New Delhi: Streamlining the procedure for clearance of consignments, CBEC today came out with revised guidelines to help the SME sector and promote paperless declarations without any need for supporting documents.
It has also decided to merge the two facilitation schemes — Accredited Clients Programme (ACP) and Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) into a combined three-tier AEO programme.
According to a statement by the Finance Ministry, the scope of these programmes has been enhanced “so as to provide further benefits to the entities who have demonstrated strong internal control system and willingness to comply with the laws administered by the Central Board of Excise and Customs.”
Prominent features of new programme are special focus on small and medium scale entities – any entity handling 25 import or export documents annually can become part of this programme, it said.
According to the ministry, under the revised CBEC guidelines, inclusion of Direct Port Delivery of imports will ensure just-in-time inventory management by manufacturers – clearance from wharf to warehouse.
It said another prominent feature of revised guidelines is focus on paperless declarations with no supporting documents.
Other features include provision of deferred payment of duties – delinking duty payment and customs clearance, mutual recognition agreements with other customs administrations, faster disbursal of drawback amount, fast tracking of refunds an adjudications, self-certified copies of FTA/PTA origin related or any other certificates required for clearance would be accepted.
Besides, the ministry said that recognition by partner government agencies and other stakeholders are part of this programme.
The AEO programme seeks to provide tangible benefits in the form of faster customs clearances and simplified customs procedures to those business entities which offer a high degree of security guarantees in respect of their role in the supply chain. The AEO concept has been introduced by the Brussels- headquartered World Customs Organisation (WCO).
ACP was introduced in 2005 to give assured facilitation at all the EDI (Electronic Data Interchange)-enabled Customs stations to importers who are assessed as highly compliant.
This means that in most cases, excepting a small number of occasions when their consignments will be randomly selected for checks by Customs officers, the Indian Customs EDI System will accept the declared classification and valuation and assess duty on the basis of importers’ self-declaration.