In a move to curb imports from China, the customs authorities in India may soon begin holding back all consignments originating from China at all cargo points including port terminals and airports. All consignments from China will be subjected to re-examination before being released.
While there is no direct order that has come from the Centre, a circular to this effect has already been issued by the Chennai Customs Brokers’ Association to all its members ‘to hold all consignments which originate from China’. This also includes consignments, which have been given an Out of Customs Charge (OOC) order.
OOC is issued to consignments and goods after a customs officer examines to see its not a prohibited order and that customs duty has been paid for it and clears it. However, these goods will also be held back now for re-examination before being released.
“It prevails at all the locations across India. An official trade Notice / Circular still awaited from customs. Our association is in touch with Customs Officials to get further instruction on releasing the cargo which are under clearance. So, there would be some delay in clearance from all the Ports/ CFSs/ Airports for such commodities today,” the circular from the association read.
As per reports, the government has said that no such instructions had been issued and that some containers may have been held up due to a risk assessment or intelligence input.
However, holding up of consignments could cause further delays in delivery and could have an impact on the electronics sector and on auto components, since a large chunk of these are imported from China.
At all customs offices, most of the imports that come through authorised economic operators (nearly 70% of imports) are passed through the green channels without any difficulty or scrutiny with just a bill of entry being filed online. As per an ET report, only 30% of imports are examined, where in some cases, the importer is called in, and the package is opened in their presence.
This move is also likely to impact orders placed on popular Chinese e-commerce sites such Shein, Club Factory, Ali Express, which receive thousands of orders from India every month.