In India custom clearance is a complex and time taking procedure that every export face in his export business. Physical control is still the basis of custom clearance in India where each consignment is manually examined in order to impose various types of export duties. High import tariffs and multiplicity of exemptions and export promotion schemes also contribute in complicating the documentation and procedures. So, a proper knowledge of the custom rules and regulation becomes important for the exporter. For clearance of export goods, the exporter or export agent has to undertake the several formalities.

1. Export procedure – Shipping Bill: 

  • For clearance of export goods, the exporter has to obtain an Importer- Export Code (IEC) number from the DGFT prior to filing of Shipping Bill. Under the EDI System, IEC number is received online by the Customs System from the DGFT. The exporter is also required to register authorized foreign exchange dealer code (through which export proceeds are expected to be realized) and open a current account in the designated bank for credit of Drawback incentive, if any
  • All the exporters intending to export under the export promotion scheme need to get their licenses etc. registered at the Customs Station. For such registration, original documents are required.

Export of Goods and Services

 2. Waiver of GR Form 

Generally the processing of Shipping Bills requires the production of a GR form that is used to monitor the foreign exchange remittance in respect of the export goods. However, there are few exceptions when the GR form is not required. These exceptions include export of goods valued not more than US $25,000/- and export of gifts valued upto Rs.5 lakhs.

[Refer RBI Notifications No.FEMA.23(R)/2000-RB, dated 3-5-2000) 

3. Arrival of export goods at docks: 

The goods brought for the purpose of export are allowed entry to the customs area on the strength of the check list and other declarations filed by the exporter in the Service Center. The custodian has to endorse the quantity of goods actually received on the reverse of the check list

4. Customs examination of export goods: 

After the receipt of the goods in the customs area, the exporter/ customs broker may contact the Customs Officer designated for the purpose, and present the check list with the endorsement of custodian and other declarations along with all original documents such as, Invoice and Packing list, ARE-1, etc. The Customs Officer may verify the packages of the goods actually received and enter the same into the system and thereafter mark the Electronic Shipping Bill, handing over all original documents to the Dock Appraiser who assigns a Customs Officer to carry out examination of goods, if required under the Risk management System and indicate the officers’ name and the packages to be examined, if any, on the check list and return it to the exporter/ Customs Broker.

 5. Examination Norms 

  • The Board has been fixing norms for examination of export consignments and such norms depend upon the quantum of incentive, value of export goods, country of destination etc. The instructions under the Risk Management System and examination order by the Appraising Groups follow the norms framed in this regard.
  • After presentation of goods for registration to Customs and determination of action as to whether or not to examine the goods, no amendments request in the normal course should be entertained. However, in case an exporter still wishes to change any of the critical parameters resulting in change of value, Drawback, port etc. such consignment should be subjected to examination to rule out malafide in the request of the exporter. 
  • Notwithstanding the examination norms, any export consignment can be examined by the Customs (even up to 100%), if there is any specific intelligence in respect of the such consignment. Further, to test the compliance by trade, once in three months a higher percentage of consignments (say for example, all the first 50 consignments or a batch of consecutive 100 consignments presented for examination in a particular day) would be taken up for examination. Out of the consignments selected for examination a minimum of two packages with a maximum of 5% of packages (subject to a maximum of 20 packages) would be taken up for checking/examination. 
  • In case export goods are stuffed and sealed in the presence of Customs/Central Excise officers at the factory of manufacture/ICD/CFS/warehouse and any other place where the Commissioner has, by a special order, permitted, it may be ensured that the containers should be bottle sealed or lead sealed. Also, such consignments shall be accompanied by an examination report in the prescribed form. In case of export through bonded trucks, the truck should be similarly bottle sealed or lead sealed. In case of export by ordinary truck/other means, all the packages are required to be lead sealed.
  •  Routine examination of perishable export cargo is not to be conducted. Customs resort to examination of such cargo only on the basis of credible intelligence or information and with prior permission of the concerned Assistant Commissioner/ Deputy Commissioner. Further, the perishable cargo which is taken up for examination should be given Customs clearance on the day itself, unless there is contravention of Customs laws. (Refer Circular No.8/2007-Cus., dated 22-1-2007]

 6. Drawal of samples:

The representative sample from the consignment is drawn in accordance with the orders of the proper officer. If considered necessary, the Assistant / Deputy Commissioner, may order sample to be drawn for purposes other than testing such as for visual inspection and verification of description, market value inquiry, etc.

 7. Amendments 

  • Any correction/amendment in the check list generated after filing of declaration can be made at the Service Centre provided the documents have not yet been submitted in the EDI system and the Shipping Bill number has not been generated. Where corrections are required to be made after the generation of the Shipping Bill number or after the goods have been brought into the Export Dock, the amendments will be carried out in the following manner: 
  • If the goods have not yet been allowed “Let Export” the amendments may be permitted by the Assistant / Deputy Commissioner (Exports).
  • Where the “Let Export” order has already been given, amendments may be permitted only by the Additional/Joint Commissioner in charge of Export. 
  • In both the cases, after the permission for amendments has been granted, the Assistant Commissioner/Deputy Commissioner (Export) may approve the amendments on the EDI system on behalf of the Additional/Joint Commissioner. Where the print out of the Shipping Bill has already been generated, the exporter *may first surrender all copies of the Shipping Bill to the Dock/Shed Appraiser/Superintendent for cancellation before amendment is approved on the system.

 8. Drawback claim: 

  • After actual export of the goods, the Drawback claim is automatically processed through EDI system by the officers of Drawback Branch on first-come-first-served basis. The status of the Shipping Bills and sanction of Drawback claim can be ascertained from the query counter set up at the Service Center. If any query is raised or deficiency noticed, the same is also shown on the terminal and a print out thereof may be obtained by the authorized person of the exporter from the Service Centre. The exporters are required to reply to such queries through the Service Centre. The claim will come in queue of the EDI system only after reply to queries/ deficiencies is entered in the Service Centre.
  • All the claims sanctioned on a particular day are enumerated in a scroll and transferred to the Bank through the system. The bank credits the drawback amount in the respective accounts of the exporters. The bank may send a fortnightly statement to the exporters of such credits made in their accounts 

9. Export General Manifest: 

  • All the shipping lines/agents need to furnish the Export General Manifests, Shipping Bill-wise, to the Customs electronically before departure of the conveyance. 
  • Apart from lodging the EGM electronically the shipping lines need to continue to file manual EGMs along with the exporter copy of the Shipping Bills in the Export Department where they would be entered in a register. The shipping lines may obtain acknowledgement indicating the date and time at which the EGMs were received by the Export Department.

10 Sealing of Export Goods: electronic sealing facility

  • Board has laid down a simplified procedure for stuffing and sealing of export goods by introducing self-sealing subject to certain conditions. 
  • Exporter shall inform the details of the premises whether a factory or a warehouse or any other place where container stuffing is to be carried out to the jurisdictional officer atleast 15 days before first planned movement of a consignment from his factory premises for consideration of grant of permission by the jurisdictional Commissioner. 
  • Customs formation granting the self sealing permission shall circulate the permission along with GSTIN of the exporter to all Customs Houses/Station concerned. Principal Commissioners/ Commissioners would also communicate to RMD the IEC of the exporters newly granted permission for self-sealing; exporters already operating under self-sealing procedure, exporters permitted factory stuffing facility, AEOs. 
  • Exporter shall seal container with tamper-proof electronic seal of standard specification before leaving the premises. The physical serial number of the electronic seal shall be declared *by the exporter at the time of filing integrated online Shipping Bill. Prior to sealing the container, exporter shall feed data such as name of exporter, IEC, GSTIN, description of goods, tax invoice number, name of authorized signatory (for affixing the e-seal) and Shipping number in the electronic seal 
  • Exporter shall procure the RFID seals from vendors conforming to the standards specified by the Board. 
  • All consignments in self-seal containers shall be subject to risk based criteria and intelligence, if any, for inspection/ examination at the port of export. At the port/ ICD, Customs officers would verify the integrity of the seals to check for any sign of tampering enroute.

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