Exports to soon get a single-window clearance system: CBIC

Like imports, the government is now looking to introduce single window clearance system for exports- a system is in the works where web-based registration of goods, including from special economic zones, would be allowed to facilitate integration of Customs systems with other regulatory agencies to ensure faster clearances for consignments, Vivek Johri, Chairman of Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) said on Thursday.

“Currently, we still have physical process for registration on exports side…but we are actually working on a system where web-based registration of goods is possible which would mean that there’s no need for any broker or exporter to actually travel to a port to submit their documents to customs for initiating processes”

“You are familiar with the single window on the import side. We are trying to introduce something similar on the export side. There are export consignments that require regulatory intervention from control agencies,say drug controller, other agencies. We are trying to integrate Customs ICEGATE with these agencies. This will further compress time taken to release export consignments,” Johri said at CII National Exports Summit.

Indian Customs Electronic Gateway (ICEGATE)- the national Customs portal of CBIC,  provides e-filing services including electronic filing of the Bill of Entry (import goods declaration), Shipping Bills (export goods declaration), e-payment of Customs Duty, Common Signer utility for signing all the Customs Documents, to trade, cargo carriers and other trading partners electronically.

Currently, 43,542 users serving over 12.5 lakh importers/exporters are registered with ICEGATE. Customs is also trying to integrate SEZs to the ICES portal.

Johri said that the average release time, which is measured by the time of arrival of goods to the port and their actual departure, of export cargo has been halved. The Trade Facilitation Action Plan, which ends in 2023, has set a target of average release time of 24 hours and 12 hours for exports through sea port and airport, respectively.

“There is a need for further compression in release time taken by regulatory agencies… The target is quite steep… We are very consciously working on reducing the average release time,” Johri said adding that 80-85 per cent of the average release time of export cargo is on account of the time taken after Customs clears the consignments.

He further highlights the need to share real time information with exporters, such as the time when the vessel is docking at port for taking the consignment, which will also help cut down on the time to release export consignments.

“India has set an ambitious target of reducing the average release time of exporting cargo through sea and air to 24 hrs and 12 hrs respectively. The average release time has been reduced to half of what it used to be, but still a lot of work is still needed to meet the target level,” he said.

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