Exporters cry foul over new customs order to check shipments

Last Updated: Thu, Jun 20, 2019 21:27 hrs
Shipping containers are seen at Nansha terminal of Guangzhou port, in Guangdong

New Delhi: Miffed over government move to order manual checking of shipments and a close verification of input tax credit (ITC) claims, exporters have expressed fear that the new directive could delay consignments, cancellation of some orders and image loss for the firms.

Speaking to this agency, an exporter said due to verification process, many shipments could miss the vessels and the buyer insisting for 10-15 per cent discount in prices citing delay.

"The shipments that have gone to ports have been sent in line with sailing schedule of the ships. We don't know when the verification would be completed. There should be clarity on this," he said wishing not to be named.

The Central Board of Indirect Tax and Customs (CBIC) had recently instructed its Customs and GST formations to verify the correct availment of input tax credit (ITC) by a few exporters who are perceived as "risky" on the basis of pre-defined risk parameters.

"Only 5,106 risky exporters have been identified so far as against about 1.42 lakh total exporters. Thus the risky exporters are only 3.5% of the total exporters.

The apex indirect tax enforcement body in a statement on Thursday assured the trading community that all genuine exporters would continue to get their IGST (integrated goods and services tax) refunds in a timely manner in a fully automated environment.

But the apprehension of delay in verification and refunds continue to be strong among exporters, especially small and medium firms.

"The government should catch the thief. But this should not result in delay of shipment for genuine exporters. The government has every right to check the suspected consignment and detect the fraud. But it should not delay or harass genuine exporters. It should be done with minimum inconvenience," said Animesh Saxena, President of Federation of Indian Micro Small & Medium Enterprises (FISME).

The FISME would write to Finance Ministry and raise its concerns related to the new shipment scrutiny directions.

Earlier this week, about 1,436 shipping bills filed by 925 exporters had been interdicted by the customs authorities.

Nirbhay Kumar can be contacted at nirbhay.k@ians.in

Also Read: India's trade outlook fragile due to tension with US: Report