Belarus introduces customs restrictions on expensive goods frequently purchased abroad

Belarus introduces customs restrictions on expensive goods frequently purchased abroad

From April 14, new limits on goods purchased abroad were introduced in Belarus. Our correspondents decided to make an experiment to find out all the peculiarities of the innovation. Alexandra Kulakova continues the topic.

Alexandra Kulakova, correspondent: 
Belarusians often go abroad for shopping. Starting from 14 April, some restrictions were imposed on the import of goods. So what difficulties will shopaholics face?
In the first weekend after the innovations, we go to the border to find out all the details.

Alexandra Kulakova, correspondent: 
I read on the Internet that people were going to declare even their personal belongings, including jeans and T-shirts! Should this be done?

Vladimir Popylin, deputy head of Oshmiany customs:
No, people don't need to do it. We are talking only about expensive things. Items should be declared if their total cost equals or exceeds 1,500 euros.

Alexandra Kulakova, correspondent:
Well, in general, a laptop and a phone already make up this sum.

Vladimir Popylin, deputy head of Oshmiany customs:
Yes. If you cross the border at most once in three months, you are required to declare the goods with a total value exceeding 1,500 euros and weighing more than 50 kilograms. If you cross the border more often than once every three months, then you must declare goods which total value exceeds 300 euros and weigh is more than 20 kilograms.

These are the key thresholds. If you exceed them, you need to pay extra. This applies to both import and export. Therefore, we declare the laptop and the phone. After all, if there are no supporting papers or checks on the way back, the customs officers have every reason to ask you to clear the goods.

Vladimir Popylin, deputy head of Oshmiany customs:
If there are no supporting documents, of course, goods will be considered as those purchased abroad. So, you need any document confirming that this laptop was earlier exported from Belarus.

Under the new rules, you can bring home without a fee goods from Europe once every three months; their total weight must not exceed 50 kilograms or they must be worth 1,500 euros or less. The second crossing of the border means new limits are introduced: 300 euros and 20 kilograms.

Alexandra Kulakova, correspondent: 
It turns out that the most important criterion is not the amount that you spend shopping abroad but the frequency of border crossing.

The more you travel, the less you can bring. Once every two months, you can bring three things of ten kinds, each weighing ten kilograms. And if you visit the European Union every day, you cannot import anything new. The counting of visits began on April 14. 

These rules do not apply to air travel and goods from the countries of the Eurasian Union.

You can use your 1,500 euro limit once every three months. But this does not mean that you can bring, for example, an expensive TV every three months. Appliances, electronics, plumbing, baby carriages, vacuum cleaners and so on can be imported only once every three years.

The fee for exceeding the limit is as follows: 30% of the value exceeding the limit, 4 euros per kilo plus 5 euros for customs duty.

Each product has its own individual account. Border officers will help you summarize it all. For example, a TV set costs 305 euros. You will have to pay about 140 euros for customs clearance. So your purchase will set you back 445 euros.

Vladimir Popylin, deputy head of Oshmiany customs:
Passengers crossing the border need to know one thing first of all: if they do it more than once every three months, and the goods that they import exceed the limit of 300 euros and 20 kilograms, then they need to declare in a general manner those goods that exceed this limit and are not related to goods for personal use. Thus, a person needs to file a goods declaration and, accordingly, these goods will be subject to payment at rates as if it were goods imported in line with foreign economic activity.

Restrictions will also affect lovers of foreign shopping on the Internet. Belarusians will be able to get duty-free only parcels for personal use which are worth no more than 22 euros per month and weigh no more than 10 kilograms. Previously, the limit was 200 euros and 31 kg.

Alexandra Kulakova, correspondent:
Customs officials claim that Belarusians will not feel any effect from the innovations. But still they recommend declaring your own expensive things at the border. And by the way: plan your overseas shopping at least three months in advance!