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News CUSTOMS

  • Jul 08, 2020
  • Govt eases export, import process; lays out ‘Turant Customs’ plan for faster clearance


    Govt eases export, import process; lays out ‘Turant Customs’ plan for faster clearance
    By: Samrat Sharma | Published: July 7, 2020 5:57 PM
    The government has introduced a contactless process in customs, which would enhance the in-house testing capability of the customs.
    customs, custom clearance, contactless customs, turant customs,

    The government has unveiled new and modern testing equipment inducted into the Central Revenues Control Laboratory (CRCL), aimed at making imports and exports clearances faster.
    In an effort to smoothen the process of imports and exports in India, the government has introduced a contactless process, which would enhance the in-house testing capability of the customs. M Ajit Kumar, Chairman, Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs (CBIC) unveiled new and modern testing equipment inducted into the Central Revenues Control Laboratory (CRCL), aimed at making imports and exports clearances faster, said a statement by the Ministry of Finance. Under the CBIC’s flagship programme — Turant Customs — the government has equipped the testing facilities of the CRCL with state-of-art equipment, costing about Rs 80 crores.

    With the new upgradation, the exporters can self manage changes in their bank account and AD Code through ICEGATE as well as register on ICEGATE without having to approach a Customs officer. The facility of an automated debit of bonds for importers has also been announced today. It has also been decided that the balance in the bond would be indicated in the import document, which would help importers in planning their imports.

  • Jul 06, 2020
  • $12 billion worth Chinese imports under government lens; customs duty may be hiked

    As India considers steps to curtail cheap and substandard imports from China, it is set to start with raising basic customs duties on dozens of products. This would be followed up with non-tariff measures, such as standard specifications for hundreds of items, in the medium term, sources told FE. Though the move is not patently China-specific and will apply to imports of the specified items from any country, the brunt of the decisions will be borne by China.

    The government is considering a list of 1,173 items — ranging from auto parts, compressors for AC and refrigerators to select steel and aluminium products and electrical machinery — to zero in on products/ sub-products on which the import duties can be hiked. These items are mostly imported from China and can be substituted with local production without much hassles, one of the sources said.

  • Jun 26, 2020
  • 100% physical check of imports: Non-Chinese companies like Apple may be exempt

    Foreign companies such as Apple that import finished goods or inputs from China to India could be spared the recently imposed 100% physical check of shipments from that country, people familiar with the matter told ET. The heightened scrutiny of Chinese imports, which has led to goods getting stuck at ports and airports, follows border hostilities between the two nations and a move to reduce India’s business and trade ties with its neighbour.

    The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) informally flagged the issue to the finance ministry after the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum raised its concern over the matter. The forum, which represents key US companies in India, has also written to the finance ministry on the issue.

    “Their representation is being examined,” a government official said.

    “There is no intention to cause any hardship to industry,” said one of the persons cited above.

  • Jun 26, 2020
  • Government steps up efforts to cut solar panel imports from China, proposes 20-25% customs duty

    To curb imports of solar panels, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has proposed to levy 20-25% basic customs duty, Union power minister RK Singh said. For solar cells, the domestic manufacturing capacity of which is lower, the duty will be 15%, he added. The duty on panels will progressively be increased to 40%.
    The duties are expected to be levied right after the safeguard duty regime on these products ends on July 31.

    The levying of the duty is aimed at reducing imports from China, which continues to be the largest supplier of solar equipment to India even after imposition of the safeguard duty in July 2018.
    The government in July 2018 had imposed a 25% safeguard duty on import of solar cells from China, Malaysia and developed countries.

  • Jun 24, 2020
  • India imposes anti-dumping duty on certain steel products from China, Vietnam, Korea

    India on Tuesday imposed anti-dumping duty on imports of certain type of steel products from China, Vietnam and Korea for five years with a view to guard domestic manufacturers from cheap imports from these countries.

    The duty imposed is in the range of USD 13.07 per tonne to USD 173.1 per tonne on imports of ‘Flat rolled product of steel, plated or coated with alloy of Aluminium and Zinc’ from these three countries.

    The duty was imposed after the Commerce Ministry’s investigation arm Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR), in its probe, concluded that the product was exported to India by these countries below its associated normal value, which resulted in dumping and in turn impacting domestic players.

    “The anti-dumping duty imposed under this notification shall be effective for a period of five years (unless revoked, amended or superseded earlier) from the date of imposition of the provisional anti-dumping duty, that is, October 15, 2019,” the department of revenue said in a notification.

    In international trade parlance, dumping happens when a country or a firm exports an item at a price lower than the price of that product in its domestic market.

  • Jun 19, 2020
  • From infrastructure to hi-tech: Mapping China’s large trade footprint in India

    The deadly border skirmishes between India and China have cast a cloud over trade relations, which have seen the latter rapidly expand its footprint in the Indian economy, spanning infrastructure, physical goods and hi-tech, with the value of total bilateral trade surging 20% in the last six years, according to official data. At least some of this surge, experts admit, has come at the cost of local industry.

    Chinese firms have ploughed huge investments into some of the country’s most iconic tech brands, such as the ride-hailing service Ola, a fintech company Paytm, food-delivery app Zomato and e-commerce platform Flipkart.

    How large are Chinese investments in India and what do the two countries trade in? Mapping these two variables shows bilateral trade clocked an average double-digit growth in the last three years, and much of it to China’s advantage.

    According to data from the commerce ministry, India’s bilateral trade with China was worth nearly $80 billion in 2019. Data posted on India’s Beijing embassy website, which it sourced to China’s customs department, showed total bilateral trade between Jan and Nov 2019 at $84.3 billion, a drop of nearly 3.2% from the previous year’s $ 95.7 billion.

  • Jun 08, 2020
  • Customs dept to launch faceless assessment of consignments from Monday

    In order to improve transparency and the ease of doing business, the customs department will on Monday roll out the first phase of the country-wide faceless assessmemt of consignments. Under the system, consignments will be assessed by officials electronically, irrespective of the port where the goods arrive.
    The first phase will commence in Chennai and Bengaluru. It will cover a specific set of items and will be expanded across India by this calendar year-end.
    "The Board has decided to begin faceless assessment in phases. The first phase would begin from June 8, 2020, in Bengaluru and Chennai for items of imports primarily covered by Chapters 84 and 85 of the Customs Tariff Act, 1975," the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) said in a circular.

    In order to improve transparency and the ease of doing business, the customs department will on Monday roll out the first phase of the country-wide faceless assessmemt of consignments. Under the system, consignments will be assessed by officials electronically, irrespective of the port where the goods arrive.
    The first phase will commence in Chennai and Bengaluru. It will cover a specific set of items and will be expanded across India by this calendar year-end.
    "The Board has decided to begin faceless assessment in phases. The first phase would begin from June 8, 2020, in Bengaluru and Chennai for items of imports primarily covered by Chapters 84 and 85 of the Customs Tariff Act, 1975," the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) said in a circular.

  • Apr 22, 2020
  • Lockdown effect: CBIC extends facility of import, export without furnishing bonds to Customs till May 15

    The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) on Tuesday extended the deadline to import and export goods without furnishing bonds to the Customs authorities by a fortnight till May 15, a move aimed at facilitating trade during the COVID-19 lockdown. In a circular, the CBIC said businesses will, however, have to furnish proper bond to the Customs authorities by May 30 for import and exports done through undertaking till May 15.

    In view of the lockdown, the apex indirect tax body had earlier set end April as the date for import and exports by issuing undertaking. In view of the extension of lockdown till May 3, the trade facilitation measure has now been extended till May 15.

  • Apr 14, 2020
  • CBIC asks tax officers not to seek physical submission of documents for clearing refund dues

    The CBIC has asked its field officers to avoid asking for physical submission of documents from entities who are claiming GST and customs refunds. The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) is running a ‘Special Refund and Drawback Disposal Drive’ this month to clear Rs 18,000 crore worth pending refunds.

    In a letter to Principle Chief Commissioners, the CBIC has said that for facilitation of taxpayers, all communication by field offices must be done using official email IDs. “It may please be noted that the prescribed process doesn’t warrant any physical submission of documents and any such practice must be avoided,” it added.

    The CBIC said the decision to process pending refund claims has been taken with a view to provide immediate relief to the taxpayers in these difficult times even though the GST Law provides 15 days for issuing acknowledgement or deficiency memo, and total 60 days for disposing of refund claims without any liability to pay interest.

  • Apr 10, 2020
  • Government exempts customs duty, health cess on essential medical goods

    In view of the growing demand for ventilators, face masks & surgical masks, PPEs and covid test kits, the central government today decided to grant exemptions from basic customs duty and health cess on the import of these goods.

    This was done considering the escalating demand for medical goods as India enters a crucial phase in its covid-fight. As of now, the country has recorded 5,865 confirmed cases and 169 deaths as various state governments has urged the centre to extend the nation-wide lockdown.

    The health ministry stressed on the rational use of personal protective equipment (PPE) by healthcare workers treating coronavirus patients amid concerns over their dwindling numbers in the country.

  • Apr 04, 2020
  • CBIC allows traders to import, export goods without furnishing bonds

    The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has allowed traders to submit an undertaking instead of furnishing bonds – required by customs for assessment and clearing of goods – in order to prevent delays or disruption in exports or imports caused by Covid 19 pandemic.

    The decision was taken after field formations flagged the unavailability of notarised stamp papers for furnishing the bonds that was being faced by importers, exporters and their authorised custom brokers, during the lockdown period. The Board will review the order after April 14, when the nationwide lockdown ends.

    “In light of unprecedented situation caused due to Covid 19 pandemic, Board has decided to take certain measures for a temporary period, with a view to expedite customs clearance of goods and for maintaining balance between customs control and facilitation of legitimate trade,” CBIC said in a notice Friday, giving relaxation of furnishing bonds till April 30.

    “In the period up to April 30, customs field formations may accept requests for submission of an undertaking from the importer/ exporter in lieu of a bond,” it added.

  • Feb 14, 2020
  • No customs duty on imported solar cells and modules, says ministry

    The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) clarified that the basic customs duty (BCD) on imported solar cells and modules would remain nil in the current financial year.

    In this year's Union Budget, two new item heads were inducted in the customs duty bracket which pertained to solar cells and modules. The Budget proposed a 20 per cent BCD on solar equipment. However, these items will continue at ‘nil’ BCD,” according to the budget speech.


    The announcement led to confusion with the industry claiming that solar equipment is exempted from BCD. Solar cells and modules (under item number 8541) are exempted from any BCD, according to a 2005 notification of the department of revenue.

    MNRE in its notice issued on Thursday said solar will not attract any BCD. “Though the tariff rate on the new tariff items has been increased from nil to 20 per cent, the BCD on (solar cells, not assembled) and (solar cells, assembled in modules or made into panels), remains nil,” said the notice.

    There is already a safeguard duty of 15 per cent levied on imported solar cells and modules, especially those coming from China. Senior officials said the if BCD would be imposed or not from next fiscal would be decided after the safeguard duty expires in July.

  • Feb 04, 2020
  • Customs department may quiz importers on FTA claims

    Indian customs authorities will now be able to question the valuation of imports under free trade agreements (FTA) for up to five years with the country proposing a significant shift in the domestic framework of rules of origin to tackle largescale imports.

    The rules of origin are criteria to determine the source country of a product, based on which they either get tariff concessions or are subjected to duties.

    “Retrospective verification of costing data, value-addition compliance and certificate of origin can be conducted by the customs authorities over a period of five years from the date of import, unless there is a specific time limit prescribed in the FTA... Customs officers will be empowered to check for violations in claims by importers,” said an official aware of the details. “They can enquire and question the claims made in the last five-year period.”

    Further, a certificate of origin submitted by an importer will no longer be the threshold for availing concessional benefits.

    Customs authorities can ask importers to substantiate and satisfy scrutiny undertaken on the question of origin.

    The February 1 budget proposed to amend the customs law by introducing stringent provisions related to rules or origin to strengthen the hands of customs officers to check abuse of FTA provisions.

  • Jan 27, 2020
  • India likely to raise import duties on more than 50 items in Budget

    India plans to increase import duties on more than 50 items including electronics, electrical goods, chemicals and handicrafts, targeting about $56 billion worth of imports from China and elsewhere, officials and industry sources said.

    Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman could make the announcement when she presents her annual budget for 2020/21 on Feb. 1, along with other stimulus measures to revive sagging economic growth, one of the government officials said.

    Higher customs duties are likely to hit goods such as mobile phone chargers, industrial chemicals, lamps, wooden furniture, candles, jewellery and handicraft items, two government sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

    The move could hit smartphone manufacturers that still import chargers or other components such as vibrator motors and ringers, along with retailers such as giant IKEA that is in the process of expanding its footprint in India.

    IKEA had previously flagged higher Indian customs duties as a challenge.

    The government had identified items and decided to increase import tariffs by 5%-10% as recommended by a panel of trade and finance ministry officials, among others, the second government official said.

  • Oct 17, 2019
  • India imposes anti-dumping duty on certain steel imports

    India has imposed a provisional $29-$200 a tonne anti-dumping duty to rein in burgeoning and predatory imports of galvalume steel products from China, Vietnam and Korea which were causing material injury to the domestic industry. The duty will remain in effect for six months. JSW Steel Coated Products, a unit of Sajjan Jindal-led JSW Steel, had moved a petition before the Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) for imposition of the trade remedial measure on imports of the high-end aluminium and zinc coated flat products (galvalume) that find application in roofing purposes to making auto parts. Following investigations, the DGTR found that exporters from these three countries were sending galvalume to India “below their normal values”, causing “material injury” to the domestic producers like JSW Steel, Tata Steel and Bhushan Power and Steel among others. “There is a significant increase in imports of subject goods from subject countries in absolute terms as well as in relation to production and consumption in India.

  • Sep 26, 2019
  • Govt probing significant rise in imports of single-mode optical fibre, may impose safeguard duty

    The government may impose safeguard duty on imports of single-mode optical fibre, as it has initiated a probe into sudden and significant surge in the inbound shipments of the product following a complaint from the domestic industry. According to a notification of the Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR), an application has been filed by Sterlite TechnologiesNSE 2.50 % and Birla Furukawa Fibre Optics for imposition of safeguard duty on the fibre as the increase in imports is impacting them.

  • Sep 19, 2019
  • Govt scraps import duty on open cell TV panel to boost manufacturing

    The government has scrapped import duty on open cell TV panel used to make television sets, as it aims to boost local manufacturing by lowering input costs for TV makers who have been complaining about a slump in demand. The decision to remove 5 percent customs duty will help reduce manufacturing cost by around 3 percent but it wasn't immediately clear if all TV makers will pass on the benefit to consumers. Panasonic said it will pass on the benefit of 3-4 percent reduction to consumers. Finance Ministry in a notification said customs duty on "open-cell (15.6-inch and above), for use in the manufacture of Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) and Light Emitting Diode (LED) TV panels" will be nil as against 5 percent import duty previously.

  • Sep 18, 2019
  • Finance ministry scraps import duty on open cell LED TV panel

    The ministry of finance has scrapped the import duty on open cell LED TV panel from 5% to zero in a late night notification issued on Tuesday. This is the most critical component used in LED TV manufacturing accounting for 65-70% of the total production cost. This is going to reduce television prices considering around 60-65% of TV sets sold in the country are locally produced where the TV panel is procured after paying 5% import duty and also going to give a boost to the Make in India initiative. The government notification issued said “open cell (15.6 inch and above) for use in the manufacture of Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) and Light Emitting Diode (LED) TV panels” has been made nil with immediate effect.

  • Aug 27, 2019
  • Panel to take decision within 60-days under tax amnesty scheme: CBIC

    The revenue department on Monday said the designated committee will take a decision within 60 days on declaration made by an assessee for relief under the service tax and excise duty amnesty scheme. Sabka Vishwas - Legacy Dispute Resolution Scheme, 2019, to reduce legacy service tax and central excise cases will become operational for four months beginning September 1. The scheme provides for total waiver of interest, penalty and fine in all cases, and also immunity from prosecution, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) said in FAQs on the scheme. On how will an applicant come to know about the final decision taken by the designated committee on his or her declaration, the FAQs said: "Within sixty days of filing of a declaration, you will be informed electronically about the final decision taken in the matter".

  • Aug 26, 2019
  • India plans extra tax on vegetable oil imports to boost domestic output: Sources

    India plans to impose an extra 5% tax on vegetable oil imports within weeks and use the revenue to help boost the country's stagnating oilseed production, two government sources said. India is the world's biggest importer of vegetable oils, buying nearly $10 billion worth a year, its biggest import after crude oil and gold. The country's consumption of vegetable oils - including palm oil and soyoil - has trebled over the last 20 years as the population grew and incomes rose, while output has increased by less than a third. Now, the government plans to create an oilseed fund by imposing the 5% surcharge, or cess, that will be used to help Indian farmers step up oilseed production, said the sources, who did not wish to be identified in line with government policy.

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