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CBIC relaxes rules for courier import and export of COVID-19 vaccines

Also instructs customs authorities to form a task force to enable speedy customs clearance of COVID-19 vaccines

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The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs has issued a set of regulations to amend the Courier Imports and Exports (Electronic Declaration and Processing) Regulations, 2010, in a notification issued on December 30, 2020.

These amended regulations, called the Courier Imports and Exports (Electronic Declaration and Processing) Amendment Regulations, 2020, will allow for certain norms to be relaxed to facilitate ease in import and export of COVID-19 vaccines through courier, at locations where the Express Cargo Clearance System (ECCS) is operational.

As per the circular:

  • CBIC has permitted imports of and exports of COVID-19 vaccines without any value limitation.
  • Also, in regulation 6, in sub-regulation (3), it has substituted the words “for gifts, samples and prototype of goods”, with words “for bonafide gifts, commercial samples and prototypes of goods and re-export of durable container including accessories thereof, imported in relation to COVID -19 vaccines”. In Form H, in the declaration, in paragraph 2, after the words “prototypes of goods”, the words and expression “, empty durable container including accessories thereof, imported in relation to COVID -19 vaccines” shall be inserted. This amendment has been made to include accessories that will be needed alongwith the durable containers used for vaccines import, such as temperature monitoring and tracking devices.
  • The clarifications contained in Circular No.51/2020-Customs, dated 20.11.2020 would apply for the temporary importation and re-export of the durable containers including accessories thereof imported in relation to the COVID-19 vaccines through courier. Care should be taken to ensure compliance with the procedure contained in said Circular including execution of a continuity bond, declaration of the durable containers and accessories thereof as a separate item in the Customs declaration during import and re-export. Importers may be advised to indicate the unique identifier of the container and the accessories during import in the Courier Bill of Entry (CBE-V) and also at the time of re-export in the Courier Shipping Bill (CSB IV) for facilitating clearance.

CBIC has also instructed customs authorities to form a task force to enable speedy customs clearance of COVID-19 vaccines. As per the circular, it should be headed by an officer of the rank of Joint/Additional Commissioner of Customs and comprise officials from relevant PGAs, authorised couriers, custodians, airlines and other relevant stakeholders.

The Board has also instructed that the details of the Task Force, and the name, designation and contact details of the Joint/ Additional Commissioner of Customs, should be given wide publicity through issue of Public Notices and should also be placed in a conspicuous location in the website of the Commissionerate.

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