Clearance of Goods through Foreign Post Offices
[CBIC Instruction dated 04 June 2018]
Sub: Clearance of goods through FPOs.
The Board had convened a conference of Commissioners of Customs and Post Master Generals for deliberating on ways and means for improving trade facilitation through FPOs on 11th May 2018. Amongst the various issues of common interest discussed were:
(i) clarifying the definition of “personal import”;
(ii) clarifying procedures for exports and imports by IEC holders; (iii) Use of new CN 22/23 and other forms;
(iv) Introduction of services by Customs Brokers for IEC holders;
(v) Use of web-based tools for printing of declaration and other forms;
(vi) providing access to Customs to the tracking facility on the website of Dept. of Posts for communicating with individuals importing parcels for personal use;
(vii) setting up a working group for enabling data exchange between IT wings of both Dept.s;
(viii) Issue a Standard Operating Procedure on the lines of Delhi Commissionerate to suit local conditions.
(ix) Infrastructure related issues.
2. With respect to the issues at serial numbers (i) to (iv), Circular No.14/2018 – Customs dated 4th June 2018 may kindly be referred.
3. With respect to serial number (v), para 5.1 of circular 14 / 2018 – customs dated 4th June 2018 may be referred. The rationale behind prescribing use of web-based tools for facilitating the process of customs declarations bears its origins in the recommendation contained in the WCO-UPU Postal Customs Guide (June 2014) which states:
“………consider the development of incentives and tools for international shippers, to encourage these customers to prepare the customs declaration via online or other self-serve systems, prior to lodgement with the Post. This will encourage improved quality of data and creation of a legible (printed) label, and permit the electronic capture of the content of the Customs declaration….”
Deputy Commissioners/Asst. Commissioners of the FPO may ensure that online sellers and Customs Brokers seeking to export through FPOs have onboarded such third-party web- applications before commencing operations.
4. As regards serial number (vi), the Dept. of Posts have revamped their website and parcel tracking software to provide improved visibility. The Dept. of Posts is exploring ways & means of extending the facility to Customs for communicating with the recipient of the postal parcels in the event of any detention. Commissioners of Customs are requested to coordinate with their counterparts for utilizing the web tracking services for communicating with recipients of postal parcels.
4.1 Dept. of Posts have already circulated the forms, including revised CN22, to all PMGs (copy enclosed). Commissioners are requested to coordinate with PMGs regarding timely submission of CN / CP forms. For this purpose, as well as enabling data exchange, it has also been agreed that both Dept.s will have representatives from their respective IT wings as members of the Joint Task Force at the national level. A JTF has already been constituted to oversee the SECUREX project (WCO-UPU) involving data exchange between postal administrations in different countries and access of data by customs. This will greatly assist in enforcement and facilitation. The JTF is also mandated to address issues of coordination between both Depts. In order to make this process effective, Commissioners are advised to flag issues of concern to Director (ICD), CBIC so that the same can be discussed in the JTF. It was also agreed in the conference that both Dept’s could make modified arrangements at the level of FPOs itself to improve day to day coordination between posts and customs. Commissioners are requested to initiate the local joint task force at each FPO.
5. Dept. of Posts have expressed concern on the huge collection of uncleared parcels at various FPOs. It is requested that efforts may be made to ensure that these are disposed off in timely manner by following the procedures set forth in the disposal manual.
6. A significant change has been introduced in the sequence of presentation of goods in the course of e-commerce exports. Depending upon the popularity of the facility, there may be need to take innovative steps for management and facilitation in handling of export packages. Chief Commissioners are requested to kindly monitor the response of the trade and make best possible efforts to facilitate e-commerce exports. Assuming that industry demands for facilities through posts rapidly increases and space at the FPOs becomes a constraint, Chief Commissioners are advised to work out alternate space arrangements, in consultations PMGs, for presentation of export goods at an additional Post Office(s).
7. SoPs governing imports/exports by post issued by Delhi Commissionerate have already been circulated. Commissionerates are advised to modify the same after taking into account the Postal Regulations 2018 and the Board’s circular 14/2018-Cus dated 4th June 2018 alongside local conditions before issue. Copies may kindly be endorsed to Director (ICD), CBIC.
8. The Board has desired that care should be taken to maximise use of x-ray scanning for improving enforcement and facilitation. Measures should be put in place to ensure that mail bags arriving at the FPO are segregated in the presence of the Customs officer. X-Ray scanners at the FPOs have already been provided and these facilities are being further augmented by Commissioner (Logistics) through deployment of mail scanners, which will improve effectivity of non-intrusive inspection capabilities.
9. This issues with the approval of Member (Customs).