The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has allowed businesses to import and export goods without furnishing bonds to the customs authorities till the end of the month, a move aimed at preventing delays or disruption in exports or imports caused by COVID-19 pandemic.
“In light of unprecedented situation caused due to COVID-19 pandemic, the Board has decided to take certain measures for a temporary period in terms of section 143AA of the Customs Act, 1962 with a view to expedite customs clearance of goods and for maintaining balance between customs control and facilitation of legitimate trade,” the CBIC said.
The decision was taken after field formations flagged the unavailability of notarised stamp papers for furnishing the bonds that was being faced by importers, exporters and their authorised custom brokers, during the lockdown period.
“In the period up to April 30, 2020, Customs field formations may accept request for submission of an undertaking from the importer/exporter in lieu of a bond,” the CBIC said.
“While the lockdown is presently in force till April 14, 2020, considering that the importer/exporter may find it difficult to comply with the requirement of furnishing bond for some more time thereafter till the situation normalises, the said relaxation shall be available up to April 30, 2020,” the CBIC added.
The Board will, however, review the order after April 14, when the nationwide lockdown ends.
The relaxation applies to central and state PSUs, manufacturers or actual users, importers, authorised economic operators, status holders and all importers availing warehousing facilities. Traders will have to submit the undertaking, the contents of which will have to be the same as the bond.
The relaxation may also be given to traders who ask for it, on a case to case basis, the CBIC said.
“Importers/exporters availing this facility shall ensure that the undertaking furnished in lieu of bond is duly replaced with a proper bond before May 7,” the CBIC added.
The record will be duly maintained by the customs field formations of the importers or exporters who availed the relaxation.