NEW DELHI: The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) is planning to unveil the new version of the earlier Customs Brokers Licensing Regulations (CBRLR) soon. Speaking at a special session on the occasion of 10th EC Meeting (for 2015-17)of the Federation of Freight Forwarders’ Associations in India (FFFAI) held on August 16 at Taj Mahal Hotel in New Delhi, Ms Ananya Roy, Member (Customs), Government of India, highlighted the importance of the new Regulations and invited industry feedback to the Draft Regulations.
Ms Roy addressed some other pressing operational issues raised by FFFAI office bearers and EC members.
Also present at this meet was Mr Satya Srinivasa, Joint Secretary (Customs), Government of India to interact with the FFFAI members who attended the meet from across the Country.
Lauding the vital role played by Indian Customs Brokers in facilitating India’s foreign trade Ms Roy reiterated full support from the Government for safeguarding their (CBs) interest at these changing times. She underscored the present partnership-relationship between Government and industry stakeholders. “I must compliment Indian Customs Brokers as well who played the critical role behind the successful implementation of GST on July 1, 2017,” Ms Roy added. She also shared that Government of India is holding the Annual Conference of Tax Administrators, 2017, on September 1 and 2, where topics pertaining to GST, Trade Facilitation and Customs Clearance would be discussed elaborately. The Conference will also be addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Responding to Ms Roy, Mr Samir Shah, Chairman, FFFAI commended the present Government’s initiatives on trade facilitation through various measures. “For last three decades or so we were discussing what type of Customs Rules should guide us. Now the scenario is remarkably different from earlier. We are now treated as partner of the Government in framing up the policy and successful implementation of the same. Mutual respect is clearly visible in every steps and decision pertaining to customs clearance, trade facilitation and changing rules & regulations,” said Mr Shah. Mr Ashish Pednekar, Chairman Elect; Mr Debashish Dutta, Immediate Past Chairman and Mr Amit Kamat, Honorary Secretary-FFFAI conveyed the same sentiment.
Highlights of Draft CBLRR
Proposed to be named as Customs Brokers Licensing and Revocation Regulations (CBLRR), 2017 the new regulations to apply to a Customs Broker who has been licensed under these regulations or regulations preceding thereto and also such other persons who have been employed or engaged by the said Customs Broker under these regulations or regulations preceding thereto. Every licence granted or renewed under these regulations shall be deemed to have been granted or renewed in favour of the licensee, and no licence shall be sold or otherwise transferred.
According to the draft CBLRR, no person shall carry on business as a Customs Broker relating to the entry or departure of a conveyance or the import or export of goods at any Customs Station unless such person holds a licence granted under these regulations.
The draft CBLRR stated that the Directorate General of Performance Management (DGPM) shall in the month of April of every year invite applications for conducting examination and subsequent grant of license to act as Customs Broker in Form A after fulfilling certain conditions, by publication in two leading national daily newspapers in English and Hindi in addition to disseminating the information on the web portal.
The applicant who is declared successful in the written examination shall be called for an oral examination on specified dates in month of June of each year, the result of which shall be declared in the month of July of each year. The applicant shall be required to clear written examination as well as oral examination.
An applicant, who fails to clear the oral examination within two years from date of declaration of result of the related written examination, shall be treated as having failed in the examination. An applicant shall be allowed a maximum period of seven years from the date of original application within which he shall pass both written and oral examinations and no further extension shall be granted. The draft CBLRR also touched upon probable topics/questions of the examination.
However, an applicant who has already passed the examination referred to in regulation 9 of the Custom House Agents Licensing Regulation, 1984 or regulation 8 of the Custom House Agents Licensing Regulation, 2004 or regulation 6 of the Customs Brokers Licensing Regulations, 2013 shall not be required to appear for any further examination.
The draft CBLRR also elaborately discussed about criteria of granting a licence; execution of bond and furnishing security; period of validity of a licence; obligations of Customs Broker Change in constitution of any firm or a company; Change in the constitution of a concern; Engagement or employment of persons; Revocation of licence; Suspension of licence; Procedure for revoking licence or imposing penalty; appeal, etc.