Kathmandu, January 14
The government’s preparation to implement the provisions of Revised Kyoto Convention for the next five years is expected to result in further reforms in customs simplification and harmonisation and ultimately boost the country’s foreign trade.
Nepal became a party state to this convention as the Parliament ratified the protocol of amendments to the Revised Kyoto Convention in September of last year.
The Department of Customs (DoC) has been preparing to implement the provisions of Revised Kyoto Convention through Customs Reform and Modernisation Strategies and Action Plan (2017-21), which is going to be introduced on January 26 on the occasion of the International Customs Day.
As a party to this convention, the country needs to develop uniformed customs practice and procedure like in other countries of the world that have become a party to this convention.
The country needs to meet the international trade and customs practices for facilitation through simplification of customs, appropriate standards of customs control and reduction in the costs to traders with efficient and effective customs processing.
The revised convention is expected to benefit many stakeholders — both the government and the private sector. Traders will benefit because of improved facilitation and reduced costs. Likewise, shippers and transport operators will benefit from uniform customs controls and quicker movement of cargoes and people.
The government will benefit from more effective controls that will increase border security and reduce revenue leakage. Overall, the modernisation and simplification of customs procedures under the Kyoto Convention is expected to provide predictability and efficiency to international trade.
The CRMSAP (2017-21) has also included the provisions of World Trade Organisation’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), as a majority of the provisions included in TFA are related with customs. The TFA has been tabled at the Parliament this week for ratification. The CRMSAP (2017-21) has been submitted to the Ministry of Finance for final approval.
According to Mimansh Adhikari, director of DoC, the department will formulate an annual plan based on the CRMSAP and beginning next fiscal, top 10 customs offices would also need to prepare annual plans in coordination and support of DoC to implement the provisions of customs simplification and modernisation as envisaged by the Revised Kyoto Convention and TFA.
The DoC will be able to implement the ‘single window’ system from next fiscal as a part of customs modernisation. Reportedly, this system would inter-link dozens of agencies involved in customs procedure, like quarantine, banks, tax offices and customs agents, among others.
Customs lab strengthening and interface among labs of Department of Food Technology and Quality Control and Nepal Bureau of Standards and Metrology and customs are other major priorities of the DoC. Similarly, the CRMSAP has also envisioned streamlining coordinated border management agencies for effective service to the traders and passengers.
The DoC has sought Rs 9.5 billion to implement the CRMSAP (2017-21), which is expected to provide necessary impetus for the growth of international trade.
A version of this article appears in print on January 15, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.