Govt mulls measures to ease cross border trade

The Government has earmarked some critical steps to bring down bureaucratic hurdles by 2022 that will further improve ease of cross border trade. These include include legislative, administrative and technology-related changes. The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has identified reduction in penalties in cases where the breach is voluntarily disclosed by the merchant and releasing shipments prior to final determination of customs duty payable as possible changes within the plan.

The government also plans to restrict introduction of new pre-shipment inspection requirements under the action plan. These efforts will be part of commitments made by India under a World Trade Organisation deal on trade facilitation.

The initiatives aim to reduce the cost and time involved in cross-border trade, make the legal regime more predictable and improve the ease of doing business. A key objective under the plan called ‘National Trade Facilitation Action Plan’ is to bring down cargo release time to 12 hours for outbound air cargo and 24 hours for outbound sea cargo. Conversely, it aims to achieve 48 hours for inbound sea cargo and 24 hours for inbound air cargo.

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