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Non-utilization of various initiatives of the Department by the trade is a major concern: Principal Chief Commissioner of Customs, Chennai

The customs have initiated several trade friendly measures which will help them to save on an average seven thousand rupees in handling a container in the Ports but the trade have not fully availed of the facilities to make concessions meaningful. The facilities include cutting down the cost of handling of containers, 15 days deferred duty payment facility to AEO certified companies which should help them in rotation of funds.

Mr M Ajit Kumar Principal Chief Commissioner of customs Chennai was making these observations while inaugurating the Outreach program on Trade Facilitation jointly organized by the Chennai Customs and Southern Chapter of the Federation of Indian Exporters Organization in a city hotel last week.

He said though the department ญญญญญญญญญ has initiated several measures, including Direct Port Delivery and Entry, e-sealing, RFID, AEO program. with the intention of reducing the  transaction cost of exports and the dwell time in the handling of import-export cargo, the trade and industry has not responded as expected in utilizing them. 

The department is today using advanced technology for faster clearance of EXIM cargo. However, unless the industry accepts the changes that are happening and adopts new technology, it will not benefit, he stressed. He gave the example of benefit to the trade due to Direct Port Delivery where exporters and importers can save a minimum of Rs 7,000 per container. Similarly, AEO-certified companies can defer duty payment up to 15 days. The aim of the department is to reach at least the 35th ranking in trading across borders from the present 80th.

He also informed that Direct Port Delivery will be available only to AEO operators from April 1, 2019. The facility was provided to all members of the trade but it did not work out as expected,

 Welcoming the participants, the newly-elected Regional Chairman of FIEO, Mr Israr Ahmed, said that exports will be difficult in 2019 due to various non-tariff barriers for Indian products as also the removal of GSP benefits by the US.

Due to uncertainty in the market, buyers across the globe are reducing orders and hence exporters may be forced to send multiple consignments with limited time for delivery. Hence, unless exporters come up with a new platform and utilize the new initiatives of the department, the products cannot be competitive. He also referred to the IGST pending to exporters due to the claiming of higher DBK during the period July 1, 2017 to November 30, 2017, EGM errors, integration issues.

Ms Sudha Koka, IRS, Commissioner of Customs, highlighted the various initiatives taken by her department to clear the IGST refund claims pending due to SB005 and PFMS error. She added that the Customs Help Desk at FIEO, which is functional in the 2nd week of every month, helps in clearing thousands of shipping bills pending due to various errors. 

 Talking about IGST refund pendency, she said that at the Commissionerate  of Chennai  Customs, 1,52,899 shipping bills have been filed with claims of Rs 7,688 crore, of which 1,14,798 shipping bills worth Rs 6,730 crore were sanctioned on time.

The balance pending shipping bills are due to various issues, including non-transmission error for a total of 25,539 worth Rs 6,444 crore, SB000 totalling 5,502 worth Rs 134.83 crore, and SB006 totalling 1,355 worth Rs 19.54 crore. Meanwhile, 4,551 shipping bills worth Rs 75.343 crore are under rectifiable errors, which can be sanctioned immediately.

The session was attended by 200 leading exporters from Chennai representing different sectors, including leather, textiles, Pharmaceuticals, Processed Food.

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