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Business has improved its assessment of the customs sector in Ukraine

Updated: Apr 22

These are the conclusions of the new wave of the Customs Index survey in 2023, conducted by the European Business Association and DHL Express in Ukraine. The integral score of the index has slightly increased to 3.24 points out of 5 possible and is in the neutral range (3.17 points in 2022).

This year, among the index components, customs experts rated the quality of customs services and the professionalism of officials the worst – 2.76 points.

Despite the fact that the majority of respondents (56%) assess the quality of customs services as satisfactory, 25% consider it low, and 6% – very low. The number of respondents who positively assessed the work of customs decreased from 24% in 2022 to 13% in 2023.

The integral assessment of the level of corruption at customs amounted to 3.20 points. The majority of respondents, namely 60%, have not noticed any changes in the level of corruption, while 15% believe that it has decreased somewhat and 12% believe that it has decreased significantly. At the same time, 14% believe that corruption at customs has increased.

Traditionally, the highest score was given to the Single Window system – 3.77 points. The opinions of customs experts are divided: 41% each rate the system’s performance as satisfactory and good. Another 18% rate the interaction of government agencies within the framework of the Single Window very well.

According to the business, the system could be improved by adding the ability to upload certain information to Excel, contact information of officials processing documents and chat/opportunity to communicate with them, uploading letters from the State Customs Service that affect customs procedures, the ability to cancel a customs declaration, etc.

The biggest challenges in customs clearance, as reported by companies, are bureaucracy and additional checks, customs authorities’ rejection of the declared value of goods and its adjustment, corruption pressure, some codification issues, difficulties in interacting with the veterinary service and the State Service of Ukraine for Food Safety and Consumer Protection, and strikes at the border that slow down traffic. It is worth noting that 79% of companies are currently considering alternative logistics routes to bypass Poland due to the border blockade.

Almost half, namely 46% of the companies we surveyed, report problems with customs value adjustments, while last year 37% of respondents stated this. Problems with reclassification of the UKTZED code by the decision of the customs authorities are reported by 27% of respondents (26% last year).

Compared to the previous year, the number of companies planning to obtain the status of AEO (authorized economic operators) or certain simplifications has increased from 66% to the current 71%. At the same time, 14% of our surveyed companies are currently using the joint transit procedure (4% last year), and 4% are using transit simplifications (2% last year). In addition, 10% of the surveyed companies are already applying the Alternative Pan-Euro-Med rules, and another 29% are planning to do so.

"Businesses′ assessment of the work of customs remains neutral. We observe both positive (the work of the Single Window) and negative (the quality of services) dynamics of assessments. In addition, the growing number of cases of customs value adjustments is a cause for concern. At the same time, the level of interest and preparation of companies to obtain AEO status and simplifications has not changed, and the opportunities of common transit and the Alternative Pan-Euro-Med rules have not been fully utilized. The business community has both a demand for deeper automation of customs processes, for example, adding new services to the Single Window, and the need to improve feedback from customs authorities," Natalia Artemchuk, Manager of the EBA Tax and Customs Committees, comments on the survey results.

"The analysis of the survey results makes it possible to identify problem areas that arise in the process of interaction between companies and customs. The problematic issues can be resolved through coordinated and balanced actions of business and government, clear and understandable explanations of customs legislation by customs, open dialogue and application of the best international practices," said Petro Pototskyi, Chief Customs Brokerage Specialist at DHL Express in Ukraine.

For reference:

The Customs Index has been conducted by the European Business Association since 2010.

The integral indicator of the index consists of three components – assessment of the level of corruption, quality of customs services, and the work of the Single Window. The index is measured once a year. A score of 3 is considered neutral, with a maximum score of 5 points.

The survey was conducted in 2023 and involved 52 customs experts from EBA member companies. DHL Express in Ukraine was the partner of the survey in 2023.


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