On February 25, deputy Minister of Finance Olena Makeieva attended a Round Table on the implementation of authorized economic operators in Ukraine.
The purpose of the Round Table was to discuss the draft law elaborated by the Ministry of Finance jointly with an expert group. The meeting was attended by representatives of the US Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine, the European Business Association and EasyBusiness who participated in the elaboration of the draft law. Representatives of the Employers’ Association of Ukraine, representatives of the public and media attended as well.
During the meeting, deputy Minister of Finance Olena Makeieva presented the concept of the authorized economic operators, the key points of the draft Law "On amendments to the Customs Code of Ukraine (on authorized economic operators and simplification of customs clearance procedures)” and replied the questions of the business community and all interested parties.
According to Olena Makeieva, the Ministry of Finance is working to adjust the Ukrainian tax and customs regulations to the requirements of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement between Ukraine and the EU (EUDCFTA). The above draft Law was elaborated with this purpose as a counterpart of the respective EU legislation which serves as a basis for customs cooperation between Ukraine and the EU.
«The implementation of authorized economic operators in Ukraine based on internationally acknowledged criteria shall become an effective tool to fight corruption and administrative pressure exerted by customs authorities on business», Olena Makeieva told.
Companies involved in foreign trade activities which should receive the status of authorized economic operators will be subject to preferential customs clearance, simplified customs procedures and exempt from a visual customs examination. Thus, certificates of authorized economic operators will help significantly reduce time consumption at the customs and minimize the human factor during customs clearance. The implementation of authorized economic operators is also expected to stimulate European companies to enter the Ukrainian market and to boost trade.
The deputy Minister of Finance also informed that the draft Law on authorized economic operators is now being adjusted to the proposals of experts, business and citizens. Afterwards it will be presented for additional public discussions with all interested parties.
Tetyana Palamarchuk, partner of the NGO «Easy Business», pointed out that "the draft Law on authorized economic operators is based on European regulations. The implementation of this draft Law will significantly contribute to the competitiveness of Ukrainian business and the Ukrainian economy".
"The adoption of the draft Law is the first step to adjust the Ukrainian customs regulations to international practices. Companies with the status of an authorized economic operators will have an opportunity to keep pace in competition with the European business", Igor Muratov, deputy department director of the Employers’ Association of Ukraine and expert of the NGO «Easy Business», said. - "Simplified customs procedures will pose an advantage not only for business, but also for the customs authorities, since they will have more possibilities to analyze consignments with a high level of risks".
Igor Danykov, representative of the company EY and co-chairman of the Committee of the US Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine for customs policy, emphasized that the draft Law contains regulations meant to simplify customs procedures for all companies involved in foreign trade due to the proposed automated customs checks and examination after the customs release.
"The implementation of authorized customs operators will improve standards for business activities", Oxana Drozach, representative of the company PwC and co-chairman of the Committee of the US Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine for customs policy, said. «The draft Law will be obliging authorized economic operators to select reliable partners, which will help to improve business culture in general», Oxana Drozach continued.
Olexandr Razarev, co-chairman of the customs affairs committee of the European Business Association, expressed his support for the adoption of the draft Law and said that an important section of the draft Law is the mutual acknowledgement of Ukrainian and European certificates of authorized economic operators which shall enable Ukrainian business to become a peer participant of the European market.
German Taslitzky, general manager of the law firm «Pravozakhyst Ukraina» and chairman of the committee for customs affairs of the Public Council at the Minister of Finance, expressed an opinion that the draft Law will create an environment motivating Ukrainian business to pay taxes properly and comply with all foreign trade regulations. «The status of authorized economic operators granting simplified customs procedures and accelerating trade will pose an incentive for Ukrainian companies to improve their reputation, financial performance and to change their internal management standard», he added.
Valeriy Gubarev, customs expert at the Independent Customs Agency, said that the draft Law will in fact become the first effective mechanism launching authorized economic operators. The adoption of the draft Law is obligatory in terms of the Association Agreement with the EU and the Agreement on simplified trade procedures.
«The draft Law is currently being assessed by the European Commission. After the conclusion of the European Commission has been received and necessary amendments have been made, the draft Law will be presented to the Government and Parliament», Olexandr Moskalenko, Deputy Director of the Department for Tax, Customs Policy and Accounting methodology, head of the Department for Customs Policy at the Ministry of Finance, informed.