Since 2014, the development of an effective goods marking system has been one of the priorities of the Russian Government’s policy on Eurasian economic integration. However, a number of unsolved problems in this field still remain today.
In accordance with the Customs Union’s technical regulations, it is compulsory to mark imported goods, including with the Eurasian conformity mark (EAC), before they can be placed for circulation on the single market.
In the past, Russian importers could mark their goods in their warehouses before their sale in Russia. The expression, “placing goods for circulation on the market,” was understood as the sale and purchase or other means of transferring goods within the single customs territory of the Customs Union.
However, following the coming into force of the Treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union and the Protocol on Technical Regulation, the concept of “placing goods for circulation on the market” has been broadened to cover, in addition to sales and purchases, other means of goods transfers, as well as the import of goods into the Eurasian Economic Union.
There is a lack of a common understanding as to the moment when the obligation to mark goods arises. This has, in practice, enabled the Russian customs authorities to equate the expression, “placing goods for circulation on the market” by the manufacturers themselves, their authorised representatives or importers, with the “release of such goods” as stipulated by the customs legislation and carried out by the customs authorities, as well as to require importers to ensure that the goods are marked prior to their importation. Thus, Russian importers are forced to mark their goods abroad, which leads to additional costs. If importers fail to comply with this requirement, they are at risk of facing the authorities’ refusal to release the imported goods and being held administratively liable.
However, international trade market players consider that the customs authorities are not authorised to check compliance with the requirements of the technical regulations relating to the marking of goods. They believe that these actions of the customs authorities are illegal and could be considered a technical barrier to trade with third countries.
The current practice in Russia differs from the approach taken in the European Union, where the “release for free circulation” procedure precedes the “placing on the market” stage.
Despite the fact that Russian importers have, de facto, found themselves in discriminatory conditions in their activities within the single economic space, the contentious points relating to putting goods on the market and their marking have up until now remained unresolved. Business associations and unions are currently actively engaged in a dialogue with the state authorities to solve this problem.