Vanaja N. Sarna



Dated- 21st July, 2017

Dear Colleagues,

The promotion and posting orders of Principal Commissioners has been issued on 20th July, 2017. My heartiest congratulations to the newly promoted officers. I urge all the officers to join their place of posting within the stipulated time frame given in the said order.

You are aware that Notification No. 16/2017 – Central Tax dated 7th July, 2017 has been issued specifying conditions for acceptance of Letter of Undertaking (LUT) in place of bond. You would appreciate that we are in a trust based taxation regime. The objective of allowing LUT in place of bond is to facilitate exporters, and towards this end, the said notification liberalizes the conditions for exporters, extending the benefit of LUT to all kinds of exporters, whether manufacturers, merchants or service providers. The Commissioners have also been empowered to waive off the requirement of bank guarantee with bond depending upon the individual cases of exporters. This power needs to be exercised with the objective of facilitating exports.

However, I am receiving grievances on delays in facilitation of exporters. The intent of the Government has been clearly spelled out in two circulars issued on this matter, namely Circular No. 2/2/2017-GST dated 4th July, 2017 and Circular No. 4/4/2017 – GST dated 7th July, 2017. It must be ensured that every exporter, whether registered in Central Excise or Service Tax in pre-GST regime or not, should be facilitated to the maximum extent possible. The difficulties, if any, must be brought to the notice of the Board immediately. I request that every Assistant/Deputy Commissioner is made aware of the intent and objectives of the Government on this issue.

In our endeavor to ensure smooth implementation of GST and redress apprehensions on queries of importers and exporters, three customs houses, namely Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai-I have been identified to examine the queries of exporters and importers and furnish draft response to the Board within a day. You may like to go through Member (Customs) letter dated 14th July, 2017 in this regard for further details and compliance.

On 20th July, 2017 the Hon’ble Finance Minister launched the National Trade Facilitation Action Plan 2017-2020 as part of the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement on Trade Facilitation (TFA). This agreement provides an opportunity to progress further on the trade facilitation measures. In order to optimize the gains of trade facilitation, an Action Plan containing specific activities to further ease out the bottlenecks to trade was required to be in place, which has been done. The overall vision of the government is to see India as an active facilitator of trade provides the foundation for an integrated road map for trade facilitation with the vision of four pillars in mind –transparency, technology, simplification of procedures and risk and infrastructure augmentation which will provide a definite direction to the trade facilitation objectives.

The Secretary General, World Customs Organization Mr. Kunio Mikuriya is visiting India presently and today I was the keynote speaker at the inaugural function of the Trade Facilitation Agreement Workshop. Several of our officers working actively on customs facilitation were a part of this workshop. Later in the day, the Secretary General interacted with the Members of the Board and the Revenue Secretary which was followed by a meeting with the Hon’ble Finance Minister.

Now with the full Board in place, the charge allocation order among st the Members has been issued on 19th July, 2017.

Finally, on the GST awareness front, I would like you all to continue with the various outreach programmes with the same fervor as before the roll-out to ensure continued education among st trade, industry and general public.

With warm wishes,

Yours sincerely,

(Vanaja N. Sarna)


All officers and staff of Central Board of Excise and Customs

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