The Russian practice of Berwin Leighton Paisner
(BLP), an award-winning international law firm
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Customs and International Trade

What others say about us..

Highly regarded team that is particularly strong in customs disputes.

Chambers Europe 2016

Major agroindustrial corporation: Arranged for import into Russia of industrial equipment required for expanding the company’s business. The project covers drafting of international trade contracts, negotiations on contractual terms and conditions and control over compliance with the customs legislation rules during transport of the equipment. Conducted an expert review of compliance by accompanying documents with international trade contracts and the customs legislation. The project has also involved contacting and communicating with carriers, customs representatives, suppliers and the buyer in relation to practical aspects of equipment import.

Represented VTS Group in a dispute against the Russian Customs over the customs classification of the ventilation equipment and illegal fiscal claims against the client filed thereby. Our actions made the Customs return to our client the funds they had recovered earlier and accept the client’s position regarding classification of the equipment.

Represented famous world domestic appliances manufacturer in arranging supplies of domestic appliances to a branch of the foreign company in Russia. The project covered coordination of the shipper, the carrier and the customs representative during importation and customs clearance of the domestic appliances, control over drafting of transport and commercial documents for shipment and customs purposes, and assistance in obtaining compliance declarations. The project also involved negotiations with the Customs to have the branch of the foreign company approved as goods declarant and the customs value of imported goods confirmed for the purpose of goods being supplied between related parties.

Advised and acted for John Deere, Case New Holland within the scope of a special safeguard investigation conducted by the Eurasian Economic Commission in order to impose safeguard measures with respect to harvester-threshers imported into Russia.

Advised Dell on customs classification of computer monitors. During the impact assessment, a GBLP lawyers prepared a comment on the draft corpus of clarifications on classification of goods developed by the Federal Customs Service. Subsequently, our comment was attached to the opinion by the Ministry for Economic Development on assessment of the impact on the draft document prepared by the Federal Customs Service. In particular, the Ministry for Economic Development advised the Federal Customs Service to take it into account in subsequent work on the corpus of clarifications on classification of goods.

Advised Nokia Siemens and Networks and Huawei on structuring cross-border and domestic transactions and supply of telecommunications equipment and software to ensure compliance with the customs and tax regimes. During the customs audit, Huawei proved that the cost of telecommunications software is not included in the customs value provided that certain conditions are met.

Development of a legal framework for a leading German technologies and services company to allow transit / resale operations into Kazakhstan through Russia.

Advised Elopak on eliminating risks associated with the possibility of the country of origin of goods being challenged.

Advised L’Oreal on techniques for adding royalties and assists (due to a related party) to the customs value of imported goods (the amount of royalties is not known at the time of importation).

Acted for LG Electronics in disputes over the tariff classification of washing machine parts and charging of extra customs duty and VAT. As a result, our lawyers managed to prove that the Customs’ claims were unlawful.

LG Electronics: Reclaiming overpaid customs duties when the document qualifying for the 0% duty rate was obtained after the goods had been imported.

Won Kimberly Clark's litigation over classification of industrial equipment. To formulate a legal position, we embraced US case law: proceedings challenging customs authority classification of similar equipment were held in a US state.  American colleagues' arguments, together with our experience and knowledge, allowed us to win this challenging case and have the overcharged customs payments, use-of-money interest and some of the expenses on representatives returned by the customs. 

Advised 20th Century Fox on customs clearance and customs valuation of goods incorporating intellectual property. Represented the Company in courts to challenge the Customs’ actions. 

Advising a number of major companies, including Alcoa, Barilla, Guardian, and Mars, on importing equipment as an in-kind contribution to charter capital, providing legal support with respect to customs clearance of imported goods and assisting with preparation of the requisite documents for obtaining customs duty and VAT exemptions.

Representing the interests of William Grant and Sons Limited on matters relating to inclusion of its trade marks in the Customs Register of IP assets and liaising with the customs authorities in order to terminate imports of counterfeit goods.

Successful assistance to Shell in the course of its corporate reorganisation in Russia: the task was to ensure uninterrupted imports of various petroleum products to Russia in spite of a series of compliance issues related to the company’s organisational form.   

Full legal support for projects involving signing of investment agreements on supplies to the Russian Federation of vehicle parts for industrial assembly covered by the Russian legislation envisaging exemption from or reduced customs duties. The Agreements were signed between Mitsubishi Motors and Nissan Motor and the Ministry for Economic Development of the Russian Federation.

Representing the interests of a major Russian gas company in litigation with the customs authorities over correct determination of the customs value for sale of goods to an affiliated entity at below cost price. All court rulings were in favour of the company

Advising and representing the interests of major multinational agricultural equipment manufacturers within the framework of a special protection investigation conducted by the Ministry for Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation for the purpose of introducing special protective duties on grain combine harvesters imported into Russia.

Representing a leading European food manufacturer before the customs and judicial bodies in its appeals against actions by the customs authorities in direct debiting of customs payments.

Advised Mars  on the customs and exchange aspects of determining customs value, gaining benefits on customs payments and classifying goods and obtaining a WCO goods classification opinion for the Company.

Successful litigation by a subdivision of a leading multinational oil services company against customs authority decisions on classifying goods and upwardly assessing customs payments; the court ruling on this case constituted a precedent for many foreign trade companies importing similar goods.

Successful litigation in the interests of a number of major multinational companies from various  industries appealing against decisions and actions of state authorities: customs authority classifications of goods, decisions on levying customs payments and on imposing administrative liability.

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Vladimir Tchikine
Partner, Customs and International Trade
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