechanisms. Approved by the Decision of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission of September 28, 2015 № 123 «On the Methodology for assessing the state of development of national mechanisms of the Single Window» // Alta-soft. URL: https://www.alta.ru/tamdoc/15kr0123/ (date of access: 02/06/2019).
  9. Sekerbaeva D.K., Mozer S.V. Prospects for the development of the national «single-window» mechanism in the Member States of the Eurasian Economic Union at the present stage // Academic Bulletin of the Rostov Branch of the Russian Customs Academy № 3 (28), 2017. — P.15-27. URL: http://customs-academy.net/?p=11223 (date of access: 02/06/2019).
  10. Decision of the Eurasian Economic Commission of December 22, 2015 № 171 «On the list of priority procedures for the unification of interaction of interested parties with government bodies and (or) authorized organizations of the Member States of the Eurasian Economic Union within the framework of the functioning of the national «Single Window» mechanisms // Tekhekspert . Electronic fund of legal and regulatory technical documentation. URL http://docs.cntd.ru/document/420325994 (date of access: 02.23.2019).
  11. Decision of the Council of the Eurasian Economic Commission dated February 4, 2015 № 4 «On the detailed plan for 2015 on the implementation of the Action Plan for the implementation of the Basic directions for the development of the Single Window mechanism in the system of regulating foreign economic activity» // Alta-soft. URL: https://www.alta.ru/tamdoc/15sr0004/ (date of access: 02/06/2019).
  12. Reference to Agenda item 33 of the 47th meeting of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission dated December 22, 2015 «On the list of priority procedures for the interaction of interested parties with state bodies and (or) authorized organizations of the Member States of the Eurasian Economic Union in the framework of the functioning of national mechanisms «Single Window» // EEС Archive.
  13. Decision of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council of December 23, 2014 № 98 «On the regulations of the Eurasian Economic Commission» (as amended by the decisions of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council of October 16, 2015 № 21, dated October 16, 2015 № 22, dated May 31, 2016 № 4, dated 12/26/2016 № 27, dated April 14, 2017 № 8, dated April 14, 2017 № 9, dated October 11, 2017 № 16, dated December 6, 2018 № 20) // Alta-soft. URL: https://www.alta.ru/tamdoc/14vr0098/ (date of access: 02/06/2019).