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The SENT system and new responsibilities. Companies can be fined in bulk. “I have doubts whether foreign entrepreneurs even know about it”

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I have doubts whether foreign entrepreneurs even know that the monitoring obligation covers not only transports of agricultural products from Ukraine, but all transports coming to Poland, even those from European Union countries – says Piotr Leonarski from the B2RLaw law firm in an interview with TVN24 Biznes .

Transit of agricultural goods is possible from Friday Ukraine through the territory of Poland. This transit is enabled by the regulation of the Minister of Development and Technology, which was published on Friday at around 2 am in the Journal of Laws. Earlier on Thursday, the regulation of the Minister of Finance was published, covering the transport of cereals, poultry meat, eggs and bee products with the SENT system. SENT is an ICT system for monitoring the transport of sensitive goods created by the National Revenue Administration.

– Currently, the issue of trading in Ukrainian agricultural products is regulated by these two regulations – explains Piotr Leonarski, a tax advisor from the B2RLaw Jankowski Stroiński Zięba & Partners law firm, in an interview with TVN24 Biznes.

– This issued by the Minister of Finance requires notification of the transport of grain before the start of transport and continuous access to the location of the transport to the administration through a special application. If the carrier fails to report the transport, it faces a fine of PLN 10,000 – explains the tax advisor.

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Not only products from Ukraine

– I understand why these regulations were introduced. At the same time, it should be emphasized that its scope is very wide, and additional obligations were imposed on business in a very short time, because the regulation appeared around 8 p.m. and entered into force at midnight. Even taking into account that it did not cover transports started before midnight, the business did not have time to prepare, even to submit notifications, he notes.

In addition, he adds, foreign entrepreneurs do not even have a way to get the knowledge that their driver must have the locator on all the time while driving through Poland. – I have doubts whether foreign entrepreneurs even know that the monitoring obligation covers not only transports of agricultural products from Ukraine, but all trucks with wholesale quantities of agricultural products coming to Poland (even from the EU) or passing through our country. As a result, the effectiveness of the regulations may be limited (carriers will not apply them) and fines may be imposed (also in bulk), he emphasizes.

For example – Leonarski points out – when we have goods, for example eggs, which only passed through Poland on the way from the Netherlands to Slovakia, they must now be monitored. – What for? It is possible that the aim of the Minister of Finance was to ensure that undeclared shipments from Ukraine, in the event of an inspection, do not pretend to be EU shipments, because these must also be reported. The question is whether this justifies such a broad obligation imposed on business – he says.

At the same time, the SENT system, which currently also monitors the transport of grain, was designed to supervise the transport of the so-called sensitive goods, which were particularly often used for tax fraud, especially fuel, tobacco and alcohol. – In the case of fuels, he operated in such a way that, for example, on the road near Zgorzelec there is a KAS police car and if he saw a tanker truck that he did not have on his map updated in real time, he controlled it. I assume that now it’s the same thing, only the number of controlled transports will be much higher – explains the tax advisor.

Grain from Ukraine only in transit

The second regulation, issued by the Minister of Development and Technology, regulates the rules of entry of agricultural products to Poland from Ukraine. It assumes that entry is possible only under a special customs procedure – transit. This procedure can end only in one of the four ports (in Gdańsk, Gdynia, Świnoujście or Szczecin) or outside Poland. – Until the end of this procedure, these goods are not released for free circulation in the EU, in particular no duty is paid on them. In practice, it is on the basis of these provisions that trucks with goods under the procedure are sealed at the border. The seal should be removed only at the end of the procedure – explains Piotr Leonarski.

In his opinion, in the case of both regulations, the scope of goods subject to restrictions was defined very broadly. – I think that it could be done more precisely, which would facilitate discussions with the European Commission on the legitimacy of the measures taken by Poland. In the case of specific groups of products, one can rely on research that found pesticides in Ukrainian products and invoke the protection of public health. However, such a general prohibition is hard to justify in terms of compliance with EU law – admits the lawyer.

Even more so – as he emphasizes that, for example, the category “grain” is not only an unprocessed product, such as wheat grains. – According to the EU definition used in the Polish regulation, it is about much more products: flour, starches, glucose syrups or even animal food – he explains.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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