EAB president hopes this will reduce exporters' losses
As the amount of returned products shot up due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) has recently relaxed restrictions on its rules, by allowing exporters to re-export their bounced products within a year, up from six months.
The NBR extended the time period in response to demands from exporters, especially ready-made garment exporters, as scores of foreign buyers returned shipped goods from Bangladeshi manufacturers due to the economic slump caused by the pandemic.
The directive, signed by Mashuir Rahman Mandal, second secretary in customs and bonds at NBR, was issued last Thursday.
Speaking about this, President of Exporters Association of Bangladesh (EAB) and former president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters' Association (BGMEA) Abdus Salam Murshedy told Dhaka Tribune yesterday "We had made the demand to extend the deadline for re-exporting those goods so that we could find another buyer for those."
“This happened because buyers refused to receive shipped goods even after it reached their shores,” said the managing director of Envoy Group.
"Finding interested buyers usually takes time, that is why we made the request, which the NBR thankfully granted. This should hopefully cut our losses," he added.
The new NBR order said that if the goods are returned this way, no customs duty will have to be paid.
However, the condition is that the goods have to be exported again within a year.
Another condition to avail this extension includes mandatory 100% physical inspection of such returned consignments.
Through this, the description, weight, number or quantity of the product has to be confirmed and the unloading and re-export activities of the product have to be completed.
The entire program will be completed by an assistant commissioner.
Prior to re-export, no objection letter is needed to be submitted to the concerned bank and/or Bangladesh Bank.
However, the biggest condition is that the returned goods must be exported within one year of unloading. In case of unlicensed bonds, a bank guarantee equal to the applicable custom duty must be shown.
In case of bonded companies, if they are not able to re-export the product within a year, they will have to pay the same amount of duty. The exporter has to make a commitment in this regard.
Customs officials have been given the power to take legal action if exporters fail to meet the terms of the pledge. In exceptional circumstances, the exporter can apply to the NBR.
The directive also said that the special orders of 2007 and 2017 regarding the unloading and re-export of goods would be considered null and void as a result of the new extension facility.
Generally, less than 1% of the total garment exports are returned. However, it has increased due to Covid-19, an apparel sector specialist said.