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Ministry to unveil single window clearance for exporters

The Finance Ministry is set to unveil a new ‘single window' clearance system for exporters. The system will allow electronic filing of shipment details by exporters and will facilitate clearance of shipments for exports by various government departments.

Similarly, importers will no longer have to seek the services of ‘consultants' to find out the effective tariff on their import consignments.

These are some of the measures which the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) plans to introduce for trade facilitation.

The measures were discussed during the two-day annual meeting of Chief Commissioners and Directors General of Customs, Central Excise and Service Tax, which concluded on Tuesday.

A highly-placed official source told Business Line, “Under the new system, the exporter will have to file a single application electronically. This will have all the parameters and will be accessed by all the ministries. All of them will give their replies on the same server. As soon as the custom authorities get all the ‘No Objections' online, the shipment will be cleared for export.”

At present, the exporter has to file different applications with various authorities for clearance. For example, if somebody is exporting a food item, he needs to knock on the doors of the Food ministry, followed by Food Processing, Health and some other departments to get ‘No objection' certificates.

The single window system will remove all these hassles and cut transaction costs, the source claimed. However, he refused to give any time frame for the implementation of this scheme.

Online tariff is another trade facilitation measure in the offing. Under this system, any exporter or importer just needs to fill in specifications and quantity online to get the effective rate of duty and the amount he has to pay.

“However, this will be just a guidance and it will not have legal binding,” the source clarified.

He explained that if the specifications are not the same at the time of shipment, then it will be difficult to accept the tariff guidance. The disclaimer is being added to avoid potential litigation, he said. He also disclosed that after successful implementation for customs, such a system will be introduced for excise also.

According to the estimates of the Task Force on Transaction Cost in Exports, the transaction cost is approximately 7-10 per cent of the export value. This includes structural costs i.e. inland transportation and handling, ports and terminal handling etc.

The Task Force made 44 recommendations, out of which 23 have been implemented, which have reduced transaction cost to the extent of Rs 2,100 crore in perpetuity, the source claimed.

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