Customs Clearance Procedures for Export

Section 131 of the Customs Act, 1969 requires clearance of Customs for export. According to section 131, goods shall not be allowed to load/stuff in containers or ship for export unless an export declaration (known as Bill of Export/Shipping Bill) is submitted to Customs in a prescribed format, and the same is approved by the Customs authority. Description of goods, value, name of exporters, name of foreign buyers/importers, and name of transport operators are specified in the declaration.

According to the Prescribed Bill of Entry and Bill of Export Form Order, 2001 issued by the NBR, following documents are to be enclosed (for all export consignments) with the Bill of Export for customs clearance:

  1. Export L/C; if there is no export L/C, Export Contract or Purchase Order or Export Guarantee approved by the negotiating bank.
  2. Commercial invoice containing detailed description of goods and signed by the exporter.
  3. Packing list containing quantity, weight and packing information.
  4. EXP form certified by Authorized Dealers (ADs) to ensure the realization of export proceeds.
  5. Certificate of Origin of export goods (issued by EPB or Chamber of Commerce and Industry).
  6. VAT registration certificate.
  7. Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) issued by Income Tax Department under the NBR.

For some categories, product-wise additional certification/documents are necessary for export.

Some of them include:

1. ERC for jute, jute goods and tea.
2. Consignment wise export permit issued by the Bangladesh Tea Board for export of tea.
3. Approval of the Ministry of Industries in the case of export of Urea fertilizer produced in all factories except KAFCO.
4. ‘No objection certificate’ from the Ministry of Information in the case of export of entertainment programs, music, drama, films, documentary films etc. in the form of audio cassettes, video cassettes, CDs, DVDs etc.
5. Utilization Declaration for export of RMG under bonded warehouse or Utilization Permission for export of other goods under bonded warehouse.
6. Phytosanitary certificate for agricultural goods (such as vegetables, corns etc.) as per the requirement of the country of export (issued by the Plant Protection Wing of the Department of Agriculture Extension).
7. Quality control certificate in case of export of products for which such certificate is obligatory (e.g. quality control certificate by the Department of Fisheries is necessary as per the requirements of the country of destination for frozen fish).
8. NOC from the CCI&E and Bangladesh Bank to allow exports on a export-cum-import or returnable basis.
9. Bank guarantee equaling the value of goods to be exported on a export-cum-import or returnable basis.

Once the export declaration is approved by the Customs authority after documentary check and physical verification of export consignments, exportable goods are loaded into containers and stuffed into the ship/aircraft/truck. Export is complete once the ship/truck/airlines leaves the port, and customs officer in charge (PO-on-Board/gate division officer in charge) signs on the back of the 2nd copy of the shipping bill (as ‘shipped on board’). It is to be noted that where goods are loaded into containers at the private ICDs/exporters’ premises, gate division officer may check the goods before it proceeds to the port area.

Customs Clearance Procedures for Import

For imported goods into Bangladesh, shipping agents submit their manifest data (containing description of imported goods by ship) electronically to the Customs authority. In the case of import by truck (through land customs stations), trucking company/driver submits IGM to the customs authority. Once the Import General Manifest (IGM) is submitted online (In the case of import by truck, manually), the nominated C&F Agent (or the importer himself) completes the goods declaration (popularly known as Bill of Entry or B/E) from their own premises and submits the goods declaration to Customs systems through ASYCUDA World. The declaration or B/E has to be made in a specific format, known as Single Administrative Document (SAD).

The Prescribed Bill of Entry and Bill of Export Form Order, 2001 issued by the NBR outlines the documentary submission requirements. For release of goods from Customs, following documents need to be submitted along with the declaration for all types of imports:

  1. Letter of Credit (L/C).
  2. Invoice
  3. Bill of Lading/AWB/Truck Receipt/Railway Receipt
  4. Packing List
  5. “Country of Origin” Certificate (except coal and export oriented garments industries)
  6. Insurance policy/cover note
  7. VAT/BIN Certificate

Following additional documents are required for different types of goods, such as:

  1. BDS standard will be mandatory for clearence of 55 items, and in case where no certificate from and accredited laboratory from the exporting country is available, a certificate from the BSTI is necessary, as per Import Policy Order, 2015-2018 Para 26(28).
  2. Radioactivity test report from the concerned authority of the exporting country for food items (Import Policy Order, 2015-2018 Para 16).
  3. Clearance certificate(s) from the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission for food items to the effect that the radioactivity level found in the imported food-stuff is within the acceptable limit (Import Policy Order, 2015-2018 Para 16(9)).
  4. Pre-shipment Inspection test report for milk food products and powder milk, coal and hard coke, Break Acrylic (HS 39.15 and 3915.90), M.S. Billets (7207) and for items where the  value of a single item authorized for import by public sector agencies is Taka fifty lac or above.
  5. Approval letter of the Chief Inspector of Explosives of the Ministry of Power, Energy & Mineral Resources for import of explosives (Import Policy Order, 2015-2018 Para 26(1)).
  6. Copy of intellectual property certificate (by the IPR holder of the exporting country)  in the case of import of branded goods registered under any law related to IP in Bangladesh [Para 5(6)(c) of Import Policy Order, 2015-18]

Once the duties and taxes are assessed by Customs, the importer (or his C&F agent) pays duties and taxes. On payment of duties and taxes assessed, Customs issues release order for clearance and after completion of port formalities, goods are cleared.

Samples valued up to US $100 and weighing up to 5 kg is cleared (through manual system) same-day (in Dhaka Air freight) if the consignee authorizes duty and tax to be billed to the shipper on the Air Waybill. Samples valued over US $100 and weighing more than 5 kg will require formal clearance through ASYCUDA WORLD system.

It is to be noted that for the customs clearance of imported animals, plants and plant products, quarantine conditions (such as certification from quarantine department, fumigation etc.) shall have to be observed. As per Import Policy Order, 2015-2018 Para 26(60), fumigation is mandatory in case of import of raw cotton produced and packed in Western Hemisphere.

If an import consignment is not cleared within 21 days (of the date of unloading at a Customs airport) or 30 days (of the date of unloading at a customs-port or a land customs station or customs-inland container depot), or within the extended time as the appropriate officer may allow, the consignment may be disposed of through auction [Section 82 of the Customs Act 1969].

In cases, where it is not possible immediately to assess customs duty that may be payable on any imported goods for the reason that the goods require chemical or other test or a further enquiry for purposes of assessment, or that all the documents or complete documents or full information pertaining to those goods have not been furnished, Customs authority may assess the consignment provisionally. In such cases, the importer (except goods entered for warehousing) needs to furnish unconditional bank guarantee/security deposit of an amount (as deemed sufficient by Customs) from a scheduled bank for the payment of the excess amount of duty that may be payable after the final assessment. In this case, the final assessment has to be completed within a period of 120 working days from the date of provisional assessment.