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Authenticity of concessions under PTAs, FTAs : Customs to approach Pakistani missions

Business Recorder, Pakistan

Authenticity of concessions under PTAs, FTAs : Customs to approach Pakistani missions

29 November 2011

Customs authorities have decided to approach Pakistani missions abroad to verify the authenticity of the duty concessions and exemptions availed under the Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs) and Free Trade Agreements (FTAs).

The Customs will check the certificates of origin used by importers for claiming tariff concessions under the agreements.

Sources told Business Recorder here on Monday that Chief Collector of Customs Nisar Muhammad has issued policy guidelines for the Model Customs Collectorates to conduct post clearance exercise for checking misuse of the PTAs and exemption notifications.

According to the guidelines issued to the MCCs, to ascertain authenticity of certificates of origin the Collectorates should randomly send such certificates to the issuing authority for post-clearance verification.

The assistance of commercial counsellors in Pakistan’s missions in the countries of origin may also be sought in this regard.

"Since a sizeable percentage of imported goods, including raw materials, machinery and other goods specified under various notifications, is either exempt from duty and taxes or chargeable to concessionary rates, there is likelihood of abuse of such exemptions.

The officials dealing with imports should be educated in correct interpretation and application of major exemption SROs.

The Collectorates may develop a mechanism for selective, risk based, post release review of goods cleared under various exemption/concessionary SROs and for the goods falling under chapter 99 of Pakistan Customs Tariff (PCT)," the guidelines said.

Based on the past experiences, nature of goods and duty structure, the collectorates should prepare a list of importable goods prone to mis-declaration of HS Codes.

Examination and assessment of such goods should be monitored closely by supervisory officers.

The collectorates may develop a system of weekly post clearance scrutiny to ensure application of values determined under section 25-A of the Customs Act, it added.

Provisional assessment under Section 81 of the Customs Act should be made very sparingly, only in cases where it is impossible to make correct final assessment for various reasons.

Approval for provisional assessment may preferably be accorded by Additional Collectors.

The assessment officers should regularly consult Valuation Gateway data and other guiding tools like LMB and SCAN prices, for arriving at correct values.

Goods prone to group under-invoicing should be identified and referred to Directorate General of Valuation for further inquiry and determination of correct values, the guidelines added.