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    NEW CUSTOMS CODE COMES INTO EFFECT IN RUSSIA FROM JANUARY 1

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    MOSCOW, January 1, 2004. /RIA Novosti correspondent/. From January 1, a new Customs Code becomes effective in Russia.

    The code contains 439 articles. They clearly define the rights and duties of customs authorities and also the rights and duties of parties to foreign economic activity.

    The principal distinction of the new Code is that it is a law of direct effect, which reduces the administrative press on entrepreneurs, makes customs rules transparent and predictable, and simplifies and speeds up the procedure for goods clearance. "This alters the character of relations between customs and business, and offers extensive possibilities for effective appeal against steps of the State Customs Committee," noted its head Mikhail Vanin when the Code was discussed in the Federation Council.

    He also remarked that the new Code is one of the basic documents Russia needs to join the WTO. It is entirely based on internationally recognised standards.

    "It is safe to say that with the new wording of the Code we have approached or joined the first ten nations that have more advanced and more civilised, transparent and trade-oriented customs legislation," Vanin said.

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