Importers can get shipments faster, face less penalties

Importers can expedite their shipments and face fewer transactions as part of a government action plan to regulate cross-border trade.

The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) on Friday unveiled a national trade facilitation action plan to reduce red tape under three heads – legal, administrative and technological changes. The idea is to reduce the cost and time involved in cross-border trade, make the rule of law more predictable, and increase the ease of doing business. This effort is also part of India’s commitment to trade facilitation under the World Trade Organization Agreement.

A key goal is to reduce 12 hours for overseas air cargo and 24 hours for overseas sea cargo. The target is 48 hours for inland sea cargo and 24 hours for inland air cargo. It is the CBIC hopes, it will improve the investment climate in the country.

The CBIC’s plan proposes to limit the voluntary disclosure of breach of fines and penalties, release of shipments before final assessment of tariffs and introduction of new shipment inspection requirements. During the epidemic the customs department took various steps to reduce paperwork and eliminate the physical interface between traders and officials. Cutting red tape and facilitating border trade is a priority for the Narendra Modi administration, as the World Bank has flagged it as one of the key determinants of what can be done easily in any country.

India has been working tirelessly to improve its global rankings to facilitate doing business. The World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 report noted that India’s reform efforts targeted all areas measured in the rankings, focusing on areas such as tax payments, cross-border transactions and pattern resolution. According to a World Bank report, India has risen “considerably higher” by rising from 130 in the Doing Business 201 in the rankings to in3 in the Doing Business 2020 rankings. The goal of the latest trade facilitation program is to help improve India’s position in the top 50. The World Bank’s ‘Cross-Border Trade’ index measures the time and cost associated with the supply of exports and imports and covers documentary consent.

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