Customs tariffs, taxes and duties


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Part III
CUSTOMS

Unit VIII
CUSTOMS TARIFFS, TAXES AND DUTIES

EPISODE 1

Customs Tariffs in Russia

In every country import-export rates are supposed to fulfil four functions:

  • to protect home producers from foreign competition in order to increase their own competitiveness in the domestic market;

  • to limit exporting products in which there is a shortage in this country and to regulate foreign trade transactions for political interests;

  • to supply local consumers, both legal entities and individuals1, with products which are not produced in this country or produced insufficiently;

  • to provide the state budget with additional financial resources.

In order to put these issues into practice2, the Russian government changed its import rates in 1994. The change of import duties3 affects mostly the status of foodstuff imports. Inflation and the subsequent price increases for energy, equipment and other materials make storage, processing the products and their packing very expensive. Foreign suppliers have the opportunity to sell products at lower prices, though sometimes their products are of lower quality. Food intervention of imported goods has led to the reduction in the production of some agricultural products inside Russia. So the change of customs tariffs is based on an objective necessity to protect local commodity producers and does not conflict with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. Customs duties are levied only on those types of products which are produced in sufficient quantities.

The level of imposition by import rates4 was increased at an average of five to seven percent. Formely, the import rates were calculated as a percentage of the customs value of the imported goods. At the present time there is a universal order for introducing rates as an absolute sum for the imported unit (kilogram, liter, piece) value. For some types of agricultural products, mainly fruits and vegetables, seasonal duties with limited duration are in force.

Apart from the duties on foodstuffs the duties on some types of industrial products have also been increased. This step of the government is related to the fact that during the last several years Russian industry has experienced difficulties connected with the success of sale of imported cars, electronics, and some other types of industrial import. Duty rates have been increased on different transport vehicles, on completing articles5 for assembling electronics and computers, on consumer electronics6 and on metal-cutting machines. The minimum duty sums per one item for cars depend now on the engine volume and the year of production.

The regulations for granting a delay in payment for import duties have also been changed. Previously, the delay was permitted for a period of no more than thirty days. This delay was granted to the importer with no additional fees or expenses. Under the new regulations, this period is prolonged up to sixty days, but a certain interest is collected7 throughout the whole duration of the delay.

Export duties in Russia were set up in 1992. At that time world prices were much higher than internal ones and export was highly profitable, though it seriously hurt the level of domestic consumption8. Nowadays, in relation to the increase in domestic prices, the existence of export duties negatively affects the ability for long-term export deals9. So export duties are supposed to be cancelled in future.

^ Vocabulary Notes on the Text

1 legal entities and individuals - юридические и физические лица.

2 to put something into practice - применять что-л. на практике.

3 import duties - ввозная таможенная пошлина.

4 the imposition by import rates - налогообложение на импорт.

5 completing articles - комплектующие,

6 consumer electronics - бытовая электроника.

7 to collect an interest - взимать проценты.

8 domestic consumption - потребление внутри страны.

9 long-term export deals - долгосрочные экспортные сделки.

^ Exercises on the Text

1. Read and translate the text.

2. Translate the following words and learn their pronunciation:

inflation; intervention; imposition; consumption; resourses; entities; tariffs; vehicles; materials; status; electronics; energy; shortage; percentage; engine; foodstuff; insufficient; subsequent; industrial; levied

3. Match the verbs in the list close in meaning:

to fulfil; to effect; to protect; to levy; to limit; to grant; to develop; to restrict; to compete; to influence; to expand; to defend; to purchase; to contest; to perform; to buy; to introduce; to relate; to impose; to allow; to present; to connect

4. Answer the following questions:

  • 1) When did the Russian government change import duties rates?

  • 2) What did this change mostly effect?

  • 3) What was the result of inflation?

  • 4) How does food intervention influence the home agriculture?

  • 5) On what are customs duties levied?

  • 6) On what do the duty sums for cars depend?

5. Explain the meaning of the following terms in English:

the state budget; import duties; export duties; inflation; customs tariffs; imposition; industrial import; seasonal duties; consumption; General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade

6. Use each of these collocations in sentences of your own:

to protect home producers; to regulate trade transactions; to supply local consumers; to put smth. into practice; not to conflict with international practice; to produce in sufficient quantities; to be in force; to increase export/import duties on; to experience difficulties in smth.; to levy extra charges on

^ 7. Give English equivalents of:

внутренний рынок (4 варианта); местные потребители; местные производители товара; юридические и физические лица; дополнительные финансовые ресурсы; ставки импортной пошлины; продовольственные/промышленные товары; оборудование; хранение, переработка и упаковка товаров; таможенные тарифы; ввозная таможенная пошлина; уровень налогообложения; стоимость единицы товара; сезонные пошлины; комплектующие; уровень внутреннего потребления; в среднем

8. Retell the text according to the following plan:

  • 1) The functions of import-export rates.

  • 2) Customs tariffs as an objective necessity to protect a local market.

  • 3) The increase of import rates.

  • 4) The problem of export duties.

Vocabulary and Speech Exercises

9. Insert appropriate prepositions:

1. All taxes, customs duties and other charges levied__connection __the performance__this Contract__Russia are to be paid__the Sellers and those levied outside Russia are to be paid__the Buyers.

2. The simplest form__a tariff is one which consists__a single column levying the same rate__duty__all imports.

3. __addition__customs duties proper, many countries levy extra charges__one kind or another. The most common form is a surtax charged as a percentage__the duty.

4. The internal taxes are__a different kind. They are collected__imports__many countries. These are usually levied__the same rate as__similar products__domestic origin. Included__this category are sales taxes, excise taxes, V.A.T., turnover and transaction taxes, and the like.

^ 10. Give the English equivalents of:

налоговая ставка; таможенные сборы; взимать налог (3 варианта); дополнительное налогообложение (2 варианта); внутренний (федеральный) налог; налог на продажу; акцизный сбор; налог с оборота; налог на добавленную стоимость; взимать определенный процент от стоимости товара за хранение

^ 11. What do we call?

1) duty charged on certain goods and services produced and sold within the country (i.e. tobacco, beer, wines and spirits);

2) a tax charged as a percentage of the retail price of goods;

3) an extra tax on imports, in addition to ordinary customs duties;

4) a continuing rise in prices;

5) a tax charged not only on retail prices but also on the prices charged by manufacturers and wholesalers;

6) an indirect tax, charged as a percentage of the selling price of an article or commodity

^ 12. Read and translate the following text using a dictionary if necessary:

Tariff Systems

All over the world tariff systems can be classified into four main types. The first type is represented by a single column tariff which consists of one list of duties with a single duty rate for each article, applicable equally to imports from all countries. Duty reductions arranged by countries exercising such a system are usually universal for all the other countries. Germany, Japan, the Scandinavian countries are amidst those practising the single column tariff.

The second type used in customs practice is a maximum-minimum tariff. This involves the setting-up of two columns of duties in the tariff. The lower rate is applicable to countries enjoying most-favoured-nation treatment whereas the higher to other countries. Sometimes maximum-minimum tariffs include only one column (usually called the minimum tariff) and the rates of the maximum tariff are calculated by applying a percentage increase or multiplier to the minimum rates. France and Spain are among the countries using such a system.

The countries where a general-conventional tariff is used start with a single column of duties and proceed to establish a second column of conventional duties in negotiations with other countries. This second column contains only the items on which conventional rates have been settled and does not, therefore, cover all tariff items, to which the general tariff is applied. The conventional rates are correspondingly common mostly with the countries of the most-favoured-nation treatment.

And the fourth type of customs tariff is a preferential tariff. This one represents an import duty at a specially low rate on goods from a country that is being favoured. Usually preferential tariff is applied to the countries of the same group. Thus, within the European Economic Community preferential rates are exchanged exclusively between the countries developing the respective spheres and are not extended to outside countries.

^ 13. Choose corresponding Russian terms for:

1) a single duty rate

таможенный режим

2) duty reductions

конвенциональная пошлина

3) most-favoured-nation treatment

коэффициент

4) conventional duty

режим наибольшего благоприятствования

5) preferential treatment

преференциальные ставки

6) minimum rates

единая тарифная (налоговая) ставка

7) multiplier

минимальные ставки

8) tariff treatment

скидки таможенных пошлин

9) preferential rates

преференциальный режим налогообложения

^ 14. Answer the following questions:

1) What is the simplest form of tariff?

2) Who usually pays taxes, customs duties and other charges for commodities on the territory of the Seller?

3) What is the most common form of an extra charge regarding import duties?

4) In what way are the internal taxes on imports collected?

5) What internal taxes do you know?

6) What is the difference between a sales tax and a turnover tax?

7) What countries exercise preferential tariffs?

8) What is the difference between a single column tariff and a maximum-minimum tariff?

9) What do conventional rates mean?

15. Say whatever you know about:

  • 1) the four functions of export-import rates;

  • 2) main tariff systems;

  • 3) the internal taxes collected on imports.

EPISODE 2

Free Econimic Zones (FEZ)

A: I say, did you hear anything about free economic zones?

В: What actually interests you about them?

A: Well, I have a lot of questions. What are they? Who organized them? What is...

В: Not so many questions at once, please. Free economic zones were formed on the initiative of local authorities with the permission of the central government of Russia. They are considered to be independent territory economic structural formations1 with a special currency-financial, legal, customs and organizational-social system.

A: What are they meant for?

В: Their main objective is to provide more favourable conditions for the development of foreign economic links.

A: Does that mean that they are created to protect the interests of foreign capital?

В: Exactly. They are supposed to attract foreign investments, technologies2 and products into the Russian economy. And not only this. In addition, these zones should help in the development of domestic production on the basis of modern achievements in science and technology.

A: Are all these zones alike?

В: No, they are not. As a matter of fact, they are divided into three groups.

A: What kind of groups are they? Could you describe them in detail, please?

В: Certainly. The first group includes customs which are frontier zones. They are usually created at sea or river ports, at large frontier railway junctions and at airports. The second group are scientific engineering zones3.

A: What are they intended for?

В: Foreign potential is attracted here to develop some of the directions in science and engineering, and to achieve advanced gains4 in modern technology. But the largest and the most important is the third group, that is general economic zones. Usually they represent a part or the whole of the territory of the administrative region or area and also large port cities.

A: Are free economic zones given any special rights?

В: Of course they are. Being an integral part of the territory of the country, a free economic zone enjoys the main right to define its social and economic policy independently if this does not contradict the rules and laws of Russia. It means that authorities of the zone can regulate export-import transactions, set the order of entry, exit and stay for foreign citizens on its territory, establish direct foreign economic and cultural links.

A: What are tax privileges in a free economic zone?

В: Authorities of the zone have the right to carry out budget and taxation politics of their own within its territory. They independently develop the system of taxation, set financial and other privileges starting with world tax rates5 and preferences6.
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