I SOURCE: ERC
“The volume of smuggling is so huge… (that) we are being forced to leave the market,” the company owner said.
According to him, it’s almost impossible to resell officially imported Apple gadgets. “We sell legal electronics, pay all the taxes, and are being criticized by customers for our prices, because people have got used to the prices of smuggled products.”
Fiscal Service Head Roman Nasirov didn’t respond to requests for comment, but in the answer to questions from the Kyiv Post the Fiscal Service denied there were any customs bribery schemes, and said that there were plenty of other semi-legal ways to bring non-authorized electronics into the country.
For instance, citizens can bring in goods worth less than €1,000 and less than 50 kilograms in weight, although, the law says these goods mustn’t be for commercial purposes. According to the Fiscal Service, this loophole is used widely. And in another shady maneuver, electronics are hidden among goods that have lower customs tariffs, like food.
According to the Fiscal Service, more scanning devices are needed on the border to stop such smuggled consignments of electronics. A different perspective However, some think that the problem lies not with the current laws or corruption, or the lack of modern scanners on the border, but in the monopolization of this business by just two companies.
Volodymyr Kolodiuk, the president of the Unitrade Group Holding, and the brother of the famous Ukrainian venture capitalist Andrey Kolodiuk, said that today plenty of companies are ready to import electronics of the same quality to Ukraine, but charging much less than the official distributors do.
“As a result, the devices cost significantly more than on the U.S. and European markets. The official distributors earn excess profits due to such a monopoly,” Kolodiuk, whose shop City.com has admitted selling “gray” gadgets, told the Kyiv Post. “In the civilized world this is called parallel importing (when one buys goods in one country cheaply, and sells them more expensively in another country).”
“It’s not business that suffers from this situation,” he went on. “It’s ordinary people, who have to pay too much for desirable goods.”