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The Impact of Pakistani Customs Law on Foreign Dealings

As per the amendment by the Prevention of Smuggling Ordinance 1977 Ch. VI, the Customs Act 1969 unites and amends levy and custom duty collection laws. This act calls back three acts: a) The Sea Customs Act 1878, b) Land Customs Act 1924, and c) Inland Bonded Warehouse Act 1896.

Under this act, the Central Board of Revenue has the authority to designate customs officer or handover the functions of any custom officer, with or without any conditions, to any provincial or federal government officials. Federal Government is authorized to place an embargo by notification on carrying or bringing any sort of good into or out of Pakistan by any means.

This act provides imposing of customs duties at prescribed rates under Finance Act, either approved on yearly basis or under any law for a time period on 1) Imported and exported goods from Pakistan, 2) Transshipping or transporting of goods from any country without payments from one custom station to another, and 3) Transportation of any good brought in bond.

The Federal Government is authorized to spare any customs duties on goods imported or exported.  The Central Board of Revenue has the authority to declare specific locations as custom ports, custom stations, or land customs stations.

Federal Government may issue an order to exempt any good from the whole or any part of the charged customs duty. As per S.R.O 1972, samples carrying no commercial value are exempted by the Federal Government from the whole payment of the customs duty on Pakistani exports.

In a case where certain goods are imported on a temporary basis for the purpose of re-exportation, Chief Customs has the authority to exempt such goods from customs duty subjected to conditions where it seems appropriate to impose such specific goods either through special order or prescribed rules.

In a case where imported goods are supposed to further use for the purpose of producing, manufacturing, or repairing, Chief Customs with sanction from the Federal Government and depending on conditions where it is appropriate, have the authority to exempt such goods from duty or full/part authorized repayment of already paid duty.

In such cases where imported goods are identifiable and upon which custom charges have already been paid  and are exported from Pakistan, seven-eighth parts of such charges must be paid again as a drawback, conditional on 1) Customs officer, equivalent or above the post of Assistant Collector of Customs, at the station from where such goods had been imported, is satisfied with the imported goods and 2) Goods are in for exportation outside Pakistan within the time period of two years from their importation date as written in the records of Customs House, or if the Central Board of Revenue or Customs Collector extend the time period for a cause. However, the Collector of Customs must not exceed the time period of more than 3 years from the importation date.

The federal government has the authority to design rules that may allow repayment of applicable duties as a drawback on particular goods taken into utilization between the process of importation and re-exportation.

Any transport that enters into Pakistan must call or land at a customs station right away and deliver the evidence of import within 24 hours to a relevant Customs Officer.

Any breach of law in above-mentioned act results in penalties and are applied according to particular cases, ranging from a fine up to 10,000, confiscation of good and/or transport, a penalty not beyond ten times the value of goods, and/or imprisonment up to six years on a sentence by Magistrate. There are updated provisions on Alternate Dispute Resolution for an efficient mode of dispute determination.

Countervailing Duties Ordinance 2001 provides the effect to provisions of Arts VI and XVI of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 and Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures. Ordinance compensates laws that are particularly related to countervailing duties in order to balance out subsidies to provide an investigation or determination framework of imported goods. There is another ordinance that consolidates and compensates laws related to anti-dumping duties – Anti-dumping Ordinance 2000. If the product under investigation is dumped under the Ordinance or domestic industry suffers any injury, National Tariff Commission has the authority to impose anti-dumping duties on imported products.

Except for goods such as food grains, fertilizers and petroleum products, all goods imported via Karachi customs port will be charged with the developmental surcharge of three rupees and 50 paisa per ton.

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