New regulations governing importation of Ukrainian goods to Russia took effect on November 12. The State Border Guard Service of Ukraine announced that the change was a result of the Russian customs service’s introduction of new Customs Union regulations. “Previously, such changes came into effect at checkpoints on the border between Russia and Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Under the new regulations, carriers will be required to provide certificates for entering the territory of the Russian Federation to have their cargoes and vehicles cleared at checkpoints,” the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine explained. Let us recall that these changes to transit regulations took effect on October 28 and have already led to some inconveniences. A lot of trucks accumulated at border checkpoints in Donetsk and Luhansk regions in early November, because many of them could not enter the territory of the Russian Federation.
Because of the Russian pressure, Ukraine’s trade with one of its largest partners has fallen by 25 percent. Will there be a further fall as we face changes to transit regulations? The Day asked the president of the Ukrainian Carriers’ Association, MP Ihor Shkiria:
“It is necessary to divide my answer into two parts. If Russia wants to remake or improve their border crossing procedures and those for transit of goods through its territory, it is indeed necessary for us to sort it out, look into it, debate and find common ground. But if their real objective is to follow up on their previous efforts by complicating border crossing for Ukrainian goods and carriers, then we have a political issue here. If not for all previous unfriendly actions, the current snags might have been attributed to the reform. But when it comes as yet another of the recent trade developments, we come perforce to suspect it is an unfriendly action. In my opinion, the risks for undisturbed trade between Russia and Ukraine in all fields, not only in transportation, are increasing by the day. Changes in the border crossing regulations could further complicate trade between the two countries. Ukrainian carriers will be the first to get into trouble, and then it will be exporters’ turn. The Ministry of Transport is already dealing with the issue. Sooner or later everything will fall into place, but we need to survive this unfortunate period. Along with these actions, Russia is changing the basis for issuing entry permits to Ukrainian carriers. Therefore, our international truckers will be the first to feel the pain from such border reform. We have no official statistics on the share of international road freight traffic involving Russia in our total. By my rough estimate, it comes to 20 percent.”