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The Import Provisions and Certification in Russian Federation

Britta Struve
Attorneys of Kramer & Partner
Consultancy Partner of SLC Group

Prior to undertaking the Russian business, at least it is necessary to know the basic terms of importation for commercial purposes. Without knowledge in this field the problems can be expected. In any case you should not rely on your Russian partner will already know the regulations concerning the specific product. The German businessman often deals with companies realizing the foreign trade for the first time and therefore they are not well acquainted with the customs and import regulations.

Import declaration in Russia
Russia, similarly as all other important trading nationalities, is the contracting partner in international agreement on harmonized system on marking and coding of the goods (so called HS-agreement).

The annex to this agreement includes the list of the goods, where all articles with given commodity code are registered. Russia has assumed the customs-tariff and statistic nomenclature of the European Community with division up to 8 parts.

Each customs declaration must include this HS-code! Practically it means that the 6-digits code in the export declaration must conform with that one in the customs declaration. In case that HS-code is unknown, in mostly cases it can be required at the Federal Foreign Trade Agency.

Prior to goods´ delivery to Russia, this must be first exported from Germany. Due to this reason the observing of formalities is mandatory in order to receive the proper export document, which in vice versa can serve as a document for return tax exemption for the exported goods. The procedure for export of goods is bound with certain form, the obligatory use of a form is preferred. This form is called an "uniform document" and can be get at the bookshop, or at the local customs office. Questions related with filling-in the form will be responded by appropriate customs office. A special manual (leaflet with instructions) exists for the "uniform document" and is issued by Federal Department of the Exchequer, which can be found at the internet address

The customs office for export is basically that one, within the authority of which the exporter has its residence and the company registered office. The import customs office verifies the export application and realizes the preliminary clearance; here the export license must be eventually presented as well. A copy of "standardized document" designed for export will return back sealed to the manufacturer, or to the exporter. This sealed copy serves as an evidence to turnover tax-exemption and can be applied for at the local financial (tax) office. The goods to be exported, after passing through preliminary clearance at the export customs office, are presented to the exit customs office. The exit customs office is the border customs office, thus in this case it is the German border customs office in Frankfurt an der Oder.

Import of the Goods in Russia

a) Import duty:
see the following chapter

b) Incidental import dues

Dues paid for the customs clearance: The customs due for clearance amounts basically 0.15 per cent of the customs duty value. The exemptions are regulated by the Regulation No. 1010 issued by the Customs Commission of the Russian Federation from November 9, 2000. You can request the translation of this Regulation at the Federal Foreign Trade Office.
Consumption tax: Certain commodities in Russia are mandatory taxed with the consumption tax; this applies especially to the commodities of a foodstuff group, i.e. the chapter 1-24 of Customs tariff, but also other commodity groups, among others the alcoholic beverages and tobacco products, paints and cosmetics, etc.

Import turnover tax: Besides this, the import turnover tax matures, the common rate amounts 20 per cent of the goods value. The decreased duty of 10 per cent applies for certain commodities. Besides this, there exists the Regulation of Customs Commission containing the list of goods exempted of income tax and the conditions, which the income tax exemption underlies to. The 10 per cent decreased tax rate applies especially for the foodstuffs and the commodities made for children. Many technical commodities, which are imported to Russian as the investment capital, and the certain medicine-technical products and medicaments are exempted from payment the income tax.

c) Restrictions and Limitations in Commodity Business
Through Border to Russia
The principal import restrictions for the commodities do not exist in Russian legislation.
However, Russia signed more international agreements, which include the import bans. The terminable import ban applies currently the beef; momentary only the beef without bones is allowed to be imported; similarly as the customs legislation is in the phase of adaptation, also the Russian import legislation does, and in the course of certain period it will be accommodated to the international standards.

d) Certification

Approximately 80 per cent of all commodities in Russia underlie to the certification obligation. Products imported to Russia must comply with the vested minimum requirements for safety of products, as well as with certain standard and technical demands, technical regulations and other regulations, e.g. GOST-STANDARDS, SNIT-BUILDING STANDARDS, etc.).
in the Russia Federation currently there are 90 various systems of mandatory certification within various commodities.

GOST-R Certification
Only those commodities, which dispose with the GOST-R conformity certificate, can be put in circulation in Russia. This applies all commodities, which were indicated as the mandatory certified products or services by the valid nomenclature. The list of commodities with valid certification includes all commodity groups important for export to Russia, among others:

  • Engineering products
  • Electro-technical products
  • Electronics and scientific devices
  • Measuring technique and the measuring accuracy instruments
  • Medicine technique, medicine products and medicaments
  • Agriculture products and foodstuffs
  • Products of light industry
  • Clothes/dressing, shoes, toys, etc.
  • Raw materials and materials
  • Products of woodworking industry
  • Furniture
  • Personal protection means
  • Package made of various materials
  • Explosive products
  • Veterinary-biological preparations and products

In each case, one should verify prior exporting to Russian, whether the product in question underlies the certification obligation. You should address regarding this issue the Russian purchasers unconditionally and at least at a moment of signature of contract, since neither the Russian party knows all regulations regarding the obligation to realize the certification. For many companies, which especially deal with imported goods for the first time, this procedure is not obvious.

The mandatory certification can be realized exclusively at the accredited certification places of GOST-Standart Russia. Through GOST-Standart Russia there is more than 900 certification places in Russia and 2000 testing labs. For export commodity a possibility exist, to let the mandatory certification GOST-R to be done at the foreign certification place. The certification places of DIN GOST TÜV Berlin Brandenburg GmbH in Berlin and SGS Control in Hamburg are available for this purpose in Germany.
In compliance with Russian requirements given onto the certified products, these are marked with the GOST-R symbol. The certification follows after the one of total ten possible procedures, e.g., the electronic or electrotechnical products are allowed to be certified only in terms of being verified by accredited testing labs of GOST-Standart Russia. The Russian certification system simultaneously uses its own procedures, which can differ from those, which are obvious in EU.
The confirmation, or the proof of conformity, together with the Russian safety and technical requirements, represents a reason of commercial purpose and a marketing for all certified goods. The GOST certification obligation refers to a concrete product and does not depend on the country of the origin/manufacture, this it applies both to the Russian and the imported products. The imported products must be accompanied with appropriate document at a moment of their delivery to the Russian market, in principle at the Russian customs office. In case of products, that underlie the certification obligation, the customs clearance can be realized only upon presenting the respective certificate. The missing or incorrect certificates are very often a reason in praxis, that goods remain endless long at the customs office loaded with appropriate fees.

The GOST-certification allows also the concrete single deliveries to Russia. In this case the certificate is valid only for articles listed in the delivery note. The certificates exist for the given manufacturer of certain products with the validity up to three years. A condition hereto is the yearly supervision of the certification lab over the manufacturer. In addition to this, the certificates exist also for serial production. Each delivery to Russia must be accompanied with a copy of certificate.

Hygienic Certificate
A condition to receive the GOST certificate for some products represents the Hygienic Certificate issued by Russian Department of Health. The hygienic certificate confirms the observing of the hygienic regulations specified in Russia. The corresponding certificate is required especially for products, that come in contact with people, in addition to this, for:

  • - Foodstuffs and food adjuncts
  • - Textiles and garments
  • - Toys
  • - Dishes
  • - Machines and technical equipment for food production
  • - Chemicals for household
  • - Cosmetics
  • The Hygienic Certificates are generally issued by certification labs. The certificate can be valid up to 5 years. For some products the law specifies, that the hygienic certificate can be issued only upon verification by the specific testing labs assigned for this purpose by the Russian Ministry of Health. This applies, in addition to this, for:
  • - Food for babies and sucklings
  • - Biologically active additives
  • - Additional means of food
  • - Suckling clothes
  • - Products for mouth hygiene

The medical products must be registered at the Russian Ministry of Health. Without being registered no GOST registration is allowed to be issued.

For new foodstuffs and products, which are imported to the Russian Federation for the first time, as well as for the technical equipment designed for water supply, disinfection agents and chemicals for households there is a similar obligation to be registered at the Ministry of Health.
The above mentioned testing labs in Germany can also assist in providing the necessary certificates and documents.

The Fire-Fighting Certificates
In addition to the GOST Certificate, certain products must also dispose another certificate, which confirms the observation of Russian regulations on fire-fighting protection. The certification for such goods can be issued only at the special accredited testing labs. The ignition and combustibility class is specified thereto according to the Russian nomenclature. The products with mandatory certification are among others:

  • - Equipment for fire-fighting protection and fire brigade
  • - Technical materials
  • - Insulation materials
  • - Plastics
  • - Building products
  • - Electrotechnical products, e.g. cables

Many technical products, in addition to the GOST-certificate, require also the permit to open the operation in Russia. This applies mainly the machines, technical equipment and all types of industrial facilities, pressure tanks, technical equipment and appliances for chemical, oil and gas industry, equipment for mining, equipment protected against explosion and their technical accessories, etc.. In case of imported products the registration can be realized only at the Office GOSGORTECHNADSOR in Moscow. First, the expert for industrial safety from accredited Organization of Experts. The Russian safety demands differ in various points from the German or European ones. Due to this reason, the equipment tested in TÜV is not operationable for Russia! Especiallyy in case of export of technology accessories and equipments must be clear prior to concluding the contract, whether the given equipment can receive the permit for operation in Russia. The relevant questions are answered in Germany e.g. by TÜV Rhineland, Berlin-Brandenburg, or the company DIN GOST TÜV GmbH in Berlin.

Further Import Provisions
For some goods the license of Department of Commerce must be presented in case of import. This applies e.g. to energy, raw materials, ammunition, medicaments, narcotics/drugs and precious metals.
The Russian customs offices will proceed entirely according to a form design. Only persons with permanent address in Russia, the natural persons or legal entities can submit the customs declaration in Russia. Numerous so called customs agencies tender for this purpose their services to customs clearance in Russia. The required documents for customs clearance are the following


  1. Commercial invoice (two copies)
  2. Certificates of origin
  3. Packing lists/consignments / (five copies)
  4. Certificates
  5. or the Certificate of hygiene, Permit for operation, Certificate of Fire Protection
    For goods, which spend only limited time on the territory of Russia, e.g. the sample for measuring or the special technical equipment for concrete use in Russia, a different procedure of customs clearance applies. The import of these requires a certain document, so called Carnet-ATA. This one can be required at the Industrial and Commerce Chamber. In Russia there is one curiosity in this case, namely that the goods must be accompanied by the person expressly mentioned in Carnet-ATA.

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