Businessmen meet customs officer to break stalemate

Customs, traders have a dispute over old machinery import.

Imran Rana July 15, 2015
If the stuck containers were not cleared immediately, it would have a negative impact on the industry. PHOTO: FCCI FACEBOOK PAGE

FAISALABAD: The Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) has expressed the hope that the dispute between the customs collectorate and importers of used machinery will be resolved and the stalemate will be broken.

In order to clear the air, the FCCI invited Customs Collector Faisalabad Tauseef Qureshi to meet businessmen and end the growing mistrust between the customs department and the importers.

FCCI President Engineer Rizwan Ashraf said the local customs office and the business community had a comprehensive working relationship in the past and any misunderstanding was generated by the people from Lahore.

FCCI Standing Committee on Customs Affairs Chairman Mian Muhammad Saeed, former vice president Chaudhary Muhammad Boota and representatives of the importers of old and used machinery were also present in the meeting.

Ashraf pointed out that the increasing number of containers containing old and used machinery was a matter of grave concern.

Faisalabad was an industrial city and parts of imported old machinery were used by the local industry, he said, adding if the stuck containers were not cleared immediately, it would have a negative impact on the industry.

The dispute arose following the inspection of cargo by a customs team from Lahore. The old machinery importers have strong apprehensions that the local customs staff under pressure from the Lahore customs will put the assessed value of imported machinery at higher levels.

Briefing the industrialists about recent developments at the Faisalabad Dry Port, Qureshi said only two containers of old and used machinery were caught on the basis of wrong declaration.

He clarified that containers of printers and photocopiers were being cleared, but the importers of used machinery were not submitting papers for clearance, fearing over-valuation.

Qureshi added the local customs collectorate had not placed any restriction on the clearance of old machinery. Additionally, two notices have already been issued under Section 82 of the Customs Act asking importers to clear their consignments to avoid the auction of accumulated cargo.

He said the customs collectorate under the rules could auction these goods but he was intentionally avoiding such a harsh step, instead a customs committee had been constituted to address the apprehension and facilitate the importers of old and used machinery.

He also assured the importers that their genuine grievances would be addressed and asked them to submit documents for the clearance of containers without any further delay.

The FCCI president said the chamber would continue to play a productive role in fostering positive relations between government departments and the business community of Faisalabad.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 15th,  2015.

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