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Trade Facilitation Measures during outbreak of COVID-19

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Document Subject Measures Taken
Instruction no. 02/2020-Customs; dt 20-02-2020 24*7 Customs clearance 24x7 custom clearance facility has been implemented at all custom formations to avoid any supply chain disruption Novel Coronavirus Help Desk for EXIM Trade A dedicated single window COVID-19 helpdesk for EXIM trade has been created on CBIC website to facilitate quick resolution of issue(s) faced by importer/exporter.
Nodal Officers from the CBIC Customs Zones/Formations for facilitating Customs clearances amidst the Covid-19 crisis Nodal officers from CBIC Customs Zones for facilitating Customs clearances amidst the Covid-19 crisis A nodal officer has been designated in each customs zone of India who can be approached for any issue pertaining to clearance of cargo.
Circular No.15/2020-Customs; dt 28-02-2020 Implementation of automated clearance on All-India basis To minimize human interface and maximize social distancing, the OOC (Out of Charge) work, so far performed by an officer, has been assigned to the EDI system. The machine-based automated release of import consignments has been launched throughout India on 05.03.2020.
Circular No.17/2020-Customs; dt 03-04-2020 Circular No.21/2020-Customs; dt 21-04-2020 Requirement of different types of customs bond has been dispensed with. To address the difficulties faced due to non-availability of stamp papers during the lock-down period, the requirement of different types of customs bond has been dispensed with. Traders can submit undertaking on plain paper in lieu of bond.
Notification No. 20/2020– Customs; dt 09-04-2020 Exemption of customs duty on ventilators, personal protection equipment, covid-19 testing kits and inputs for these good. Prioritized clearance of critical goods used for fighting COVId-19, such as medical equipment, drugs and pharmaceuticals, testing kits, PPEs, is ensured. Exemption from basic customs duty and health cess has been granted to such goods- ventilators, masks, personal protection equipment, testing kits and inputs used in manufacturing these items.
Circular no. 18/2020-Customs dt.11-04-2020 Clearance of goods under India’s Trade Agreements without original Certificate of Origin. Provisional clearance of goods while extending preferential treatment, without the submission of original signed certificates of origin.
Circular no. 19/2020-Customs dt.13-04-2020 Paperless Customs – Electronic Communication of PDF based Gate-pass and OOC Copy of Bill of Entry to Custom Brokers/Importers. Enabling electronic communication of out of charge, bill of entry and gate-pass to importers/customs brokers.
Instruction no. 04/2020-Customs; dt 27-04-2020 Guidelines for conduct of personal hearings in virtual mode under Customs ACT, 1962 Personal hearing in respect of any proceeding under Customs Act, 1962 may be conducted through video conferencing with a view to ensure social distancing and reduce physical presence.
Instruction no. 03/2020-Customs; dt 09-04-2020 Special refund and drawback disposal drive. Drive to expeditiously process all pending customs refund and drawback claims in order to provide immediate relief to business entities, especially MSMEs.
Circular No.22/2020-Customs, dt. 21-04-2020 IGST refunds on exports-extension in SB005 alternate mechanism. Extension of the facility of SB005 error correction in the Customs EDI system for Shipping Bills with date upto 31.12.2019.
Letter dated 23.04.2020 Waiver of Demurrage Charges levied by ICDs/CFSs/Ports/Terminal Operators during lockdown. Zonal Customs Chief Commissioners have asked local custodians (Inland Container Depots and Container Freight Stations) to exempt demurrage charges during the lockdown period. An Ordinance to provide relaxation in the provisions of certain Acts and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto The time limit for filing of appeal, furnishing of return, or any other compliance under the Customs Act or Customs Tariff Act, which was expiring from 20th March 2020 to 29th June 2020, has been extended up to 30th June 2020.
As a relief measure for other countries battling with the pandemic, specific export shipments of critical drugs, pharmaceuticals, testing kits, personal protection equipment etc. are actively facilitated by customs at the borders. Some of these shipments are donation from the Government of India.
Based on email requisitions, computers and related accessories have been permitted by Customs to be transferred from the bonded premises to residence of employees of Software Technology Park of India to facilitate work from home during the lockdown period.
CBIC actively coordinated with other Ministries for ensuring that customs operations are declared as an essential service during the lock down period, which has allowed smooth operations at all the customs stations. In line with the aforesaid, further directives were issued permitting movement of customs brokers and transporters, and allowing functioning of warehouses during the lock down period.
CBIC actively coordinated with other Ministries for ensuring that customs operations are declared as an essential service during the lock down period, which has allowed smooth operations at all the customs stations. In line with the aforesaid, further directives were issued permitting movement of customs brokers and transporters, and allowing functioning of warehouses during the lock down period.1. All customs formations have been asked to show greater sensitivity in dealing with cargo from affected areas, condone the delay in filing import declarations and waive the late filing fees in genuine cases.
Special care has been taken in clearance of passengers coming from affected countries. Separate channels were created at the airports, port terminals and land customs stations for such passengers. Customs officers strictly followed instructions to use masks, gloves and sanitizers.
CBIC has coordinated with the port and airport authorities and other custodians to see that ample space is available for storing EXIM cargo in the customs area.
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