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ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to establish joint border sustenance markets at three crossing points of Pak-Iran border for selling of goods without payment of duties and taxes at these markets to facilitate local people.

Sources told Business Recorder here on Sunday that the Joint Border Sustenance Markets are being established so that the problems faced by the people residing in border areas due to fencing and counter-smuggling measures could be mitigated as they are dependent for their daily use items especially food items.

It was decided to establish Joint Border Sustenance Markets with Iran and Afghanistan. Since the memorandum of understanding (MOU) for establishment of Border Sustenance Markets with Iran has been finalized.

According to this MoU, border sustenance markets on three crossing points i.e (i) Mand-Pishin, (ii) Chedgi-Kouhak and (iii) Gabd-Reemdan will be established in the pilot phase. Therefore, customs duties has been reduced on items falling under 122 Pakistan Customs Tariff (PCT) codes by adding new Part-VIII in the Fifth Schedule to the Customs Act, 1969.

According to the Finance Act 2021, the goods specified, under the PCT codes specified, when supplied within the limits of the Border Sustenance Markets, established in cooperation with Iran and Afghanistan, shall be exempted from the whole of the sales tax, subject to the following conditions: (i) Such goods shall be supplied only within the limits of Border Sustenance Markets established in cooperation with Iran and Afghanistan; (ii) If the goods, on which exemption has been availed, are brought outside the limits of such markets, sales tax shall be charged on the value assessed on the goods declaration import or the fair market value, whichever is higher; (iii) Such items in case of import, shall be allowed clearance by the Customs Authorities subject to furnishing of bank guarantee equal to the amount of sales tax involved and the same shall be released after presentation of consumption certificate issued by the Commissioner Inland Revenue having jurisdiction; (iv) The said exemption shall only be available to a person upon furnishing proof of having a functional business premises located within limits of the Border Sustenance Markets; and (v) Breach of any of the conditions specified herein shall attract relevant legal provisions of this Act, besides recovery of the amount of sales tax alongwith default surcharge and penalties involved.

The provisions of section 148 of the Income Tax Ordinance 2001 shall not apply on the import of goods which takes place within the jurisdiction of Border sustenance markets specified. The provisions of section 154 shall not apply to the export of goods which takes place within the jurisdiction of Border sustenance markets, Finance Act 2021 added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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