Home >Economy >Staying inactive may cost customs brokers their licence

NEW DELHI: Staying inactive for a year could cost customs brokers their licence, according to a new rule brought out by the government.

As per the Customs Brokers Licensing (Amendment) Regulations, 2021, brought out by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) on Friday, the licence of a broker “shall be deemed invalid, if the licensee is found to be inactive for a period of one year."

However, the good news is that customs brokers who are not active are allowed to surrender their licence, and for active ones, the ten-year renewal requirement has been dispensed with, showed the amended notification.

Issuing licence in perpetuity is a great measure of trade facilitation, according to experts. “New provisions are more practical where an unlimited license has been granted subject to any issue revocation," said Rajat Mohan, senior partner at chartered accountants firm AMRG & Associates.

Customs brokers are people licensed to act as an agent on behalf of the importer or an exporter for handling shipments at any customs station. The move weeds out inactive ones while making life easier for the active ones.

CBIC has been recasting its procedures over the last several months to make cross-border trade simpler and less time-consuming in the processing of shipments. Cross-border trade has been one of the areas flagged by the World Bank in its ease of doing business reports as an area needing improvements. CBIC’s efforts have apparently led to noticeable progress.

The latest UN survey that tracked 143 economies on key trade facilitation parameters over a two-year period--Global Survey on Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation—has reported that India’s rank moved up from 78.49% in 2019 to 90.32% in 2021. The bi-annual survey exclusively deals with trade facilitation measures taken by individual countries, Mint reported on Tuesday.

CBIC has also put in place special arrangements to clear imported medical supplies on priority with the provision for doing paperwork subsequently. Trade facilitation is a priority for governments now as cross-border trade could offer a boost to economic revival after the pandemic.

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