Tuesday, 30 May, 2023

Govt cuts duty on SAFTA imports

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 30 March, 2017 12:00 AM
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The government has reduced the customs duty (CD) on 4,609 products under the agreed trade liberalisation programme of the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA).  

The National Board of Revenue (NBR) issued a statutory regulatory order (SRO) on the duty cuts with retrospective effect from 01 January 2017.  
In the SRO, the CD has been fixed from zero percent to 5.0 percent.

Under the SAFTA agreement, traders of the South Asian countries-- India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, the Maldives and Afghanistan-- will enjoy duty cuts in case of import and export within the bloc.

According to the latest SRO from the NBR, importers having SAFTA rules of origin certificate will enjoy a reduced-duty facility on 4,609 products from the SAARC-member countries.In 2015, Bangladesh lowered the CD ranging between 0.675 percent and 7.1875 percent for the year.  The CD was reduced to zero percent to 5.0 percent for 2016 on 4,609 products for trade under the agreement.

The products include raw materials, intermediate, and finished and luxury products like readymade garments, footwear, foods, fruits, luxury items like electronics and machinery.

The products under the sensitive list that contains most of the important products in terms of protecting domestic industries and revenue collection of the country are kept out of the duty-reduction list in line with the agreement.

CDs on the products have been cut down to different rates from the 2006-base rates. Sources said importers who enjoy SAFTA facility were facing difficulties due to delay in issuance of the latest SRO.

The NBR used to issue SRO every year by reducing the CD on SAFTA products that came into effect from January. The validity of the last SRO expired on December 31, 2016.     

The SAFTA agreement, which came into effect from January 2006, member-countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation were supposed to bring down the customs duties to 0-5 percent by 2016.