Recently, several communiqués, issued by the Ministry of Trade were promulgated in the Official Gazette, regarding the implementation of export and import in Turkey. As per the communiqués, issued in accordance with the Presidential Decree on Import Regime, the import of various products including but not limited to those within the scope of Chemical Weapons Conventions; specific warfare weapons and their parts and components; some explosive materials, firearms, knives, and similar tools; medical diagnostic kits and civil aircrafts in multifarious industries had been subject to new rules. Furthermore, in import, classification of the companies with the aim of making risk-based commercial quality audits in export had been envisaged.
The Import of Goods Covered by the Chemical Weapons Convention
The Chemical Weapons Convention (“CWC”) in which Turkey is a party to, constitutes an arms control agreement that prohibits the production, stockpile and use of chemical weapons. Number of chemicals to be monitored are listed in the Schedule-1, Schedule-2, and Schedule-3 of the Convention. As per the recent communiqués, the importation of the goods in the list in Schedule-1 (including but not limited to nitrogen mustards: HN 1, HN 2, HN 3; mustard gas; chlorosarin; chlorosoman) is prohibited. However, upon the applications made duly, the importation of the goods listed in Schedule 1 from the contracting states is allowed only for the "research, medical, pharmaceutical or protective purposes". In this context, one must bear in mind that the goods allowed to for import is not allowed to be exported to a third country again.
On the other hand, the goods within the scope of Schedule-2 (including but not limited to, methylphosphonic acid salt, methylphosphonic dichloride, dimethyl propyl phosphonate) and Schedule-3 (including but not limited to, hydrogen cyanide, phosgene, sulfur dichloride) are classified as permit-required. In terms of the permit-required goods, it is regulated that they will be allowed to be imported from all countries upon the applications made duly. Furthermore, the Receipt of Permission issued by the General Directorate of Imports is to be sought for the abovementioned goods in the registration of customs declarations regarding the Entry to Free Movement Regime, Customs Warehouse Regime, Inward Processing Regime, Outward Processing Regime, Processing Under Customs Control Regime and Temporary Import Regime. The applications for Receipt of Permission shall be made via the website of the Ministry of Trade (www.ticaret.gov.tr ). The validity period for the Receipt of Permission is designated as three months for the goods in Schedule-1; and the calendar year in which it was issued for the goods in Schedule 2 and 3.
The Import of Warfare Weapons and Their Parts and Components
Within the scope of the Communiqué, it is stipulated that certain products with different Customs Tariff Positions can only be imported by certain institutions and organizations. In this regard, described products in the Communique are such as warfare weapons (excluding revolvers, pistols, and weapons of heading 93.07), revolvers and belongings of pistols (excluding magazines), and belongings of warfare weapons can be imported only upon greenlighted by the Ministry of National Defense, General Directorate of Customs Protection, National Intelligence Organization, Ministry of Interior, Gendarmerie General Command, Coast Guard Command, and General Directorate of Security. Besides, these authorities may authorize the public institutions and organizations to import aforementioned products on their behalf. Private companies are required to obtain permission from the Ministry of National Defense to import war weapons and their components and parts.
The Import of Explosive Materials, Firearms, Knives, and Similar Tools
As per the Communique, the import of several explosive materials such as gun powder, wicks, signal flares; and firearms, knives, and similar tools such as spyglasses, periscopes, swords, and their sheaths are now subject to the letter of conformity which is to be issued by the General Directorate of Security. In case these products are subjected to the Entry to Free Movement Regime, Transit Regime, Customs Warehouse Regime, Inward Processing Regime, Outward Processing Regime, Processing Under Customs Control Regime, and Temporary Import Regime; customs administrations will seek for the letter of conformity to be issued by the General Directorate of Security physically or electronically over the Single Window System in terms of general security and order in the registration of customs declarations. Exceptionally, it was envisaged that the letter of conformity shall not be required in case of the import of the goods within the scope of this Communique made by the Ministry of National Defense or the institutions or organizations authorized by the Ministry of National Defense, General Directorate of Customs Protection, National Intelligence Organization, Ministry of Interior, Gendarmerie General Command, Coast Guard Command and General Directorate of Security.
The Import of Medical Diagnostic Kits
According to the new Communiqué on the Import of Medical Diagnostic Kits, for the customs procedures of the Entry to Free Movement Regime and Temporary Import Regime of "the reagents used in laboratories or diagnostics, standard reference materials defined as proprietary reagents and dosed or packaged immune products for retail sale" which are used for human medical diagnostics; a physical or electronic letter of conformity issued by the Turkish Medicines and Medical Devices Agency is sought by the customs administrations. These provisions do not apply to companies authorized by the Ministry of Health and to the declarations registered before the date of this communiqué. Additionally, applications to be made within the scope of the Communiqué on the Import Control of Medical Devices No. 2021/16 for the items described above will be submitted after the letter of conformity is received from the Agency.
The Import of Civil Aircrafts
Pursuant to the Communiqué, the customs procedures of the Entry to Free Movement Regime and Temporary Import Regime of civil aircrafts such as balloons, zeppelins, gliders, aircrafts of special construction imported to be used as a spraying tool in agricultural control and passenger aircrafts, become subject to the physical or electronic letter of conformity issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation affiliated to the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure.
Classification of Companies for Risk-Based Commercial Quality Controls in Exports
This Communiqué was issued to determine how often the products that are subject to commercial quality control in exports will be subject to risk-based controls following the legislation of product safety and technical regulations. Accordingly, it was envisaged that the companies to be classified into 4 categories, based on businesses, product or product group as A, B, C and D. While the companies in Category A were qualified as those who operate with its registered trademark (i), have the necessary technical infrastructure in the production and processing of the product (ii) alongside with the Quality System Certificate (iii) and employ Responsible Auditors and laboratory staff according to the characteristics of the product (iiii); the companies in Category B and C were stipulated as deprived of the features (i) and (iii) respectively.
By the virtue of the Communique, due to the increasing foreign trade of agricultural products, companies that have established facilities by meeting certain costs within the sector and employing qualified personnel have been granted the right to self-control in terms of compliance with commercial quality standards. The enterprises of these companies and the transactions they carried out will be audited by the Classification Commissions established by the Regional Directorates of the Ministry of Trade, within the framework of the Communiqué periodically throughout the year. By this Communiqué, it is aimed to increase the efficiency of export controls, to shorten the duration of export transactions, and for companies to invest in their facilities and personnel.
Şafak Herdem, Nihan Ünal