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Customs authorities to monitor imports under FTAs ​​to curb evasion of duties



The benefits of the waiver may be denied to importers of mobile phones, white goods, set-top boxes, agarbatti, cameras and other electronic products if the misuse of free trade agreements (FTAs) is discovered during verification based on the rules of origin.

Customs authorities would closely monitor imports of these products coming from countries with which India has FTAs, from September 21, officials at the finance ministry said, in order to curb customs evasion and the rampant misuse of such agreements. that were harming domestic industry.

“Customs may also request supporting documents and information and, when in doubt, deny the benefit of the FTA duty concession or allow it pending interim verification,” one official added.

While India’s exports to FTA partner countries remain almost low under major deals, imports grew rapidly leading to a widening trade deficit.

In the case of ASEAN countries, the trade gap in goods increased from $ 5 billion in 2010 to over $ 22 billion currently. From the position of a $ 2 billion surplus with Vietnam, at the beginning of the FTA in 2010, India now has a trade deficit of around $ 3 billion with it. The same is the case with Singapore, where the trade deficit is over $ 4 billion. The trade gap has widened with Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.

“FTAs were expected to be mutually beneficial to all partner countries. However, this is not how trade under FTAs ​​has progressed,” an official said.

Products like smartphone, TV, set-top box, digital camera, mobile phone parts, etc. coming from this road from Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia, for example, did not meet the rules of origin criteria, investigations have revealed.

“Last year, DRI uncovered a large-scale fraud where Arecanut from a third non-FTA country was being imported into India by an FTA partner country, properly covered by Certificates of Origin which was found to be accurate. “In some limited cases the goods were being smuggled,” said a second official. Similar misuse was found in black pepper, cocoa powder.

In the last five years, Customs have uncovered fraudulent claims under the FTA in the amount of SEK 1,200.

The Ministry of Finance issued new rules for the administration of the Rules of Origin under the FTA – which will take effect on September 21 – which places the burden of verification on importers, so they must meet the origin criteria for the concession of customs.

Strict deadlines for verification by the exporting country would ensure that the abuse is stopped, officials added.

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