Apparel exporters have started getting benefits from the relaxation of restrictions in Customs rules allowing re-export of products returned by foreign buyers to Bangladesh within one year from the date of send-back.
Now exporters are re-exporting the returned apparel products as the customs authority has relaxed the rule extending the time to one year from six months from the date of send-back of such products, said a leader of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
“Apparel exporters are happy as we think the additional time after the product return from buyers would help us ship seasonal products on time to the importing countries,” said the BGMEA leader.
Customs authority said two basic purposes are expected to be served with this relaxation of the trade rules - to prevent returned product sale on the local market and restrain some 'unscrupulous' traders from cashing in on cash incentives and duty refund.
BGMEA sources said some 5.0 per cent of the apparel-export products come back annually on different grounds, including poor quality, missed lead time, and claiming of discounts by buyers.
Considering a slowdown in trade amid prolonged COVID-19 pandemic worldwide, the customs wing under the National Board of Revenue (NBR) has issued the special order to resolve complexities over release and re-export of returned export products by both bonded-and non-bonded exporters.
The customs wing of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) issued the special order to resolve complexities over release and re-export of returned export products by both bonded-and non-bonded exporters.
“We've issued this special order considering the slowdown in trade amid prolonged COVID-19 pandemic worldwide,” said a NBR official.
The special order has been issued under The Customs Act 1969, section 21 (b), to ensure smooth release of returned exports from abroad and their re-export, he said, adding that the fresh order scrapped previous two orders issued on June 5, 2007 and March 16, 2017 respectively.
Export-oriented industries, especially the apparel sector, raised the demand for relaxing the rules as they were facing difficulties in meeting the deadline in this period of pandemic that has affected worldwide supply chains, the NBR official added.
The BGMEA leader said some products returned to the country during this global epidemic due to closure of stores or not clearing exported products on time by the buyers or missing seasons.
Mohammad Hatem, Vice President of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), said they sought one-year time as products exported targeting summer market or winter season could be re-exported in the same season again.
As per the latest order, exporters not having bonded-warehouse licence have to submit an unconditional bank guarantee equivalent to applicable duty taxes, except Advance Income Tax (AIT), to the customs authority for releasing returned export consignments.
In case of failure in re-export of returned export products or failure in complying with the conditions of bank guarantee, the exporter will have to pay all applicable duty-taxes for the products, said the order, signed by Md Mashiur Rahman Mondol, second secretary of customs (export and bond).
Customs officials will have to conduct cent percent physical verification of returned export goods to ensure description of products, weight, numbers and quantity.
Exporters will have to submit no-objection certificate of Import-Export Controller directorate for releasing returned goods.
Before re-export, the exporters will have to submit NOC of Bangladesh Bank or relevant lien bank.
The buyers ask the exporters to re-export goods after rectification.
In some cases, exporters try to find out new importers for the products if the old importer finally declines to accept the goods.
The customs authority issued the order to prevent misuse of the temporary admission of returned cargoes as there are possibilities that unscrupulous traders may sell the goods on the local market instead of re-export.