The Cochin Chamber of Commerce and Industry organised an Online Session on ‘Latest Changes under Customs Law’ on Thursday, 17th September 2020 on the Zoom Platform.
The President of the Chamber Mr. V Venugopal welcomed the participants to the virtual meeting.
The Speakers for this session were Mr. Prabhakaran P M - Partner & Head of Kochi Office, Lakshmi Kumaran & Sridharan; Ms. Lakshmi Menon – Partner – Customs and International Trade Team, Lakshmi Kumaran & Sridharan; and Mr. Karthik Nair, Joint Partner – Kochi Office, Lakshmi Kumaran & Sridharan.
Commencing the Session Mr. Karthik Mr. Nair said that to achieve the goal of a strong self-reliant India, Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan has been initiated by the Government with encouraging slogans of ‘Vocal for Local’ and Make in India, Make for the World. With a view to promote manufacturing in India, Section 65 of the Customs Act has been amended over a period of time to promote the initiative of manufacturing in-bond to an importer who can import raw materials and capital goods without payment of duty for manufacturing and other operations in-bond and export.
He further added that In Bond Manufacturing offers deferred import duty on capital goods as well as raw material or inputs used in bonded manufacturing. The import duty gets remitted if the finished goods are exported. However, if the finished goods are cleared in the domestic market, the import duty on raw material used becomes payable, but without any burden of interest. The Session covered in detail the Nuances of bonded manufacturing, types of beneficiaries, benefits of bonded manufacturing, procedure for clearance of manufacture and capital goods, accounts and records maintenances and open issues and challenges in bond manufacturing.
Mr. Prabhakaran, in his talk, gave the participants an overview of the Customs (Administration of Rules of Origin under Trade Agreements) Rules, 2020 (CAROTAR). He said that the Ministry of Finance has issued the Customs Rules, 2020 effective from 21st September, 2020 which prescribes various obligations and guidelines, for claiming the origin based Customs duty exemptions and concessions. The Webinar covered in detail the Declaration in the BoE, Information on Origin of Goods, Claim of preferential rate of duty under a Trade Agreement, Responsibility of Importers, and Verification by Customs Authority.
Speaking at the session Ms. Lakshmi Menon said that an importer is now required to do due diligence before importing the goods to ensure that they meet the prescribed originating criteria. A list of minimum information that the importer is required to possess has also been provided in the rules along with general guidance. Also, an importer would now have to enter certain origin related information in the Bill of Entry, as available in the Certificate of Origin. The new Rules will support the importer to correctly ascertain the country of origin, properly claim the concessional duty and assist Customs authorities in smooth clearance of legitimate imports under FTAs. The new rules would strengthen the hands of the Customs in checking any attempted misuse of the duty concessions under FTAs, she said.
To promote the ease of doing business, CBIC has implemented faceless assessment which is similar to the e-assessment (faceless assessment) under Income Tax law in a phased manner, Ms. Menon said. Presently, it has been launched in Bangalore and Chennai Customs Zones and will be extended to all airports, ports, inland container depots throughout India by the end of the year. As a major structural reform, the National e-Assessment Centre (NeAC) based in Delhi will now act as the single point of contact between the taxpayer and the tax department. It will facilitate and co-ordinate the proceedings in a centralized manner. The webinar examined the objectives and aspects of the Scheme of Assessment proposed to be undertaken through the Customs Automated System.
Following this, there was a brief discussion wherein the Speaker clarified the issues raised by the participants.
The meeting ended with the Deputy Secretary of the Chamber, Mr. Manu Varghese, thanking everyone for having participated in the meeting.