Government of India
Ministry of Finance
Department of Revenue
Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs
North Block, New Delhi-110001
Tel. No. +91-11-23092849, Fax : +91-11-23092890
E-mail : [email protected]
Date: 27th September 2021
It gives me pleasure to share the significant news of the successful conclusion of the 4th Mutual Recognition Arrangement in respect of the Authorized Economic Operator Program (AEO-MRA) with U. S. Customs and Border Protection (U.S. CBP) through a virtual ceremony last week. With the volume of our trade with USA being over Eighty Thousand Million USD in the year 2020-21, this initiative is further expected to give a positive thrust to trade. With the implementation of MRA, the goods exported by Indian AEOs will enjoy enhanced trade facilitation at all the ports of entry in USA. This is all the more important in the light of the call of the Hon’ble Prime Minister to achieve exports of USD 400 billion during this year. I appreciate the efforts of officers of the Directorate of International Customs in negotiating the Agreement.
The week gone by also saw many trade friendly measures being notified on the GST and Customs sides.
The Government, on the recommendation of GST Council made during its 45th Meeting, notified certain amendments in CGST Rules, 2017 vide Notification No. 35/2021-Central Tax dated 24.09.2021. Besides, 4 circulars were also issued last week to clarify various issues pertaining to GST. These include clarification on the interpretation of scope of “intermediary services” and “establishment of distinct persons” for considering supply of a service as export of service.
Further, during the VC held last week with the Zonal Chiefs on various issues, presentations were made by Principal Commissioner, GST Policy Wing, and Joint Secretary, Tax Research Unit, explaining the details and rationale behind the recommendations made by the GST Council. This now needs to be conveyed to our officers and the taxpayers so that the benefits intended for industry and trade are quickly understood and implemented. For this, it is also necessary that outreach programs and social media campaigns are conducted in the vernacular medium also. Tax payers would then be truly empowered to reap the benefits of the recommendations without having to depend on other sources.
On the Customs side, the Government has notified Electronic Duty Credit Ledger Regulations, 2021 specifying the manner of issuance and use of duty credit under the Scheme for Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products (RoDTEP). A Circular No. 21/2021-Customs dated 24.09.2021 has been issued extending an additional measure to ease the current export container shortage. Now marine containers that are imported temporarily for re-export shall be allowed extension of time beyond the statutory period of 6 months provided such containers are re-exported, laden with cargo, within the next 3 months.
On the Anti-smuggling and Anti-evasion fronts in Customs and GST, many notable detections and recoveries were made by field formations during last week.
The New Customs House, Mumbai Cus – I Zone, detected two commercial fraud case where 102 pre-assembled dumpers, not mounted on a chassis, were being imported, declaring them to be in Completely Knocked Down condition to claim concessional duty at 15% BCD thereby allegedly evading payment of duty at 25%. Differential duty involved is Rs. 154 crores (approx.). The Bhopal Zone has reported major detections worth Rs. 218 crores while checking Export Obligation Discharge Certificates for the imports of plastic granules under the Advance Authorisation scheme and some machinery items under the EPCG schemes.
The DGGI’s Meerut Zonal Unit detected another big case of short payment of GST to the tune of Rs. 180 crores on composite supply of Works Contract Services where the party was not declaring the taxable value correctly. The party, so far, has voluntarily paid an amount of Rs. 10.25 crores. The DGGI Surat Zonal Unit made a case of non-payment of GST amounting to Rs. 17.86 crores pertaining to supply of services and had recovered the said amount of Rs. 17.86 crores in cash. In the instant case, the assessee had received the consideration for the transfer of their leasehold rights but had not discharged their GST liability.
I congratulate the officers and staff for the above detection.
On the subject of smuggling, the United States of America has handed over 157 antiques to India during the visit of our Hon’ble Prime Minister last week. These items were stolen or smuggled out of India over a period of time and mostly belong to the period between the 11th and 14th centuries. The story starts when an intelligence was passed on by DRI to US Customs in 2007 regarding smuggling of antiquities in a shipment that was declared to contain “Garden Tea Sets” in the shipping bill presented in India. The shipment, on examination by US Customs in the presence of our officer was found to contain various idols/figurines (mostly of metals). Thereafter, investigations led to a large number of Indian items of cultural and ethnographic significance being intercepted and recovered by US Law Enforcement Agencies from time to time. Searches conducted by US Customs of the premises of a prime suspect emanating from the above case led to seizures of a large number of antiquities. Some of these are now on their way back home.
Another good news is that CRCL has been awarded a certificate of recognition by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for successfully participating in four successive rounds of the International Collaborative Exercises (ICE) programme over 2018-20. The ICE programme assists drug testing laboratories to assess their performance and resort to corrective action wherever necessary.
This being the last letter of the month, it is time to bid farewell to our officers superannuating this month. Shri Manoj Krishna, Pr. DG, DGGST and Shri Nishith Goyal, Chief Commissioner, Patna (Prey) Zone, would be superannuating after long careers of 34 and 33 years respectively. While wishing each of them a happy and active post retirement life, I also extend my best wishes to all other officers and staff of various cadres and ranks who would be superannuating this month.
(M. Ajit Kumar)
All Officers and Staff of Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs