Controversial 3 day’ protests in government quarters, Kiev, Ukraine: holders of vehicles rallied against pending taxes and duties on their outdated temporarily imported cars. Meanwhile Ukrainian Law provides for high tariffs and taxes on new imported vehicles from EU, and strives to “develop used-vehicles market”.
Free-riders protesting due import taxes and duties
demanding legalization of their foreign-registration plates’ cars
Drivers of cars with foreign plates held protest rallies in Ukrainian government quarters for 3 consequent days in September 2017. It was officially registered protest against import duties & taxes for legalizing cars with foreign license-plates being temporarily imported from EU into Ukraine. Drivers gathered from around Ukraine, parking their controversial cars around Ukrainian Parliament under police supervision during entire protest. Important detail: quite a few carefree protesters failed timely export back their temporarily imported cars, or otherwise to make due import payments, as well as to register their cars in Ukraine. May because they do not have certificates of title on their cars?
Ukrainian domiciled residents keep driving foreign license-plate-cars beyond legitimate period of 1 (one) year before exporting back, and exceeding to pay due taxes and custom duties as well as failing to register their cars in Ukraine within 10 days term. Surprisingly, they continue driving unpunished, while law provides road police with power to cease illegitimate car and to deprive a violator of the right to drive. It seems, free-riders get on nicely, so what then protesters demanded for? What was their badge of honour?
What is the badge of honour of protesting “brooche-drivers”?
Indeed, they are free riders with an attitude: they want legalizing temporarily imported cars in Ukraine; they demand Ukrainian Government to recognize their ownership on foreign-registration-plate without certificates of title on their cars. After all, they want keep trading with controversial foreign-plate cars in Ukraine. All these privileges are …for “every fellow Ukrainian“.
“Brooche-drivers” (“Бляхо-воды”) – is what local Ukrainian folk calls drivers of cars with foreign registration plates, mostly from Baltic countries or Poland. This attitude could be well-deserved.
Fast-moving incident involving firing tires of brooche-car
“…Swerving violently on the road, accelerating and taking over my car from the right and then suddenly hitting the brakes almost to full stop right in front of me, and almost the last thing what I saw was foreign-license-plate on a car” – quite a few stories like this, about brooche-car accelerating and moving so fast, so “… other cars on the road, were as standing”, or routinely driving onto an opposite lane of a road.
In need to prove something to everybody
If some-body in urgent need for crossover, SUV or high – volume engine car, then it is most likely for specific need, or to impress. By the way, some youngsters with poor background tend buying cheap “posh-image” brooch-cars, but they are unable and unskilled to drive these cars safely.
Driving as there is no tomorrow:
what insurance? what maintenance, repair?
This road-accident-prone driving may not impress other drivers, because brooche-drivers fail insure their civil responsibility. A car with brooche usually is so cheap, its price could be amount to price of new break-disks. Besides, as a car is registered abroad, brooch-drivers tend to abandon their cars after serious road accident. Another reason to abandon a brooch-car – is imminent maintenance or repair. So these controversial cars pose significant risks on the road due to their poor technical condition.
Some myths and facts about brooche-cars
- Is it possible to buy obligatory civil responsibility insurance for a driver of brooche -car?
In fact, Ukrainian Law provides for obligatory insurance of car drivers. Consequently, it is possible to buy obligatory insurance of civil responsibility of foreign-license-plate-car’ driver in Ukraine. In average, this type of insurance may cost around equivalent of Euro 40 per year, depending on a car condition and insurance story. It is around Euro 300-500 for relevant insurance cover in Europe. As brooch-car price excluding ensurance fee is usually up to Euro 2K, it is imported into Ukraine without insurance cover.
- Сould foreign – registered vehicles be imported for Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO)?
It all may have started with volunteers bringing Crossovers and SUVs from abroad, being donated for service in ATO. At the beginning there were no legal procedure legalizing these gifts, but since 2014 new procedure was in place for legalization of temporarily imported cars donated for Ukrainian army needs; those cars failed to comply have been routinely arrested by army police. In contrary, civilian brooche-drivers are not disturbed by police.
- Could “Fellow-Ukrainian” afford a car?
In fact on spring 2016 Ukrainian Parliament substantially lowered excise tax rates on “economy-class” imported used cars (with engines up to 2,2 L. and after 2010 year manufacture), amounted up to Euro 100 per car. Excise tax is the most “expensive” import tax, so it matters. Ukrainian Parliament provided this by adopting the Law #1389-VIII dd 31.05.2016 “On Amending Tax Code of Ukraine for Stimulating Development of Used Vehicles Market in Ukraine” (the Law #1389-VIII ).
4. Is it legal driving vehicle without certificate of title or written consent of its owner?
In other words, is it allowed driving vehicle in Ukraine, provided vehicle identity card and driver license are issued on different persons without any other document expressing consent of the vehicle owner or owner authorization to drive, or certificate of title on a car ?
In fact, since 2011 it is legal in Ukraine driving a car without proof of ownership or any owner consent – just based on availability at driver’ disposal of vehicle identity card (“технический паспорт”) and driver license. It is legal driving a car, even if both documents are issued on different persons.
- How many foreign-license-plate’ cars in Ukraine?
Protesters estimated, there are some 800K of foreign-license-plate-cars in Ukraine already. The tricky question is: how many are in junk-yards or are “on the road again“?
In fact, the EU and Ukraine have applied their “Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement” since 1 January 2016. But with one of exclusion – on non-liberated vehicles import from EU into Ukraine. Ukraine still applies high import vehicle tariffs on new vehicles imported from abroad, including EU countries. Meanwhile, income of “Fellow – Ukrainian” is in UAH (Ukrainian hrivnya), and real income is constantly falling comparing to Euro. Since spare parts for vehicles in official distributers for un-warranty repair are prohibitively high and businesses may afford selling on full prepayment conditions to clients, and operating without keeping much stock of spare parts in Ukraine; here we come to inevitable destiny of brooch-cars. Instead of serving travelling needs, many of them end up on junk-yards, being used for spare-parts.
Voting from a junk-yard
Could Ukrainian drivers have political influence of 800K -strong voting power? Some would doubt, as there are definitely much less brooch-cars in drivable condition. Furthemore, it is Ukrainian Parliament, not the Government or Major of Kiev is empowered introducing /ceasing, or amending tax rates, tariffs, duties. The voting maths would favour 800K votes in case of Major-voting, but it is not enough for Parliament’ MPs elections. Besides, no-one on Planet Earth in peace-time may legalize ownership on some-body-else property without consent of its owner. So to get property title document on a brooch-car, its holder must deal with car owner abroad, or with its local representative.
Meanwhile, resulting aforesaid protests, Ukrainian Government agreed the Memorandum with representatives of brooche-drivers on as following: on conditions of obtaining certificates of title on their cars, available brooches-drivers might get back-dated car legalization + 50% excise tax relief on cars with engines over 2,2 L + deffered registration of these cars in Ukraine. In return the Government promised to elaborate draft Law on restricting future import of cars with foreign registration in Ukraine.
The badge of honour of “brooche-drivers”
So, who benefited from protests? Surely, result was beneficial for holders of cars with engines over 2,2 L., but for “fellow Ukrainians”. Coincidently, prior the protests Ukrainian Parliament adopted afore-mentioned Law #1389-VIII , protecting interests of “Fellow Ukrainians” in cheap imported cars. It begs questions: is it wise economic policy developing second-hand market of imported cars?; why MPs did not abandon import duty/tax / tariffs on new cars from EU? Surely, protests are not flash-mobs of non-sofisticated brooche-drivers? Of carefree souls who may not tell between their and some-one-else’ property. Ukrainian traders in brooche-cars surely aware that “Fellow Ukrainians” might fail getting certificates of title on their temporarily imported cars without some exrta-fee.