An agreement between the government of Belarus and the government of the Republic of Turkey on cooperation and mutual administrative assistance in customs affairs was signed in Minsk on November 11. The document was signed by Chairman of the State Customs Committee of Belarus Alexander Shpilevsky and Emin Zararsiz, Undersecretary of Turkish Customs, reported Belta.
The documents regulates the interaction of customs agencies of the two countries in making inquiries and providing the information necessary to detect, prevent and investigate customs offences including original documents and confidential information. The agreement will expand the legal base of the international cooperation in customs issues. In turn, this will help increase the efficiency of the Belarusian customs bodies in implementing their tasks: the protection of economic interests of the state, combating smuggling, international terrorism and organised crime. The document will also help apply effectively the customs tariff, calculate, levy and transfer customs duties to the state budget.
Alexander Shpilevsky said that the agreement is very important for the development of cooperation between the two countries. For the past five years the trade between Belarus and Turkey has quadrupled. Considering the rate of growth in January-September 2008, the trade is projected to reach $330 million in 2008, Alexander Shpilevsky said.
Belarus has been working consistently to advance to the top thirty countries with the best business doing climate. This means better terms of international trade, simpler customs procedures. In this respect Belarus has been improving transit formalities, introducing standards of the World Customs Organization, implementing the programme on creating favourable conditions for transiting goods.
According to Alexander Shpilevsky, the European Union is due to introduce compulsory preliminary notification about the transit of goods in 2009. E-notification about the goods that arrive in the EC will be introduced on January 1, 2009. Preliminary e-declaration will be introduced on July 1.
The Chairman of the State Customs Committee said that Belarus and Turkey are transit countries between Europe and Asia. "We understand that a state cannot counteract smuggling and other trans-border crimes alone. Belarus has been working to expand the international legal base regulating customs cooperation," Alexander Shpilevsky said.
Belarus and Turkey have been facing common threats. First of all, it is illegal drugs turnover. The issue will be considered at a working session of the heads of the subdivisions of the customs services of Belarus and Turkey in Q1 2009.
Undersecretary of Turkish Customs Emin Zararsiz emphasized the importance of the agreement for the development of the bilateral trade. He said Turkey is ready to toughen the fight against the illegal trade.