"The Customs Administration, together with all bodies and Ministries in the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia, make exceptional efforts to maintain economic activity and export support," said Customs Administration Director Gjoko Tanasoski at today's press conference informing about specific measures in the area of cross-border trade.

According to the data of the Customs Administration for foreign trade, the total value of exports in the period January-March 2020 amounted to 86.77 billion Denars or 1.41 billion Euros, which is higher by about 210 million Euros compared to 2019. The total amount of exported goods is 702,650 tons.

"Despite the extremely difficult conditions, the export of fresh vegetables in March 2020 is higher by about 3,000 tons compared to 2019, while the value is slightly reduced. In March 2020, it amounted to 290 million Denars or about 4.7 million Euros. As for the export of fresh fruit, in March 2020 it is higher by about 1 million Euros compared to 2019. The export of fresh fruit in March 2020 amounted to about 3.7 million Euros or about 9,126 tons, "explained the Director General Tanasoski.

He stressed that within its competencies and powers, the Customs Administration to the members of the Advisory Body, primarily the chamber associations, transport associations such as AMERIT and MAKAMTRANS, constantly provides information related to issues to import and export of goods and cross-border movement. .

"In this regard, we are constantly trying to make this information available to the public through the relevant websites and through social media we are constantly updating the Guidelines on Customs Issues related to the state of emergency COVID-19," said Director General Tanasoski and added that within the Macedonian CEFTA Subcommittee on Customs and Origin of Goods has launched an initiative to establish so-called green corridors, where all CEFTA member states are obliged to provide 24-hour work at the border crossings for export and import of goods within the CEFTA region and the key border crossings with the European Union, with priority for the passage of fresh agricultural and food products, drugs and medical equipment.

As a result of the introduction of digital customs and the paperless customs environment with the introduction of the new software from 1st April 2020, the customs procedure for export is completely paperless.

"This practically means that every exporter, in addition to not having to submit a customs declaration for export, does not need to submit the accompanying customs documents, such as invoice, CMR. Thus, the benefits of modernisation of customs operations and digitalization, in addition to facilitating trade, in this crisis time contribute to greater avoidance of physical contact between economic operators and customs, "explained Director General Tanasoski.

In addition to regular customs procedures, simplified customs procedures allow companies to clear goods within 24 hours. Thus, despite the strong restriction on movement through these customs procedures, the Customs Administration and the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia have ensured that during this period there are no serious violations in the supply of goods.

In order to facilitate the work of economic operators, the Customs Administration ex officio extended the validity period until 30 September 2020, on all approvals for simplified customs procedures that expire as of 31 May 2020. This means that they are applied under the conditions and criteria under which they were issued, and companies do not need to obtain a series of accompanying documents from various institutions in order to obtain authorisations. 

During the curfew, by fulfilling certain conditions (such as international transit document T1 or export accompanying document EXMK), the movement of goods in a transit procedure and a simplified procedure of export and import is allowed.

The Government of the Republic of North Macedonia has announced a series of decisions to abolish customs duties on imports of medical supplies, medicines and raw materials for the production of medical equipment. A decision has also been made to abolish customs duties on frozen pork to stimulate domestic production. The decisions will be applied until the end of the state of emergency.

Article 238 of the Customs Law stipulates that upon request of the economic operator, the customs authority may approve a delay in the payment of the amount of duties to be paid by the person concerned, for goods declared for customs procedure which includes an obligation to pay such duties. Thus, any economic operator that imports goods may request a delay in payment of customs duties (customs duties, VAT and excise duties) within 30 days.

Based on the notification from the commercial banks, the Customs Administration ex officio extended the term of validity of the bank guarantees as of 30 September 2020. The term of validity of the authorisations for deferred payment of import duties has been extended ex officio, for all holders for whom the term of validity of the guarantee has been extended ex officio.

Given the growing demand for ethyl alcohol as a basic disinfectant in the fight against COVID-19, the Customs Administration has adopted measures to simplify the procedure for re-issuing permits for preferential users of ethyl alcohol to public and private health care institutions and companies that produce disinfectants.

"In order to facilitate the working conditions of the companies in procurement and distribution of alcohol for medical purposes for preparation of medicines and disinfectants, a Decree was adopted with legal force for application of the Law on Excise Duties during the state of emergency that provides extension of the deadline for submitting the guarantee for securing the payment of excise debt", underlined the Director General Tanasoski and finally thanked all customs officers who are on the border line and all participants in the customs procedures, carriers and freight forwarders, who daily out of their homes take care of the maintenance of economic activity, the movement of goods and the export of our products.

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