Russian Customs hosts CIS regional meeting of the Committee on Law Enforcement

01 July 2015

The Federal Customs Service of Russia held the 11th meeting of the Committee of Heads of Law Enforcement Units (CHLEU) of the Council of Heads of National Customs Authorities of Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in Irkutsk, Russia on 25 June 2015. The meeting was attended by the heads of law enforcement departments from Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and by a WCO representative.

The meeting was chaired by Mr. Ruslan Davydov, Deputy Head of the Federal Customs Service of Russia, and it was dedicated to cooperation between the law enforcement units of CIS Customs Administrations in implementing measures to detect, prevent and eliminate smuggling channels and other crime in the Customs domain. A total of 13 major issues were discussed, taking into account emerging threats to economic security and the growing experience in law enforcement cooperation throughout the CIS area.

Currently CHLEU is closely involved in implementation of the Intergovernmental Programme on Joint Measures Against Crime (2014-2018), in addition to programmes on cooperation against terrorism and violent extremism (2014-2016), illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors and drug abuse (2014-2018), human trafficking (2014-2018), as well as an Action Plan for Implementation of the Concept of CIS Member Countries Coordinated Border Policy for 2011-2015.

Mr. Davydov outlined 2014 major achievements as a result of joint international efforts of Customs officers. During the operation "Guard", 104.2 kilograms of drugs were seized. It is planned to involve the Customs services of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Germany, Finland, China and Japan in operations under the "Guard" framework in 2015. Special attention was paid on suppression of illicit channels of smuggling new psychoactive substances (NPS) through post, air passengers, rail, road and sea routes.

Customs special operations "Leopard" and "Ice" were aimed at the detection and suppression of illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and precursors, currency, tobacco, arms, ammunition, explosives and intellectual property goods. As a result, during the operation "Leopard" more than 250 kg of narcotics, about 40 weapons, and 70 kg of tobacco products were seized from illicit trafficking, and about 2 million US dollars were detained. During the operation "Ice" about 170 kg of drugs, 1,500 weapons and their parts, several consignments of intellectual property goods, as well as significant amounts of cash currency and tobacco products were seized from illegal trafficking.

Issues of combating violations of customs legislation within cross-border e-commerce were also a focus of the meeting. Since 2010, the growth of e-commerce market in Russia is about 30% per year. At the end of 2014, the domestic Internet market (electronics, domestic appliances) was estimated at 683 billion roubles. Most of the forecasts (moderate scenario) suggest growth in the Russian e-commerce market of 7% (currently 2%) of total retail, or up to 50-70 bln.US dollars by 2020. Online shopping raises concerns for issues of illegal imports of prohibited goods, duty evasion, as well as increase in trafficking, through international mail, of psychotropic and other dangerous substances.

Participants of the meeting emphasized the importance of the RILO-Moscow for practical implementation of intelligence information widely exchanged through the WCO Customs Enforcement Network (CEN). Exchange of information is of particular importance in connection with the ongoing integration processes and with the functioning of the Customs Union (in 2014 Armenia and in 2015 Kyrgyzstan joined the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan).