The Pune Customs House Agents’ Association (PCHAA) recently hosted a Workshop on “Clear in Pune” and “WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement” initiatives. Also the workshop witnessed a presentation on IT for EXIM trade from “Odex India Solutions”.
The Workshop was well-attended by a large section of trade people including Customs Brokers, Freight Forwarders, Shipping Lines and representatives from all four ICDs in this region viz. ICD Dighi, ICD Talegaon, ICD Pimpri and ICD Chinchwad. Guest speakers included Mr. Santosh Vatsa , Joint Commissioner of Customs Pune and Mr. Samir J Shah, Chairman, FFFAI.
Commenting on the objective of organising the Workshop Mr Vinod Sharma, President, PCHAA and Honorary Treasurer, FFFAI said, “As per our theme “Clear in Pune” we are encouraging all the EXIM trade to clear their goods from Pune ICDs. Also, as an association we wanted to keep our members updated on the forthcoming changes thanks to WTO TFA initiatives and their impact on the trade. IT preparedness has also been discussed in this regard.”
In his speech Mr. Vatsa highlighted the facilities available in Pune ICDs. He maintained that here the present turnaround time for clearance of Import container is 24 hours and it is a very good achievement for Pune Exim Trade. “We will release Drawback within 15 days from the date of exports,” he announced. Mr Vatsa invited suggestions from the trade to enhance EXIM trade and to clear their goods from Pune ICDs.
Mr. Shah discussed about various aspects of the TFA between India and WTO. He also pondered on the genesis of TFA, present activities pertaining to TFA and post-TFA business scenario. He underlined the prime objectives of TFA—uniformity and facilitation across the global market. He clarified that there is no correlation between WTO TFA and FTA (Free Trade Agreement that happens between two countries). While the rule based multimodal activity i.e. TFA is for facilitation of global trade, FTA is concerned about revenue aspect related to bilateral trade between any two countries. “TFA contains commitments about a host of measures on simpler and harmonized documentation and procedure for the movement of goods across international borders,” he underlined. Mr Shah also highlighted the rapidly emerging concepts like RMS, Self Assessment, DPD, Pre-Arrival Clearance, Post-Clearance Audit, PGA, Single Window, Deferred Payment Duty, etc. Commenting on the benefits of TFA including entry to new markets and cost reduction of 10 per cent/13-15 per cent for developed/developing countries, Mr Shah maintained that it would strengthen “Ease & Speed of Doing Business”. “We are now witnessing an amalgamation of political will, bureaucratic willingness and private sector readiness,” added the FFFAI Chairman. It is pertinent to mention that FFFAI is a member of the National Committee on Trade Facilitation, which has been constituted under the chairmanship of the Cabinet Secretary, Government of India. Mr Shah, however, suggested that trade people should be well-informed and equipped in all aspects including changing roles, transparency, domain knowledge, skill development, and IT to comply with TFA rules and avail of benefits.
Mr Amol Apte, Assistant Vice President – Operations ODeX India Solutions apprised about the latest development on IT front pertaining to EXIM trade.