Govt mulls security standards to ensure safe international trade

Written by Shruti Srivastava | Shruti Srivastava | New Delhi | Updated: Jan 30 2011, 05:26am hrs
In a move to secure international trade from terrorist exploitation, the government is planning to introduce a system wherein various entities involved in the global movement of goods, including importers, exporters, warehouse owners and custom-house agents would be tagged safe and compliant with security standards.

The concept, called Authorised Economic Operator or AEO, will help these entities get speedy clearance while reducing customs intervention along with simplified customs procedures, sources told The Indian Express.

The programme envisages an internationally recognised quality mark which will identify these entities as having a secure role in the international supply chain. Entities with AEO status would be considered a secure and reliable trading partner, sources added.

Sources said the concept is in sync with policies of the World Customs Organisation (WCO), which has set up standards for securing global trade. The AEO status will ensure a low-risk score for such entities along with reduced examination and inspection, and clearance of cargo before duty payment.

For exporters, such status would mean acceptance of export declarations without bringing goods into customs area while warehouse owners will get faster approvals for a new warehouse and reduced audit.

The finance ministry is yet to finalise the norms, adding that comments have been invited from stakeholders on the initiative. As per the proposal, all people in the international supply chain undertaking customs activities in India would be eligible for the status irrespective of their business size.