22 October 2015 - An official ceremony marking the launch of the pre-arrival information exchange system on goods and vehicles between the customs authorities of Belarus and Ukraine (PRINEX) took place at the border crossing point “Nova Guta” (Gomel Region, Belarus) on the Ukraine-Belarus border.
The PRINEX system aims to streamline the customs officers’ work, eliminate the possibility of document fraud and facilitate the movement of goods of responsible carriers and suppliers. PRINEX was developed and established for the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine and the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Belarus as part of the eponymous EU-funded project, implemented by the IOM Missions in Ukraine and Belarus in cooperation with the International Centre for Migration Policy Development
The system development and launch became possible due to the Eastern Partnership Integrated Border Management Flagship Initiative, whose key objective is the alignment of border crossing procedures in line with EU standards and requirements. Moreover, the new digital system is an integral part of the pan-European transport corridor ‘Helsinki – Klaipeda – Alexandroupolis’.
First Deputy Head of the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine Serhii Bilan, who took part in the official launch, said that the PRINEX will contribute to considerable reduction of customs processing time at the Ukraine–Belarus border, improvement of the risk management system efficiency, drawdown of smuggling, and minimizing the “human factor” in border operations.
During the press conference for Ukrainian and Belarusian journalists, Deputy Chief of IOM Mission in Ukraine Stephen Rogers noted the positive cooperation experience between IOM and the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine, as well as the high competency and close working coordination of customs professionals from Ukraine and Belarus during the project implementation.
“The project was aimed to ultimately streamline the movement of legitimate goods and vehicles across the border and to reduce considerably the number of customs fraud cases, facilitating closer contacts between the Eastern Partnership countries and EU,” said Stephen Rogers. In order to measure the project outcome for trade facilitation, IOM will conduct a qualitative analysis of trade flows and smuggling after the first results of the project can be observed, and will compare them to the previous years’ records.
Head of the EU Delegation to Belarus, Ambassador Andrea Victorin, Deputy Head of the State Border Committee of Belarus Serhii Borysiuk and Chief of IOM Belarus Zeynal Hajiyev also participated in the official events.
The total budget of “Support to the Creation of an Electronic System of Pre-Arrival Information Exchange between the Customs Authorities of Belarus and Ukraine (PRINEX)” project was nearly EUR 4 mln, 80% of which was spent on purchasing the state-of-the-art IT equipment and modern software, and 20% - on professional trainings and tutoring of customs officers on the ground. The project has enabled over 40 customs officials from Belarus and Ukraine to visit three EU Member States to learn about IT infrastructure and mechanisms related to information exchange. Five trainings for 110 customs officials on risk analysis, document security, pre-arrival information exchange and fighting the smuggling of goods have been conducted. More than 300 units of computer equipment was provided, including active network appliances, routers and data protection system distributing boards, operators’ working desk hardware at the border crossing points. The integrated system of information protection has also been established.