Commerce Ministry asks traders to suggest HS codes for products having no classification

By: |
January 17, 2020 8:30 PM

It also asked traders to strictly mention the respective codes in their bills of entry at the time of imports, failing which the government will consider imposing restrictions for inbound shipments of those goods.

Commerce Ministry, tariff codes, DGFT, residual code category, import policyIt was also informed that many importers are not doing due diligence in mentioning correct codes and are casually putting the item under “others” category, which is a residual code category.

The Commerce Ministry on Friday asked traders to suggest appropriate HSN or tariff codes for products imported by them which do not have any classification. It also asked traders to strictly mention the respective codes in their bills of entry at the time of imports, failing which the government will consider imposing restrictions for inbound shipments of those goods.

In a trade notice, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said it had issued a notification on October 22 last year asking members of trade and industry to be careful while filing their bill of entry at the time of import. They were advised to mention specific HS codes at 8 digit level, where they exist instead of using the “others” category.

It was also informed that many importers are not doing due diligence in mentioning correct codes and are casually putting the item under “others” category, which is a residual code category. “However, despite clear advisory in this notification, it has been noted that import under ‘others’ category continue to be widely used in the bills of entry.

“Accordingly, it is reiterated that all importers should file their bills of entry with specific codes available for the imported items under ITC (HS), 2017, Schedule – I (import policy) at 8 digit level, and to avoid as far as possible ‘others’ category,” it said.

It added that the matter will be reviewed shortly, and in the event of non-compliance and continued mis-classification by the importers, government “may consider” bringing a licensing regime for all items imported under the ‘others’ category by shifting these items from free to restricted category.

If traders are of the view that existing HS codes are not sufficient to cover the goods that they are importing, they should immediately suggest appropriate HS codes at 8 digit level for such goods, it added.

The ministry has earlier raised serious concerns over rise in imports in the ‘others’ category. In trade parlance, every product is categorised under an HSN code (Harmonised System of Nomenclature). It helps in systematic classification of goods across the globe. Out of over USD 500 billion worth of imports in 2018-19, the ‘others’ category accounted for about USD 130 billion.

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