Customs extends SWIFT to test online export of wildlife cargo
The Dollar Business Bureau
With the successful implementation of SWIFT for imports and exports, the Government has asked CBEC to test run the online release from Partner Government Agencies (PGAs) for exports from January 5, 2017. The pilot project is to be tested at Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai Air cargo complexes during the handling of wildlife items that are listed under Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Since these items require special handling and the concerned officers at the above-mentioned air cargo complexes have to inspect and certify by endorsing on relevant CITES permits. Though handling and shipping of endangered flora and fauna are restricted to pass through seven earmarked ports, the CBEC has for its pilot project chosen Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai air cargo complexes only. This has been conveyed via its notification no., 1/2017-Customs dated January 4, 2017.
Under the pilot, the following procedures have been detailed by the CBEC that have to be followed:
1. Shipping Bills processed online on ICEGATE or through the Service Centre will be referred to the concerned agency, namely Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) if any No Objection Certificate (NOC) is required. The selection of items to be referred to any agency will be based on criteria specified by the agencies.
2. In the case of imports the list of Customs Tariff Heads (CTHs) for which goods require NOC from the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, will be published on ICEGATE.
3. For granting NoC for goods entered for export, the offices of the WCCB are connected to the ICES. The Officers of WCCB follow the same protocol that is followed in ICES for import, to process NOC in exports. Once a Shipping Bill is filed, the system will determine whether the consignment contains items requiring NOC from the agency. The system will then automatically re-route the Shipping Bill to the concerned WCCB office for granting NOC. Should the Shipping Bill require processing by Customs, it will happen in parallel.
4. Once a Shipping Bill is filed, the system will determine whether the consignment contains items requiring NOC from the agency. The system will then automatically re-route the Shipping Bill to the concerned WCCB office for granting NOC. Should the Shipping Bill require processing by Customs, it will happen in parallel.
4. Based on the list of Shipping Bills marked to the WCCB, the Agency’s officer will retrieve the Shipping Bill online, and record the decision online on ICES. Should any documents be required for verification, for the time being, the Customs Broker or Exporter would have to produce hard copies of check-lists, export licenses, permits and other certificates/documents as required by the agency until customs infrastructure is upgraded to provide uploading of soft copies of such documents. It during this process that the following certifications are issued:
Release - No Objection Certificate
Out of Scope: Item does not require the Agency’s NOC
Reject: Item is not permitted for clearance for “Let Export”.
Withhold NOC: NOC has been temporarily withheld for want of further documentation and/or testing
Provisional NOC: Presently, WCCB does not grant NOC on a provisional basis.
5. Once NOC [Release/Out of Scope/or Provisional NOC] is obtained from the concerned agency and assessment by Customs (in cases where assessment is required) is completed, the exporter may register goods or present them for stuffing into containers (in case of containerized cargo). In cases where a sample needs to be drawn, the concerned agency will arrange with the exporter to collect them prior to the issuance of NOC. The rest of the procedure for registration of goods, examination (where required) and ‘Let Export Order’ will remain as at present. Since, the agency’s officer records the NOC online, Customs shall not insist on the physical copy of the NOC.
6. Where the concerned officer of the Agency prefers to reject NOC by choosing option at 4(iii) above, the officer will also enter his remarks online on ICES, which will include a brief note on the basis for rejection so that the concerned Assistant/Deputy Commissioner of Customs can take further action.
7. In cases where the samples fail to meet the qualifying criteria upon testing, the Agency’s officer will also record the same on the system while rejecting the NoC.
These measures are aimed at improving the trade ecosphere in the country. Ministries, government departments, customs and trade brokers have been directed to ensure the smooth implementation of the SWIFT online clearance in exports.
Braving many odds, India's position has improved by one place to 143 from 144 in 2015 as per the World Bank report. The ranking improved due to the measures taken by the government to improve trade across borders.