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Verification of the Preferential Certificates of Origin in terms of CAROTAR Rules 2020- (Ministry of Finance ) (17 Dec 2020)



1. Reference is drawn to Board's letter dated 13.11.20120 vide file of even number (copy enclosed), wherein it was advised to ensure judicious application of CAROTAR 2020, without causing disruption to the supply chain. It was also advised to review the function of customs ports under your charge to ensure that unnecessary delays and arbitrary practices are not being resorted to during custom clearance of goods.

2. On review of the verification requests in terms of rule 6 of CAROTAR 2020, being received by the FTA Cell in the Board, it is observed that significant number of such requests have to be returned on account of being deficient, thus leading to delay in verification process and adversely impacting trade facilitation.

2.1 Common grounds on which the requests are being returned to field formations are:

(i) the scanned documents are found to be illegible;

(ii) the certificates are being scanned and sent without requisite covering letter to indicate nature of request or approval of jurisdictional Principal Commissioner or Commissioner; or

(iii) bulk COOs are sent rather that representative COOs, as required in terms of Para 4(i) of Board's circular 38/2020-Cus, dated 21.08.2020.

3. It is also observed that some requests do not appear to merit verification, but continue to be referred to the Board for same. Some illustrative examples of such grounds for verification are:

(i) non-availability of name of issuing authority, even in cases where same is not mandated as per that specific trade agreement:

(ii) non-availability of specimen seal and signatures for cases where same has already been communicated by the Board.

4. Attention is also drawn to para 4 (iv) of Circular 38/2020-Cus, dated 21.08.2020, wherein it has been advised to ensure that verification requests should be communicated immediately to the Board in case requests are in terms of rule 6(1 )(a) or 6(1 )(c) of CROTAR 2020; and within 10 days from the date of receipt of requisite information and documents from the importer in case the request is being considered in terms of rule 6(1)(b). It has however been observed that matters are being referred to the Board after significant time lapse.

4.1 Attention is also drawn to para 7.1 of the aforementioned Circular, wherein it has been advised to email all verification related correspondence to Board on, to help reduce time taken in communication. It is however observed that many field formations continue to dispatch only physical documents without using the email mode, leading to unwarranted delays in processing of the matter.

5. It is directed that, where a reference for verification is made to the Board in terms of rule 6 of CAROTAR. 2020, same should be complete, and follow the established standard operating procedures, prescribed format and timelines. All proposals for verification should be duly vetted to ensure valid grounds for verification.

6. Further, representation from trade are still being received about difficulties being faced on account of multiple queries or importers being asked to directly seek clarifications from the issuing authorities of the exporting country. Accordingly, officers under your charge may also be sensitised to ensure that enquiry on origin of imported goods is initiated only where there are sufficient grounds to suspect origin of a good, or where same has been identified as a risk by the Risk Management System. They should be suitably supervised to ensure that unnecessary queries are not raised on account of goods origin, as also advised at para 2.2 of Circular No. 45/2020-Customs, dated 12.10.2020.

7. Any difficulties faced or doubts arising in the implementation of these instructions or CAROTAR, 2020 may please be brought to the notice of Board.


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