The Eurasian Economic Commission (the “EEC”) issued a draft decision on July 16, 2013 requiring electronic pre-notification for all goods shipped into the Customs Union (CU) by rail.1 The draft decision2 provides for entry into force of the measure on October 1, 2014; however, the EEC has already initiated public discussion on the measure.3

The draft decision stems from the Agreement “On Presentation and Exchange of Advance Information about Goods and Transportations Conveying across the Customs Frontier of the Customs Union,” which the CU member states signed in Saint Petersburg on May 21, 2010. This Agreement builds on World Customs Organization (WCO) standards4 that recognize and encourage exchange of advance electronic customs information. Based on this Agreement, the EEC introduced in 2011 obligatory pre-notification for goods shipped into the CU by automobile.5

According to the representative of the Russian Federal Customs Service,6 pre-notification reduces the time and cost of customs clearance. At the same time, many shippers note that several problems still exist (e.g., in regard to limits on transliteration usage and information system failures) requiring certain improvements in the procedure. These problems notwithstanding, the EEC plans to extend this procedure for shipping by rail and, reportedly, for shipping by marine and air transport as well. These changes will bring the Customs Union’s regulations in line with global standards that the European Union7 and the United States8 have already implemented for certain cargo.