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Exporters get self-declaration power
October, 23rd 2006
The finance ministry has introduced an accredited clients programme for exporters which allows clearance of imported products on a self-declaration basis without the examination of documents and consignments.

The programme, which will soon be expanded to cover exports, is likely to replace the commerce ministrys incentive scheme which allows similar privilege to status-holding export houses.

According to official sources, the foreign trade policy of the commerce ministry allows self declaration on the basis of volumes exported which is a narrow criteria. The finance ministrys accredited clients programme is based on 35 parameters which include not only volume but other criteria such as the items being traded and the destination involved.

The finance ministry introduced its risk management system in 11 customs locations with electronic data interchange (EDI) facilities this year. The system, while allowing clearance by self-declaration to accredited clients, will conduct random checks to ensure compliance.

Exporters are already complaining that a number of customs houses are not recognising the eligibility accorded by the foreign trade policy to status-holding export houses for clearance the basis of self-declaration. Customs houses claim that they have not received any instructions from the Central Board of Excise and Customs.

According to finance ministry officials, exporters should come and register themselves in the accredited clients programme of the finance ministrys risk management system (RMS) to get over the problem.

Officials said while the facility of self declaration is available for imports, the process of identifying the parameters for exports was on. As soon as we have the parameters for accreditation for exports in place, we will expand our programme, an official said.

RMS having features like system-based assessment of risks and no assessment, no examination for trusted clients, would also benefit in terms of increased accountability, transparency, uniformity and expeditious clearance of goods on basis of focussed, consistent, structured and scientific risk analysis.
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