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CBIC permits import and export of coronavirus vaccines through courier

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NEW DELHI: Import and export of Covid 19 vaccines through courier has been allowed without any value limit at locations where the Express Cargo Clearance System (ECCS) is operational, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) said in a circular to field units.

The Board also directed that customs authorities create a task force with relevant stakeholders to ensure speedy clearance of the vaccines through customs.

“Efficient clearance and distribution of vaccines would be a critical requirement in the collective fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the challenges in doing so is heightened by the fact that the vaccines need to be stored and transported under controlled temperatures and there are multiple stakeholders involved in this process,” the Board said backing the need for efficient cross-border procedures for speedy evacuation of the vaccines.

CBIC has amended the Courier Imports and Exports (Electronic Declaration and Processing) regulation to allow for temporary import and re-export of durable containers that will be used for transportation of the vaccine.

“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,” it said.

Care should be taken to ensure compliance with the procedure 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, the Board said.

The changes, which were firmed up after review of the process for cross-border movement of goods, will come into effect immediately.

Noting that coordinated approach among the stakeholders would be necessary, CBIC has directed commissioners in charge of the international courier terminals where ECCS is operational, to immediately form a task force headed by an officer of the rank of joint or additional commissioner of customs and comprising of officials from relevant participant government agencies,, authorized couriers, custodians, airlines and other relevant stakeholders.

Details of the task force, and the name, designation and contact details of the officers concerned heading the task force would have to be given wide publicity and should also be placed on the website of the commissionerate or zone, CBIC added.

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