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ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has increased the regulatory duties on the import of 80 non-essential/luxury items and reduced additional customs duty (ACD) from seven to six percent on goods falling under 2,436 tariff lines.

Through the Finance Bill 2021, the government has removed anomalies in cascading structure of tariff in the budget 2021-22, while promoting and protecting domestic industry by introducing targeted interventions.

The rationalisation of RD on import of mobile phones to promote local manufacturing and create jobs would generate Rs16 billion.

Moreover, the government enhanced import-substitution by rationalising tariffs on industrial raw materials/intermediate goods.

The government facilitated export-oriented manufacturing by reviewing the existing exemption regimes and export schemes.

The industrial relief measures revealed that the government's announcement of reduction/exemption of custom duty (CD), additional custom duty (ACD),and regulatory duty(RD) on import of goods falling under 589 Pakistan Custom Tariff (PCT) codes is to incentivise the textile industry, as well as the reduction/exemption of CD, ACD, and RD on import of flat rolled products of the HRC and stainless steel.

The government further unveiled the reduction/exemption of the CD and the ACD on raw materials and intermediary goods and point of sale machines falling under 328 tariff lines as a consequent of tariff rationalisation.

To incentivise the pharmaceutical sector and to keep the prices stable in the market, the government exempted CD and ACD on more than 350 APIs, plant, machinery and equipment subject to concessionary rate of five percent and on raw material of auto-disable syringes and reduction in tariff on finished auto-disable syringes.

The government further reduced/exempted on inputs/raw materials of food processing industry.

The government further reduced CD and ACD on uncoated paper and paperboard for printing and graphic arts industry.

The government reduced/exempted CD and ACD on vaccines for veterinary medicines and feed additives to incentivise the dairy sector, and also on goods falling under more than 100 PCT codes relating to the tourism industry.

The government further reduced duties on raw material/inputs of footwear industry.

Other measures included reduction/exemption of CD and ACD on inputs for poultry industry and raw material for manufacturer of aseptic plastic packaging.

The government exempted ACD on import of raw materials for cables/optical fiber manufacturers.

The government also reduced/exemption CD and ACD on raw materials for paint industry, raw materials for chemical and artificial leather industry as well as inputs for electronics manufacturing industry and raw materials/inputs of furniture, coating, boiler manufacturing industry, bobbins and cops manufacturing industry etc.

While giving relief to common man the government has reduced ACD on goods falling under 2,436 tariff lines pertaining to 20 percent customs duty slab from seven percent to six percent.

The government granted extension in exemption from customs duties on import of Covid-19-related items for further six months.

The government exempted CD and ACD on inputs of ready-to-use supplementary foods (RUSF) and ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) as well as on six life-saving drugs.

The FBR has enhanced the value of unsolicited gifts through post or courier from Rs20,000 to Rs30,000.

The government exempted CD and ACD on import of grain storage hermetic bags and cocoons.

The FBR has also rationalised tariff structure on auto sector. While reviewing regulatory duty (RD) regime, the FBR has rationalised RD on import of mobile phones to encourage import substitution.

Also, the FBR increased rates of RD on import of non-essential/luxury items to support local industry.

The government also reduced RD on import of cocoa paste, butter and powder being industrial input goods.

While granting export facilitation measures, the government has proposed a new Uniform Export Facilitation Scheme in order to boost ease of doing business.

However, the existing schemes shall be phased out in the next two years.

The FBR also proposed a Bond to Bond Transfer of goods through WeBOC without prior approval of the collector. The FBR reduced RD on export of molasses, skin and hides to boost positive image of the country with our important trading partners across the world.

Under the finance bill, the FBR has Established Border Sustenance Markets to mitigate the problems faced by the people residing in border areas due to fencing and counter-smuggling measures.

Under the legislative changes, the government has introduced a concept of common bonded warehousing to encourage Small and Medium Enterprises.

And also, empowered collector of customs to determine customs value there by facilitating trade.

The government enabled the Director General Valuation to take appropriate decision on appeal and capping the time limit for such proceedings.

Facilitation of trade by avoiding time consumed in unnecessary litigations.

The government also allowed the importers to amend manifest till berthing event without seeking approval from custom authorities and hence, ease of doing business.

The government enabled customs authorities to allow bona fide amendment in into-bonds goods declaration and thus, facilitate trade.

The government allowed the Collector to extend warehousing period for six months. Reducing the processing time of the requests and promoting ease of doing business.

The FBR reduced the time limit allowed for decision of the cases, wherein, the impugned goods are lying at sea ports, airports or dry-ports and thus, decreasing the cost of doing business.

The government enabled customs authorities to issue correction/corrigendum certificate in case of genuine/obvious error and facilitate trade.

The government also included the other law enforcement agencies for the purpose of reward and increasing their motivation.

The government will give an opportunity to the registered users of WeBOC in accordance with the canons of natural justice.

The government also has increased the period of validity of advance ruling from the current one year to three years in accordance with international benchmarks and facilitating trade thereof.

The FBR has given a provision for the classification committee to avoid unnecessary litigation on account of classification disputes and consequently, decreasing the cost of doing business.

The government has removed fine in case of delay in filing of goods declaration and thereby providing ease of doing business.

Under the enforcement measures, the government included master bill of lading and certificate of origin in the existing definition of document to discourage origin fraud, the retailing in definition of smuggling to discourage retailers from selling smuggled goods.

The government made shipping lines responsible for re-export of banned items imported in commercial quantities.

The government increased the pitch of fine in case of non-placement of invoice and packing list in container to inculcate compliance.

The government has discouraged smuggling by denying release of vehicles used repeatedly for smuggling against redemption fine.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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