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Thursday Dec 12 2019

Pakistan asks China to provide real-time data to avoid under invoicing

Rough estimates suggest that invoicing/over invoicing through Chinese borders was causing losses to the national exchequer to the tune of $4 to $6 billion on per annum basis. Photo: File

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Customs on Wednesday shared its concerns about issues in the trade data received from China under Electronic Data Exchange Mechanism, stating that the data did not Pakistani authorities to fully overcome under-invoicing in the range of $4 billion, The News reported.

“Pakistan Customs candidly shared its concern with the Chinese delegation about issues in the data received from China under Electronic Data Exchange Mechanism,” a statement from the Federal Bureau of Bureau (FBR) said. “The Chinese side subscribed to these views and assured its full-fledged cooperation to resolve this matter so that the menace of under-invoicing/over-invoicing and trade-based money laundering could effectively be curbed.”

There are some rough estimates that the menace of under-invoicing/over-invoicing through Chinese borders was causing losses to the national exchequer to the tune of $4 to $6 billion on per annum basis.

Both the countries had agreed to share electronic data exchange mechanism, however, there have been glitches as the full data was not being provided to Pakistan Customs.

The statement from the bureau further stated that the Chinese Customs delegation visited FBR and held detailed meetings with Pakistan Customs on December 10-11 to further cooperation between the authorities of the two governments.

The customs administrations of both countries have been actively involved in cooperation, information exchange and enforcement coordination.

Welcoming the delegation, FBR Chairman Shabbar Zaidi said the bond between Pakistan and China could be further be reinforced through greater collaboration and exchange of information/data between the two countries.

He also emphasised on a seamless and unhindered exchange of values declared in both countries at the time of export so that the menaces of under-invoicing and money laundering could effectively be curbed. He stated that the said matter has also come under active discussion between the Chinese ambassador and himself.

Negotiations regarding the Green Corridor were also held during the meeting. The Green Corridor will be a fast track Customs Clearance System exclusively for agricultural products at silk route Dry Port (SRDP) at Sust, Pakistan and Khunjerab Dry Port at Tashkurgan on the Chinese side.

The other areas of priority discussed in the meeting were the removal of obstacles in exchange of information, on a real-time basis, between both countries about values of goods originating from them. It was urged to have an exchange of information/intelligence to effectively control illicit flows of currency. Both sides also discussed the development of Authorised Economic Operators Programme between both countries. More effective border management cooperation was stressed by both sides.

Muhammad Javed Ghani, a member of FBR’s customs policy said that due to this expeditious customs clearance system, fresh fruit and other agricultural produce imports and exports would be cleared on priority on fulfilling of due customs and import policy requirements. There will be dedicated Customs staff and separate shed/area for the handling, examination, storage and clearance of such cargo. There will be minimum intrusive examination, with more reliance on risk-based selective examination and automated processing.

An all-out effort to expedite clearances of the agricultural products, under the proposed Green Corridor, at Sost-Khunjarab Border, was also reached at the meeting.

The meeting also decided that Pakistan Customs would share its experiences of the rollout of the Authorized Economic Operation (AEO) Program with its Chinese counterparts and both administrations would closely work towards an exchange of information about AEOs for smooth flow of trade between both countries. Cooperation between the local field officers would be enhanced and a working mechanism was decided between Urumqi Customs and the Collector, Model Collectorate of Customs, Islamabad for exchange of information about passengers travelling by air between Pakistan and China.

Originally published in The News