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Centre extends container re-import timeline in relief for exporters


This step is expected to reduce the export of the empty containers from the country on ground of imposition of import duty, thus increasing the availability of containers for the trade.

The central government on Saturday relaxed norms for exporters facing global container shortage. The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) issued a circular, which gave three more months for the re-export of imported vessels lying at domestic ports.

“This step is expected to reduce the export of the empty containers from the country on ground of imposition of import duty, thus increasing the availability of containers for the trade,” the government notification said.

Currently, duty-free imports of containers are allowed with the condition of re-export in the next six months. However, keeping containers beyond six months is considered as deemed import and thus import duty is levied, a policy aimed at ensuring faster turnaround of containers.

To avoid such import duties, shipping lines export empty containers to evade duty payment on containers which are lying empty. But, such practices are aggravating the problem of shortage of containers for exports.

So, the CBIC has given the relief as a “temporary measure” to improve containers available presently for export of containerised cargo. The decision has been taken due to the disruption caused by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, which resulted in high shipping freight rates and container shortage globally.

The issue was repeatedly flagged by exporters in India too.

“The CBIC has issued a guidance to field offices to extend this period by three months where the container is being taken out of the country in laden condition provided the six month period falls before end of FY22,” the CBIC said.

This step is expected to reduce the export of the empty containers from the country on ground of imposition of import duty, thus increasing the availability of containers for the trade.

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