News & Media 19th Feb 2020

Tightening the Ropes on Administration of Preferential Tariff Treatment under Trade Agreements

Authors

Jignesh Ghelani Partner | Mumbai

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The undue claims of preferential tariff treatment have posed a threat to domestic industry, which has also been highlighted by the Hon’ble Finance Minister in her Budget Speech. In order to protect the interests of the domestic industry and to plug the leak owing to undue claims, the Government has proposed to introduce Section 28DA under Chapter VAA of the Customs Act.Mr. Jignesh Ghelani (Partner, Economic Law Practice) and Ms. Sanchita Rungta (Senior Associate) along with contributions from Mr. Rishi Raju (Associate) explicate that, “The proposed amendment not only seeks to alter the position adopted by various Courts but also sidesteps the International standards issued with regard to administration of preferential treatment”. Authors perceive that as the burden of establishing the authenticity of origin of goods now lie on the importer it gives an additional power to the Customs Authorities to question the genuineness of Certificate of Origin (‘COO’) produced by the importer. The authors also find the said amendment to be a bold move to alter the well-established administration procedure. Importers are urged to “no longer rely on certainty of being granted tariff concessions under the preferential trade agreements basis the COO” and suggest “a relook at the benefits obtained by importers and adopting necessary precautionary measures as the same will be reviewed critically by the Customs Authorities in the near future”.

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