In order to facilitate traders, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has simplified the procedure for registration of import contracts with Afghanistan and now shipping documents will not be mandatory for imports from Afghanistan through land routes.
In order to facilitate stakeholders and strengthen monitoring of import payments from Pakistan, State Bank and Pakistan Customs started a joint project for issuance of EIF last year and all imports into Pakistan are required to be made compulsorily through this EIF.
However, it was observed that due to peculiar nature of trade with Afghanistan through land routes, especially via Torkham and Chaman borders, Pakistani importers were facing difficulties to carry out import transactions through EIF. Therefore, in order to address these difficulties and to facilitate traders, the procedure for registration of contracts and payments there has been simplified.
According to SBP, now, the requirement for routing of shipping documents against registered contract through banks will not be mandatory for imports from Afghanistan through land routes. Pakistani importers may now directly receive shipping documents from the Afghani exporters and get the goods cleared after attachment of Goods Declaration(s) with EIF.
Once the importer gets the contract registered and EIF approved with the bank for multiple shipments, the importers will not be required to approach the bank again and again for approval of EIF. The relaxation is expected to provide manifold benefits to the importers of above region by reducing their cost of doing business and efficient processing of goods clearance at customs stations bordering Afghanistan.
“Due to peculiar nature of trade with Afghanistan through land routes, especially through Torkham and Chaman borders, it has been decided to allow banks to register contracts of the Pakistani importers and make payments there against the import as per procedure described by SBP,” said FE Circular No 02 of 2017 issued on Monday.
As per procedure, the Authorized Dealers (ADs) will register import contract as per the applicable regulations/procedure already defined in the Para 16, Chapter 13 of the Foreign Exchange Manual-2016.
The import contract may be registered for single shipment or any number of multiple shipments as per the contract and with a maximum tenure one year. The AD will approve the Electronic Import Form of the total amount of the contract against which multiple Goods Declarations (GDs) can be attached as per the applicable procedure.
However, the requirement for routing of shipping documents through banks will not be mandatory. The Pakistani importer may directly receive shipping documents from an Afghani exporter and get the goods cleared after attachment of GD(s) with Electronic Import Form.
The ADs, upon receipt of copies of shipping documents for each shipment from the importer, shall make payment after verifying amount of intended remittance from GD(s) attached with the respective Electronic Import Form. According to SBP, all other terms and conditions will remain unchanged on EIF process.
In order to import goods into Pakistan, all importers are required to submit EIF request through their Web based One Customs (WeBOC) user ID to any Authorized Dealer of their choice in Pakistan.
The EIF was implemented with a view to curbing the illegal and duplicate payments of imports from Pakistan by unscrupulous elements The EIF module in the Pakistan Customs’ electronic goods clearance system called WeBOC has been developed in consultation with relevant stakeholders and last year, the SBP had set out rules and regulations regarding imports against registration of contract through Electronic Import Form to facilitate traders.