Traders halt transportation of goods imported from China

- Rishiram Poudyal, CHAUTARA
Traders halt transportation of goods imported from China

Apr 22, 2015-

Traders have halted transportation of goods imported from China from last week in protest against the government’s plan to do customs valuation based on the name and size of the products.

They have argued that the quality of the goods should also be considered as prices differ based on the quality despite having the same name.

Importers said that as the quality of the goods shipped through this border point was usually low, they should not be treated in the same way as high value goods imported through other border points.

As revenue collection through the Tatopani customs decreased significantly this year, the customs office has come up with a plan to change the evaluation process.  

With traders halting transportation of goods, a large quantity of readymade garments and sandals imported for the summer season have been stranded at the border.

“The customs valuation is done based on name and size,” said Divya Raj Pokharel, chief of the Tatopani Customs Office. As traders cannot produce documents as designed by the government to ensure high or low quality, the valuation cannot be done in the way demanded by them. A source said that the system of valuation based on the quality of goods was removed after the Department of Customs felt that such a provision allowed traders and customs officials to collude with each other. “The valuation system was changed after intense pressure from the Department of Customs,” said the source.

Department of Customs Director Narayan Sharma, however, said that the department had not issued any new directive to Tatopani customs regarding valuation. “We have concluded a seminar on valuation and we are documenting the conclusion of the meeting,” he said.

According to the source, the department has given a verbal warning to customs employees that the department would initiate action against them if revenue collection differed by just Rs10,000 per container.

Traders said that the new valuation system was against international valuation practices. “The government seems to be treating goods that are sold in Durbar Marg in Kathmandu and in Kathmandu’s streets in the same way in the valuation process,” said Buddha Raj Basnet, advisor of the Nepal Trans-Himalayan Commerce Association. He questioned how the value of the products could be the same just because the name of the goods were the same.

According to Bishnu Bahadur Khatri, president of the Nepal Trans-Himalayan Commerce Association, the goods imported through Tatopani is usually of lower quality and the valuation should be done based on this fact. Since landslides in Jure, Sindhupalchok obstructed trade with China for many months, Tatopani Customs has been struggling to collect the targeted amount of revenue. Rs2.57 billion had been collected as of first nine months of the current fiscal year while the collection was Rs3.99 billion during the same period in the last fiscal.

Customs chief Pokharel said that revenue collection had been affected as the inflow of goods decreased this year. As of the third quarter this year, goods worth Rs10.5 billion had been imported through Tatopani Customs while the figure was Rs14.2 billion during the same period in the last fiscal.

Published: 23-04-2015 09:07

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