The duty free shops on the territory of the Transnistrian region will be closed, the Parliament of Moldova annulled the provisions of the law that allowed their creation.
In particular, the cessation of duty-free shops in the territory temporarily not controlled by the Moldovan constitutional authorities is provided by amendments to the Customs Code, which the parliament adopted in two readings at once. They annul a number of articles of the Customs Code, approved in 2015, which allowed the conduct of trade in duty free mode in the territory temporarily not controlled by the constitutional authorities of Moldova. The authors of the current amendments noted that through the duty free shops in Transnistria, there was a large smuggling of cigarettes, and a certain group of interested parties received large illegal incomes. The duty free shops in Transnistria acted, despite the fact that Moldova’s development partners supported their closure, taking into account the large-scale smuggling of cigarettes into the EU with their help. A law passed by the Parliament that annuls provisions on the possibility of creating dyty free stores in the territory of Transnistria will enter into force from the day of its publication in Monitorul Oficial. As Moldovan President Igor Dodon said on the eve, the license for duty free shops in the Transnistrian region has already been revoked. Earlier, Prime Minister Maia Sandu published declassified materials indicating large-scale tax evasion through duty free shops and large-scale cigarette smuggling through duty free in Transnistria. According to information provided in the information note, in the period from 2015 to 2019 the cost of goods imported for duty free shops amounted to 2.8 billion lei, while 85% of goods were excisable: alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, coffee, perfumery etc. As it is noted, according to the available information, up to 75% of the goods, which were declared as sold in duty free, were illegally imported into the territory of Moldova. Moreover, some categories of goods did not even get to the warehouses of duty free shops, they were immediately imported into the country, and part of the goods were smuggled into neighboring countries - Romania (cigarettes) and Ukraine (alcoholic beverages) with preliminary storage in Moldova. The illegal schemes were organized with the help of the staff of duty free shops (about 400 people). The spread of this phenomenon through corruption, protectionism, traffic influence also contributed to the fact that posts in duty free stores were occupied by wives / husbands of employees of the Customs Service and the Border Police. After making amendments to the Customs Code in 2015, duty-free trade was legalized in the territory temporarily not controlled by the Moldovan authorities. In particular, an analysis of the flow of goods for duty free shops located on the Transnistrian segment of the Moldovan-Ukrainian border shows smuggling activities, especially with cigarettes. Thus, in the period from 2016 to the present, the Transnistrian limited liability company Altai imported goods for duty free stores worth 1 billion lei, of which 970 million lei are tobacco products. This volume significantly exceeds the level of consumption of potential buyers at the exit from the country, on the Transnistrian segment of the border. Operational data suggests that most cigarettes are distributed to groups specializing in cigarette smuggling to EU countries. At the same time, consignments of smuggled cigarettes of brands imported for sale in duty free stores in the territory uncontrolled by the official authorities are being held up in the EU countries. In this regard, it was proposed to amend the Customs Code to repeal the provisions on trade in duty free mode in the territory temporarily uncontrolled by the Moldovan authorities. This will reduce the risk of smuggling, strengthen the image of Moldova in the perception of European structures, reduce the shadow financial base of representatives of the Transnistrian region.// 19.07.2019 — InfoMarket.