The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has introduced a new scheme for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) that will enable swift customs clearance of consignments with the option of deferred payment duties.
The 'Liberalised MSME AEO Package' has been introduced with specific objective of facilitating this important segment of the trade, that is also among the worst affected during the current pandemic.
Under the package, MSMEs, which become Authorised Economic Operators (AEOs), will avail various benefits including relaxed compliance criteria on the condition that units have a valid certificate from their line-Ministry.
The relaxed requirements allow MSMEs who have filed minimum 10 Customs clearance documents in one year and who have a clean compliance record over two years to apply for the scheme. The documentary requirements have also been simplified.
Another feature is that the CBIC will decide on an application for grant of AEO status within only 15 days from electronic submission of complete documents for AEO Tier T1. Additional benefits, like further reduction in bank guarantee requirements, have been introduced for MSMEs, and will be expanded subsequently.
CBIC's flagship "Liberalised MSME AEO Package" scheme is a voluntary compliance programme which enables swifter customs clearance for accredited stakeholders in the global supply chain viz. importers, exporters, logistic service providers, custodians etc.
The approved AEOs derive various benefits such as, inter alia, the facility of direct port delivery (DPD) of imported containers, direct port entry (DPE) of their export containers, high level of facilitation in customs clearance of their consignments thereby ensuring shorter cargo release time, exemption from bank guarantees, priority for refund/rebate/ duty drawback, as well as a client relationship manager at the customs port as a single point of interaction.
Another benefit available to specified AEOs is that their payment of Customs duty is deferred and need not to be paid before the clearance of the imported goods by Customs. An added advantage for Tier 2 AEOs is that their exports to certain countries are accorded facilitation by the foreign Customs administration with whom India enters into a Mutual Recognition Agreement/Arrangement.