New customs information exchange system helps Ukraine and Belarus counter smuggling across the joint border
December 15, 2015.
This EU funded pre-arrival information exchange system on goods and vehicles between the customs authorities of Belarus and Ukraine (PRINEX) has already helped Ukrainian customs authorities to prevent 240 attempts of smuggling since October this year, and the price of the goods confiscated at the border has increased by 2.3 times. This was stated by First Deputy Head of the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine Serhii Bilan at the final conference of the PRINEX project in Kyiv on Monday, 14 December 2015. “The system has proved its effectiveness,” concluded Mr. Bilan.
The PRINEX system, which was developed and established with funding from the EU in cooperation with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), aims to eliminate the possibility of document fraud, making it impossible to switch documents while transiting between two check points, and bring expensive goods into the country of destination as cheap products. The system streamlines the customs officers’ work, and facilitates the movement of goods of responsible carriers and suppliers through the Ukraine–Belarus border. As the Deputy Head of the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Belarus Sergei Borisiuk underscored, all these positive changes will also contribute to the improvement of the regional investment climate.
The system development and launch became possible due to the Eastern Partnership Integrated Border Management Flagship Initiative, which seeks to align border management in the region with EU standards and requirements. The new digital system is an integral part of the pan-European transport corridor ‘Helsinki – Klaipeda – Alexandroupolis’.
"In the Eastern Partnership framework, the EU aims not just to strengthen connections with its neighbours, but to foster external economic connections and the trans-border mobility of Ukrainian and Belarusian economic operators, as well as of EU-based companies,” said Dobromir Hristov, Sector Manager for Border Management issues at the EU Delegation to Ukraine.
In order to measure the project’s impact on trade facilitation, IOM will conduct a qualitative analysis of trade flows and smuggling and compare them to the previous years’ records.
The next stage of further modernization of Ukrainian and Belarusian customs services, currently discussed between the two beneficiary states and the EU, could be the development of an automated system of video control of the movements of goods and vehicles.
The PRINEX system was developed and established for the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine and the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Belarus and other end-users, such as carriers and members of the business community, as part of the EU-funded project, implemented by the IOM missions in Ukraine and Belarus in cooperation with the International Centre for Migration Policy Development. The total budget of the project was nearly EUR 4 mln, 80% of which was spent on purchasing the state-of-the-art IT equipment and modern software, and 20% – on professional training of customs officers in the field.