The guide, published on September 8, attracted great attention and harsh reactions from Russians, including officials. This is because the import ban actually applies to goods for personal use that Russian citizens import into EU countries, including clothing, hygiene products, cosmetics, mobile phones and much more.
On 12 September, the EC updated its interpretation of Article 3i. Now, when asked whether Russian citizens can temporarily import personal belongings and cars listed in Annex XXI into EU countries, especially during tourist trips, the EC no longer answers a categorical “no”, as it did a few days ago.
It is now emphasized that cars belong to the category of goods that can be used to circumvent existing sanctions (the EC does not specify how this will be done). The rest of the previous provisions remain unchanged: it does not matter whether the car is personal or not, and it does not matter under what customs procedure it was imported into the EU country.
It is also emphasized once again that the most effective way to detect that a person is really driving from Russia is to have a Russian license plate and Russian registration.
At the same time, “goods of minor importance for circumventing sanctions, such as personal hygiene items or clothing worn by the visitor or found in his luggage” should no longer be the focus of customs attention. In this context, the commission said that the ban should be applied in a “proportionate and reasonable manner”. Unfortunately, RBC writes, nothing is specified about smartphones, laptops and cameras, which are also included in Annex XXI.
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