Customs and the tradition of bureaucracy

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July 18, 2002, 7 p.m. |
International delivery services are unanimous in identifying the number one problem they face in their business: dealings with the State Customs Service. Experts in the business say that the duties recipients are required to pay to take delivery of their parcels often exceed the value of the contents.

They also say that to receive an item, like a bottle of perfume, by express mail, the recipient must obtain a certificate, which in turn means filling out reams of paperwork.

Delivery services operating in Ukraine say that the Customs Service requires recipients to fill out 10 times more paperwork before they can take delivery of parcels than in neighboring Poland and Hungary. To add to the delays, Ukraine’s local customs officials do not work on weekends, unlike those in Russia and Belarus.

Some delivery services try to ease customs procedures for their clients by picking up the cost of the duties themselves and then obtaining payment from the clients once they receive their parcels.

Every country has a list of items that cannot be imported using delivery services. Similar prohibitions apply when using Ukraine’s state postal service. However, it is still easier to import some items using regular mail.

For example, Ukraine allows the importation of some food items by regular mail. Medicine can be imported in this way if the medication brand is registered in Ukraine.

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