The government on Thursday announced a new customs clearance regime for importers/exporters by granting them gold, platinum and silver certificates to provide them a wide range of benefits including trade facilitation, speedy clearance of imports and exports consignments, and timely payment of refunds/duty drawback to the holders of such certificates.
The FBR has issued S.R.O.114(I)/2020 to notify the Authorized Economic Operator Rules here on Thursday.
Under the new regime, the FBR will allocate gold and platinum certificates to importers or exporters and silver certificates may be granted to categories of economic operators other than importers and exporters, including Logistics Providers, Custodians or Terminal and off-dock Terminal Operators, Customs Agents and Warehouse Operators.
The authorised economic operator or AEO means a certified entity which fulfills the security criteria and other laid down obligations and derives benefits as prescribed under these rules and may include manufacturers, importers, exporters, custom house agents, brokers, shipping lines, carriers, consolidators, intermediaries, ports operators, airports operators, terminal operators, integrated operators, warehouses, distributors, freight forwarders and logistic service providers.
The validity of AEO certificate shall be two years for Gold, three years for Platinum and Silver.
Platinum Certificate may be granted to importers or exporters. For the purpose of this certificate, the economic operator shall be eligible for Platinum certification after successfully availing the status.of Gold category for at-least twelve months or the economic operator must be a Gold certificate holder, and its other business partners namely importers or exporters, Logistics service providers, Custodians, Terminal operators, Customs Brokers and Warehouse operators are holders of Gold or Silver certificate or any other equivalent AEO certificate granted by foreign Customs.
In the case of importers and exporters, at the time of filing of AEO application, the annual turnover of the business must be US$2.5 million or above while applying for gold or platinum status, FBR said.
The benefits for gold status included priority placement/front line of treatment shall be accorded under WeBOC module for all processes including assessment, examination and scanning to ensure shorter cargo release time; facility of Direct Port Delivery (DPD) of their import Containers and or Direct Port Entry(DPE) of their Export Containers would be available.
A special space shall be earmarked at the port or terminal area for handling AEO containers for speedy clearance and ID cards to be granted to authorized personnel for hassle-free entry to Custom Houses, terminals, off-dock terminals and dry ports and wherever feasible, they will get separate parking space and sitting/waiting area earmarked in Custom Houses, terminals, off-dock terminals, dry ports etc.
In case they are required to furnish a Bank Guarantee, the quantum of the Bank Guarantee would be fifty percent of that required to be furnished by an importer and exporter who is not an AEO Certificate Holder; and will provide PDC or corporate guarantee for the remaining fifty percent and they will not be subjected to regular transactional PCA, instead of that onsite entity based PCA will be conducted. They will be allowed 24/7 clearances on request, if required, at all customs clearance stations.
In case where laboratory analysis is required for assessment purposes, the sample from AEO consignment shall be retrieved and consignment shall be released provisionally except for agricultural goods; and the duty drawback claims filed through Customs Computerized System along with Bank Credit Advice (BCA) shall automatically be placed at top of the queue and processed on priority. The refund claims of Sales Tax and Federal Excise Duty, after submission of complete documents, shall be processed on priority.
The benefits for Platinum status may be provided over and above the benefits offered in, Gold category. They shall get trade facilitation by a foreign Customs administration with whom Pakistan enters into a mutual recognition agreement or arrangement.
In case they are required to furnish a Bank Guarantee/pay order, the AEO Certificate Holder may provide Post Dated Cheque or corporate guarantee for the required amount. They shall be given a choice of location for control and clearance (on-site inspection and examination) of goods at the premises of the authorized economic operator.
The random select on for checks, without prior approval from FBR, will be avoided by other government agencies. An approach based on specific information and Risk-based interventions, in case of requirements originating from the Acts administered by other Government Agencies and Departments, will be adopted for providing better facilitation in imports and export of their consignments.
The automated disbursal of drawback amount and sales tax refunds by giving priority treatment. The duty drawback claims filed through Customs Computerized System along with Bank Credit Advice (BCA) shall automatically be placed at top of the queue and processed on priority and the refund claims of Sales Tax and Federal Excise Duty, after submission of complete documents, shall be processed on priority.
The silver certificate may be granted to categories of economic operators other than importers and exporters, including Logistics Providers, Custodians or Terminal and off-dock Terminal Operators, Customs Agents and Warehouse Operators, the FBR added.
Benefits for Silver status included a waiver of 25% bank Guarantee in case of transshipment or transit of goods for the bonded carrier and transport operator. For the Terminal Operators and Off Dock Terminals, benefit included substitution of 25% bank Guarantee with a corporate guarantee. In the case of customs agents or brokers, benefits included waiver of submission of security certificates and extended validity (till validity of AEO status) of licenses granted under Customs Rules 2001. Waiver from fee for renewal of license required under Customs Rules 2001.
For the Warehouse Licensees or Operators, the benefits included faster approval for new warehouses within 15 days of submission of complete documents and waiver of insurance.