TBILISI, DFWatch–Breakaway South Ossetia plans to charge customs tax for goods to the region’s lower east corner, to the detriment of the Georgians living there who depend on the trade.
A customs point will be opened at the Razdakhan checkpoint near Akhalgori, “to control the quality and volume of goods entering Georgia”, Murat Tskhovrebov, head of the Tskhinvali customs committee, said at a press conference on October 2.
Akhalgori is a predominantly ethnic Georgian enclave in the southeasternmost end of South Ossetia. Georgia controlled it until the war with Russia in 2008, after which it was renamed as “Leningor”.
Being located close to Tbilisi, Akhalgori residents carry mainly fruits and vegetables from Georgia proper for their own consumption and also for trade, as the price is much higher in South Ossetia that in Georgia proper. Moreover, these products may be seen as far as in Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia.
The trade in fruit and vegetables continued after the new de facto border was established by Russian forces. Residents are permitted to carry a maximum of 50 kilograms of goods across the administrative border, a limit that has so far been enforced by superficial observation.
Although currently the product imported to Akhalgori don’t incur taxation, usually people have to pay informal fees to officials at the checkpoint. But after the customs starts operating the cargo will be checked and the owner will pay tax. The amount of tax is yet undecided.