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Sanctions against Russia are visible at border crossing points – the number of export declarations dropped by half in a week

Publication date 9.3.2022 15.30 | Published in English on 11.3.2022 at 8.06
Press release

The new EU export sanctions imposed on Russia are visible as an increase in customs controls of heavy vehicles at border crossing points and in ports. An assessment based on customs declarations shows that Russian exports have decreased by half in a week, while the import has continued as before. The number of heavy vehicles has dropped by around five percent at Vaalimaa, Nuijamaa and Imatra border crossing points. 

The EU has decided to implement extensive economic sanctions due to Russia’s attack on Ukraine in blatant violation of international law. As the implementing authority, Finnish Customs’ task is to monitor the export sanctions agreed at EU level. The new sanction on export and transit aimed at Russia entered into force on Saturday, 26 February 2022. 

- The situations has changed considerably in just over a week. The congestions at the border crossings at the start of the sanctions quickly changed, resulting in a reduction in export shipments. Based on the customs declarations, we can see that the normal number of export shipments has dropped by half, says Sami Rakshit, Director of the Enforcement Department.

On average, the daily number of customs declarations related to Russian export is around 700, while last week, an average of 300 declarations were made per day. The export volume or value can’t be assessed based on the export declarations. The official preliminary statistical data on international trade for February is published on 5 April 2022 and for March on 6 May 2022.

- In terms of traffic volumes, there is still no similar drop as in the case of customs declarations. The number of heavy vehicles arriving by road has dropped by five per cent at Vaalimaa, Imatra and Nuijamaa border crossing points. The number of import declarations regarding goods from Russia has remained approximately the same, Rakshit continues.

Hundreds of heavy vehicles subject to export sanction controls stopped in a week

Finnish Customs monitors prohibitions and restrictions on goods traffic over the borders; this includes the control of export sanctions. In terms of controlling the new sanctions implemented against Russia by the EU, Finnish Customs has stopped hundreds of goods transports headed for Russia in just over a week. Of these, over one hundred transports have been examined physically, to ensure that no products subject to sanctions are exported to Russia. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs is the authorising body, and based on a statement request by customs, the Ministry decides if the examined products are subject to restrictions. 

- We have adjusted our risk analysis of goods traffic flows in such a way that, regardless of the great amount of goods subject to sanctions, the control of the sanctions is effective. We have received the first statements from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the definition of products subjected to sanctions, and we are currently considering whether we need to initiate a preliminary investigation regarding some of these. We know that interpreting sanctions is challenging for companies and that they are doing their best, says Rakshit.

Customs provides on its website information on EU’s export sanctions and their effect on both businesses and private individuals.

Media release ukraina