Circular No.ES/13/2020-21 4th April, 2020
To: Members of the Council
Sub.: Measures to facilitate trade during the lockdown period - section 143AA of the Customs Act, 1962 - CBIC
We would like to inform you that CBIC has issued CIrcular No. 17/2020- Customs dated 3rd April, 2020 regarding measures to facilitate trade during the lockdown period under Section 143AA of the Customs Act, 1962.
Board has received representations from the field formations about difficulty being faced by importers, exporters and their authorised Customs Brokers, during the ongoing lockdown period in obtaining notarised stamp papers for furnishing bonds required by Customs in certain situations during the assessment and clearance of goods.
In light of the unprecedented situation caused due to COVID-19 pandemic, 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.
In this regard, the Board has approved relaxation of the requirement to submit bonds prescribed under Sections 18, 59 and 143, and under notifications issued in terms of Section 25 of the Customs Act, 1962, subject to compliance of conditions as listed below in this Circular.
While the lockdown is presently in force till 14th April, 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 normalizes, the said relaxation shall be available up to 30th April, 2020. This relaxation shall however be subject to review by the Board at the end of the lockdown period.
In the period up to 30th April, 2020, Customs field formations may accept requests for submission of an undertaking from the importer/exporter in lieu of a bond prescribed under the above-mentioned provisions. This relaxation will apply to the following categories of the importers/exporters:
Government/Public Sector Undertakings (Central/State/UT Govts. or Administrations and their undertakings)
Manufacturer/Actual User importer
Authorised Economic Operators
All importers availing warehouse facility in terms of section 59 of the Customs Act, 1962
Each such relaxation, where requested, should comply with the following conditions:
i) The content of the undertaking should, to the extent possible, be the same as the content of the prescribed bond.
ii) The undertaking should be duly signed by the IEC holder concerned on their business letter head and submitted by the registered email ID of the IEC holder or their authorised Customs Broker.
iii) The undertaking should include a commitment from the IEC holder to submit the proper bond in prescribed format on notarised stamp paper etc. on or before 7th May, 2020.
iv) The undertaking will not be treated as a substitute for security, wherever mandated.
v) The security, where required, shall be furnished in the nature and manner as deemed fit by the proper officer. Board’s instructions issued from time to time regarding such security in specific cases should be kept in view in this regard.
vi) In case of warehoused goods, any subsequent movement of goods to another warehouse under Section 67 of the Customs Act, 1962, shall be allowed only to manufacturer/actual user importer or AEO or Status holders. For requests related to change of ownership after warehousing, the facility shall be considered only in cases where the prospective buyer is either manufacturer/actual user importer or AEO or Status holder.
Please note the following:
Such relaxation from submitting a bond may also be considered on a case to case basis for any other importer and exporter who requests for the same, with such additional safeguards over and above those listed in this Circular, as deemed fit by the jurisdictional Commissioner to safeguard revenue and ensure compliance of the statutory provisions.
Importers /Exporters availing this facility shall ensure that the undertaking furnished in lieu of bond is duly replaced with a proper bond before the stipulated period i.e. 7th May, 2020.
Customs field formations shall maintain a record of all cases of relaxation allowed by them.
Members may kindly make a note of the above measures.