Custom service

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Text №1 The press secretaries complained about a lack of equipment, including video and photo-cameras and dictaphones, which does not allow their press services to receive information about the functioning of the customs departments in time. On certain occasions, the press services are not able to make this information available to journalists because it has been classified by heads of some customs terminals. The subjective opinion of customs heads on journalists' mission, as well as their failure to understand the true tasks facing the customs service in the area of public relations are, according to the session's participants, a serious source of problems plaguing relations between the press and the customs service. For instance, Altai customs terminal spokesperson Olesya

Matyukhina suggested that a great deal depends sometimes on the person heading a customs terminal - whether its head is friendly to journalists and editorial offices or not. In the end, the participants in the session came to a conclusion that relations between the press and the customs service need to be changed. Journalists have to be more careful when handling information from customs departments, while press service officials need to convince their customs department's head to trust the press. Text №2 MOSCOW - New customs duties for the export of oil and oil products went into effect on Monday, with the higher price echelons seeing an increase in the tariff level. These price-linked tariffs were set last month by administration decree as a result of increased prices on the

international market, said Alexei Savenko, spokesperson with the State Customs Committee. However, the market price of oil is now lower than when the decree was signed one month ago. For example, the benchmark crude Russia Urals currently hovers at a little more than $24.50 a ban-el; at the end of November, it traded at around $30 a barrel. This means that it slipped down a tax bracket to the 20-euro tariff levied when oil sells between $22.50 and $25.00 a barrel. The increases only come into play when oil sells for more than $25 a barrel. Below this price, nothing changes. At the highest extreme, when the price of oil is more than $32.50, an export tariff of 48 euros ($45.35) per ton, or 6.67 euros per barrel, will be levied. This is up from 34 euros per ton. "The tariff

always depended on the overall prices," said Dmitry Avdeev, an oil analyst at United Financial Group, a brokerage. "This time, though, there is a kind of lag between the new oil price and the tariff rate." Text №3 MOSCOW, March 17 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Foreign Ministry said Friday it considered the new customs regulations requiring that all goods entering Ukraine from Transdnestr have an official Moldovan stamp a political action. According to the ministry, Chisinau's intentions were to take control of all foreign economic activities of the breakaway Moldovan region, undermine the bases of the regional budget formation and cause a social crisis. The ministry said the new regulations disrupted transit trade and transport links via Transdnestr. inflicting

losses on Ukraine, Moldova and southeast Europe. Russia's State Duma and the Foreign Ministry said earlier that the Ukrainian decision, made at Chisinau's request, would seriously damage the Transdnestr economy. What Chisinau and Kiev are trying to present as an effort to put the border in order "means nothing less than the imposition of economic sanctions on Transdnestr in order to force it to surrender to possible solutions to the problem that actually breach the tepublic's right to special status as stipulated by international agreements," the Duma statement said. Russian parliamentarians said the decision had damaged the Transdnestr conflict settlement by fueling political tensions around the issue. They also called for Ukraine and Moldova to lift the new