Government amends customs rules to promote free flow of trade

ISLAMABAD: In order to promote the free flow of trade, the government has introduced amendments in customs rules for overseeing international transshipment of goods and containers to an intermediate destination before being taken to a final one, a national daily reported.

The amendments were made as part of the trade facilitation agreement for the transshipment of imported cargo from gateway to foreign port through any seaport in Pakistan. The changes were introduced in sub-chapter VIII-A of Chapter XXI of the Customs Rules, 2001.

Transshipment plays a critical role in ensuring the free flow of trade, especially to small destination ports that face hindrance due to limited infrastructure or shipping lines’ port of call. To encourage and facilitate international transshipment on Pakistani ports, the customs department has further amended its rules to facilitate free flows of containers.

As per amendments, the international transshipment goods will not be subject to payment of import or export duties, and taxes provided the activities conform with these rules. However, the shipping line intending to use the facility of International Transshipment will furnish an indemnity bond for an amount equal to the approximate value of goods expected to be imported in 30 days as security to ensure the exit of products outside the country within 30 days from the berthing of inward vessel.

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The indemnity bond will be forfeited apart from other consequential penal action under the customs if the shipping line misuses international transshipment facilities. A notice will be served to the shipping line or its agent in case of failure to ship stored goods within the available limit. The assistant collector can grant up to 30 days of extension to delay the transshipment of goods.

After 60 days, the shipping line will be responsible for the immediate removal of products from the ports. The goods will only be allowed for auction or destruction by approval of the concerned Collector of Customs. They will only allow it in extraordinary conditions where the shipping line shows its complete inability to ship them. The shipping lines engaged in the international transshipment business of containers and bulk cargo will execute an indemnity bond for ensuring to follow customs rules and regulations.

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