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Customs procedures

Actions that are to be taken with regard to exports from the Republic of Moldova imply a series of measures related to customs clearance, which does not necessarily refers to interaction with customs bodies. It is not enough to present the subject of export at the customs in the established form to be able to export, but also to prepare the set of necessary documents (mandatory or optional) according to the requirements of current regulations, the market, or the importer.

1. Pre-clearance procedures - a process that implies preparation of trade and transport documents, as well as obtainment of various authorizations, certificates, license, etc. (from the corresponding authorities) and preparation of trade and transport documents.

Within the first part of the process, a potential exporter has to identify the external market and possible business partners. Numerous market studies conducted by various national and international organizations provide support to the process. Then, it is the time to draft an offer and communicate it to the importer, which, as a rule, are agricultural enterprises and commercial firms, farmers and supply companies in the Republic of Moldova.

1.1 Purchase-and-sale agreement - is the final phase in the process of identifying an external partner (buyer), establishing relations, negotiating conditions for goods (characteristics, packaging, etc.), terms of delivery (Incoterms), payment terms and methods, as well as other conditions as needed. The agreement is presented in original, duly signed and stamped by the contracting parties, as well as a copy for the internal customs.

1.2 Invoice - a document related to a specific delivery of goods based on the purchase-and-sale agreement, usually including data on the delivered goods (description, quantity, price and other relevant data). Here, it is also worth mentioning the packing list - a more detailed specification (compared to invoice) on a specific load without financial data, only the names, quantity and location.

1.3 Transport agreement - operations referring to identification of the actual method of delivery, usually agreed upon with the importer. If the exporter is in charge of delivery, they have to find a direct carrier or use services of a forwarding agent to agree upon the shipment details based on a transport agreement based on general rules.

2. Internal procedures for exporters

Before the actual customs procedures, a set of permissive documents has to be processed and presented to the customs authorities based on the current legislation. Some of these are mandatory, others are optional.These documents usually are as follows:

2.1 Certificate of origin - a document that confirms the product's country of origin and is very important when a preferential treatment is wanted in the country of import, as well as reduction or exemption from duties.

The form of certificates of origin differs depending on the country of destination:

- EUR.1 - Goods movement certificateis a supporting document that expressly confirms the country of origin of goods exported to the states of the European Union based on the Association Agreement between the Republic of Moldova, on the one hand, and the European Union and European Atomic Energy Community and its member states, on the other hand.

EUR.1 goods movement certificate represents a set consisting of three forms:
a) the original form of the EUR.1 goods movement certificate;
b) a copy of EUR.1 goods movement certificate;
c) application form for EUR.1 goods movement certificate.

The EUR.1 goods movement certificate represents forms in English that are filled out by the exporter or their representative in print (by use of printing equipment with type font, in block letters) or manually (using ink and block capitals) in strict compliance with requirements of rubrics in the certificate forms.

- EUR.1 - Goods transport certificate - for export of goods originating from the Republic of Moldova to the states members of the free trade regime instituted based on the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA).

EUR.1 goods transport certificate represents a set consisting of three forms:
a) the original of the EUR.1 goods transport certificate;
b) a copy of EUR.1 goods transport certificate;
c) application form for the EUR.1 goods transport certificate.

The EUR.1 goods transport certificate forms and applications for the EUR.1 transport certificate are forms in English to be filled out by the exporter or their representative in print (by use of printing equipment with type font, in block letters) or manually (using ink and block capitals) in strict compliance with requirements in the rubrics of the certificate form. EUR.1 transport certificate is authenticated and issued only in case goods for export can be considered originating products and correspond to the established origin criteria, according to the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA). EUR.1 transport certificate is issued for goods originating from the Republic of Moldova with the condition of their direct shipment to one of the member states of the Central European Free Trade Agreement.

- Form A - Certificate of origin Form A is a supporting document that expressly confirms the country of origin of goods exported to the states that are not members of the European Union and confers the Generalized System of Preferences to the Republic of Moldova. Certificate of origin Form A represents forms in English that are filled out by the exporter or their representative in print (by use of printing equipment with type font, in block letters) or manually (using ink and block capitals) in strict compliance with requirements of rubrics in the certificate forms. Certificate of origin Form A represents a set consisting of three forms, of which the first is the original and two copies of the certificate of origin Form A. Certificate of origin Form A is authenticated and issued only when goods fit a category benefiting from preferential treatment, in compliance with the Generalized System of Preferences are exported to the state that provides the corresponding preferential system to the Republic of Moldova, and comply with the origin criteria established by standard regulations of the mentioned states. Certificates of origin Form A are issued exclusively for goods originating from the Republic of Moldova, with the condition of their direct shipment to the states providing the Republic of Moldova with the Generalized System of Preferences.

- CT-1 Form - Certificate of origin of goods Form CT-1 is a supporting document expressly confirming the country of origin of goods based on origin criteria established in compliance with the Rules for determining the country of origin of goods (approved by the Decision of the Council of Heads of Governments of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) dated 20 November 2009), as well as in compliance with the Rules for determining the country of origin of goods within bilateral free trade agreements. Certificate of origin of goods Form CT-1 represents a set consisting of at least three forms:
a) the original of the certificate of origin of goods Form CT-1;
b) a copy (two) of the certificate of origin of goods;
c) the original supplement form of the certificate of origin, if necessary, based on the variety of tariff positions of goods for export, and two copies. The certificate of origin of goods Form CT-1 represents forms in Russian that are filled out by the exporter or their representative in print (by use of printing equipment with type font, in block letters) or manually (using ink and block capitals) in strict compliance with requirements of rubrics in the certificate forms.

Authentication of certificates of origin of goods is performed within up to 3 working days from the date all the following conditions are met: registration of application-declaration, submission of certificate of origin forms filled out by the exporter, presentation of goods and documents (including additionally requested ones) to the customs authorities processing export of goods.

The authenticated certificates of origin of goods are issued (made available to the exporter) for export of the envisaged goods.
After authentication of certificates of origin of goods, the customs officer authorized with authentication and issuing of certificate of origin of goods fills out p.9 of the application-declaration applying signature and personal stamp. Then, the exporter (or their representative) fills out p.10 of the application-declaration applying signature and their stamp in original (in case of an individual, stamp is not required), which confirms the issuing of the original authenticated certificate of origin of goods by the customs authority and its take-over by the exporter.

- Form C - a supporting document confirming the country of origin of goods without giving preferences. Non-preferential rules of origin shall include all the rules of origin used within non-preferential trade policy instruments, such as for application of: the most favored nation treatment; anti-dumping fees and compensating fees; saving measures; regulations on the marking of origin and quantitative restrictions or discriminatory tariff quotas applied in compliance with the provisions of WTO Agreements. They will also cover rules of origin used for public procurement and trade statistics.

The certificate of origin can be issued by the Customs Service and costs 6 EUR. The Chamber of Trade and Industryissues non-preferential certificates of origin (of general form "C")

2.2 Compliance certificate - aimed at attesting the product proposed for export as complying with technical standards or regulations, inoffensive exploitation norms for objects and technologies with a higher level of danger prescribed by a certain standard (SM, ISO, GOST). The main authority in the field is vested with the National Accreditation Center MOLDAC. The actual certification body is to be accepted by the importing country, the Registry of accredited conformity evaluation authorities is held by MOLDAC [1].

Conformity evaluation of products in the Republic of Moldova is performed according to the Law No. 235 dated 01.12.2011 on accreditation and conformity evaluation activities.

2.3 Hygiene (sanitary) certificate - is obtained in order to confirm admission of the product for human consumption. The document is issued by the National Food Safety Agency[2] through its territorial representations. This activity is regulated by the Law No.119 dated 22.06.2004 on phytosanitary products and fertilizers.
This certificate has become obligatory for goods exported to the Russian Federation. The obligatory certificate of inoffensiveness in export of plant products to the Russian Federation was introduced after signing of the Memorandum on safety of products of plant origin delivered from the Republic of Moldova to the Russian Federation (in terms of contained pesticides, nitrates and nitrites).

2.4 Phytosanitary/veterinary certificate - a document that confirms compliance of the product with inoffensiveness criteria from sanitary or veterinary point of view depending on the characteristics of the product or packaging. Phytosanitary certificate is issued by territorial subdivisions of the phytosanitary control authority - National Food Safety Agency[3].

The field is regulated by the Law No. 228 dated 23.09.2010 on protection of plants and phytosanitary quarantine published in Official Monitor No. 241-246 dated 10.12.2010 [4].

Plants, plant products, connected goods subject to phytosanitary quarantine treatment intended for export and/or re-export are obligatorily accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate. In order to prevent appearance and spread of pests, export or re-export of certain plants, plant products and connected goods subject to phytosanitary quarantine treatment is permitted only after the latter are subject to phytosanitary inspection at the place of production or, in case of re-export, at the place of deposit.
It is prohibited to request an additional declaration in case plants and/or plant products are accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate.

In order to obtain a phytosanitary certificate, the exporter presents the following to the phytosanitary authority subdivision at least 24 hours in advance:
a) application for phytosanitary certificate;
b) certificate on use of phytosanitary products, upon request of the importing country;
c) phytosanitary certificate of the country of origin;
d) quarantine expertise certificate of plants and plant products subject to phytosanitary quarantine treatment to be exported, issued by a legal entity vested with central administrative authority in agriculture;
e) a copy of the purchase-and-sale agreement or another civil legal act, based on which export or re-export of plants, plant products and connected goods subject to phytosanitary quarantine treatment takes place;
f) a copy of tax invoice or bill of lading.

The validity term of phytosanitary certificate is 14 days from the date of issue. Phytosanitary certificate cannot be drawn up more than 14 days prior to the date, when plants, plant products or related goods subject to phytosanitary quarantine treatment are leaving the exporting country.
Phytosanitary certificate is issued within up to 5 days from the date of submission of the application for its issue. The phytosanitary certificate is drawn up in the state language and in at least one language of international circulation, if needed in the official language of the country of destination, and is filled out, except for the stamp and signature, either entirely in capital letters or typed. The botanical name of plants is given in Latin. Unauthorized modifications or deletions lead to nullification of the certificate. If there is no sufficient space in the certificate for additional declarations, those can be written on the reverse side.

2.5 License - a document attesting correspondence to the licensing conditions for a type of activity. License is presented to the customs authority only for goods, export of which is subject to licensing in compliance with the Law No.451-XV dated 30.07.2001 on licensing of certain types of activities. At the moment, license is not required for export of agricultural products. However, starting from 01.01.2015 license is issued for international consignments. Thus, exporters have to pay attention when signing transport agreements with local carriers to ensure movement of goods.

The number of permissive acts can be higher or lower depending on product characteristics and recipient's requirements.

3. Customs Procedures

3.1 Customs Clearing – actions directly related to procedures of placing goods under a certain customs treatment and its termination.

- Filling out customs declaration – the customs declaration can be filled out by the exporter themselves or by a licensed customs broker.

Customs declaration is filed with customs authorities accompanied by documents confirming data entered in the declaration, but at least by the following 3 mandatory documents:

a) Invoice;

b) Transport documents;

c) Permissive documents necessary for customs release.

Customs control is based on risk analysis. When performing documentary check (yellow customs corridor), physical check (red customs corridor) or further check (blue customs corridor), more documents will be presented additionally to the above-mentioned to confirm all the data indicated in the customs declaration.

Export declaration can be drawn up entirely electronically by transmitting the customs declaration and accompanying documents with digital signature through the customs information system Asycuda World or by presenting those documents in hard copy.

The exporter can choose the customs point for declaring exports, including filing the customs declaration directly at the border-crossing point. At the same time, they can request customs check at places other than the customs, as well as outside working hours.

Authorized economic agents (holding AEA certificates) can benefit from more export facilities, including customs clearing at home and priority border-crossing.

3.2 Post-clearing operations - refer to operations in the process of export regarding:

- Monitoring of shipment. It is important from the viewpoint of risk of non-delivery, deterioration or irrecoverable loss of goods. Risk insurance is an optional element at the discretion of the risk bearer.

- Delivery confirmation - is an important element of fulfillment of the transport agreement, which attests passing of risks from one person to another, depending on the chosen delivery condition.

- Goods receipt - represents a legal act of accepting goods as corresponding to the contractual conditions and usually takes place by application of the recipient's stamp on the corresponding copy of CMR form and/or by other agreed means.

- Payment - receipt of money for the delivered goods, when so agreed in the contract; corresponding processing of bank documents in order to obtain possible VAT reimbursement or to report repatriation of funds.

- Evaluation of transaction - a general analysis of actions and (estimated and factual) costs of an export and its financial result.

[1]www.acreditare.md
[2]www.ansa.gov.md
[3]www.ansa.gov.md
[4]www.lex.justice.md
[5]www.lex.justice.md
[6]www.customs.gov.md
[7]www.lex.justice.md
[8]www.customs.gov.md

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This website has been prepared by the EU-funded project "Support to the DCFTA process in the Republic of Moldova" and implemented by the European Profiles S.A. led Consortium.
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