To facilitate domestic manufacturing, particularly by the MSME sector, the Central Board of Customs and Indirect Taxes (CBIC) has allowed importers the benefit of a concessional customs duty on import of goods even if such goods are sent out for job work in the absence of complete in-house manufacturing capabilities.

It has also permitted import of capital goods at a concessional customs duty even if such goods are cleared in the domestic market on payment of duty and interest, at a depreciated value later.

The changes are aimed at facilitating the trade, particularly MSME, who have limited options to manufacture and trade but have entrepreneurial abilities to make and sell goods and services.

The new facilitation measures have now being promoted through a new circular issued on Monday. Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had in her Budget that IGCR, 2017 would be amended to boost trade facilitation. Accordingly, the Central Board of Customs and Indirect Taxes had immediately enhanced the scope of these rules on February 2, 2021. The new circular only highlights the new measures so that trade becomes aware of the changes.

The IGCR, 2017 lays down the procedures and manner in which an importer can benefit from a concessional Customs duty on import of goods required for domestic production of goods or providing services. One major change that accommodates the needs of trade and industry is that the imported goods have been permitted to be sent out for ‘job work’. The absence of this facility had earlier constrained the industry, especially those in the MSME sector, which did not have the complete manufacturing capability in-house, a CBIC statement said.

Importantly, even importers who do not have any manufacturing facility can now avail the IGCR, 2017 to import goods at concessional Customs duty and get the final goods manufactured entirely on job work basis. However, some sectors such as gold, jewelry, precious stones, and metals have been excluded.

Another major incentive now provided is to allow those who import capital goods at a concessional Customs duty to clear them in the domestic market on payment of duty and interest, at a depreciated value. This was not allowed earlier, and manufacturers stuck with the imported capital goods after using them as they could not be easily re-exported.

Further, the procedure for availing the concessional Customs duty under these rules have been reviewed and rationalised. The required intimations and records can be sent by email to the jurisdictional Customs officer thereby obviating any physical interface.

The CBIC Circular also mentions that the list of Customs officers overseeing the IGCR, 2017 is available at its web site.

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