12:00 AM, July 12, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, July 12, 2018

Compliant firms to get rid of customs hassles

The National Board of Revenue is set to offer compliant businesses the privilege to clear their imported and exported goods fast by awarding them the status of Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) with a view to boosting international trade.

There will be a green channel for compliant businesses, which would allow them to export and import goods at reduced cost and time, according to Khondaker Muhammad Aminur Rahman, member of customs audit, modernisation and international trade of the NBR.

The NBR would roll out the pilot for the AEO scheme within the next one and a half months, and Square Pharmaceuticals and Beximco Pharmaceuticals have been chosen for it.

The AEO concept was introduced by the World Customs Organisation (WCO) under the Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Trade (SAFE) adopted in 2005.

AEO is recognition for compliance of businesses and a quality mark that indicates the supply chain is secure.

The NBR in its AEO rules, which were framed on June 28, said an AEO seeker should have 'satisfactory compliance record' and there should be proven record that the applicant was not involved in any wrongdoing in the previous three years.

As per the rule, a company interested in becoming AEO must have a minimum Tk 15 crore authorised capital and Tk 5 crore paid-up capital.

Or, the applicant will have to record a minimum Tk 5 crore turnover annually for the previous three years.

If the applicant is an importer or exporter, it will have to import or export a minimum Tk 5 crore worth of goods annually in the previous three years.

After becoming an AEO, a firm can send the goods for shipment straight from its premises and without any physical examination by the customs authority, and it can also bring goods directly from the ship to its premises.

There will be an AEO committee, headed by a commissioner, to scrutinise the applications for AEOs and recommend to the higher authority to award certificates. The panel will also be responsible for monitoring the activities of AEOs.

The NBR said AEO will be audited every three years and the AEO status would be scrapped for submission of fake documents or false information related to imported and exported items.

The AEO certificate will also be cancelled if any case of tax and duty evasion is unearthed or proved.

Companies having AEO status will become more competitive in the domestic and international market as they will get various benefits, including clearance of goods without customs checking.

“We will also sign mutual recognition agreement with other countries so that customs authorities in those countries provide green channel to our AEOs. We will also provide reciprocal benefits to AEOs of those countries,” Rahman of NBR said.