Advance Tax Laws and Practice – Single Window Interface for Facilitation of Trade
SWIFT – Single Window Interface for Facilitation of Trade
Customs authorities are required to ensure compliance with several allied Acts in respect of import/export goods with the assistance of other Government Regulatory Agencies. While custom authorities are primarily responsible for assessing the import or export documents, several other Government regulatory agencies also come into picture as their permission/clearance is also required for certain import/export goods such as pharmaceutical drugs, livestock, livestock products, wildlife products, food products plants etc. before such goods could be allowed to be taken out of Custom notified areas.
To ensure transparency and faster clearance of the import/export goods which require permission from other regulatory agencies, Indian customs has introduced the concept of single window clearance of import and export of goods. In other words, Single Window essentially means providing a common platform to import or export trade to meet requirements of all regulatory agencies.
Prior to the launch of Single Window Clearance System, importers/exporters were required to submit the requisite information separately to the customs authorities and other relevant regulatory agencies.
– While the information was required to be filed in electronic form with Customs Authorities, the information required by other regulatory agencies was to be filed separately in paper forms.
– Moreover, importer/exporters were required to approach the concerned regulatory agency to obtain NOC/permission.
In other words, there was no electronic interface of Customs Authorities with other Government agencies. These regulatory authorities took their own time to issue NOC or give requisite permission. Any delay in grant of NOC by these regulatory authorities resulted in delaying the clearance of import/export cargo, causing higher dwell times, increased the cost to the importer/exporter, loss of precious time and increased transaction cost.
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With the launch of Customs SWIFT clearances with effect from 01.03.2016, now importers/exporters are able to file a common electronic “Integrated Declaration” on the ICEGATE portal. The Integrated Declaration compiles the information requirements of Customs, FSSAI, Plant Quarantine, Animal Quarantine, Drug Controller, Wild Life Control Bureau and Textile Committee and it replaces nine separate forms required by these 6 different agencies and customs.
Further, with the roll-out of the Single Window, the concept of an Integrated Risk Management facility for Partner Government Agencies has also been introduced. This will ensure that consignments are not selected by agencies routinely for examination and testing, but based on the principle of risk management.
A single Window system is a crucial implementation of trade facilitation measure for import/export goods clearance at the country’s points of entry and exit. This would result in greater efficiency in the import and export procedures, resulting in saving of money to the importers and exporters by way of reduced trade-related costs and delays.
The benefit of Single Window Scheme includes ease of doing business, reduced costs, enhanced transparency, reduced duplicity and cost of compliance and optimal utilization of resources.
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