Govt move to ban duty-free ‘gifts’ imports should exclude those sent by individuals: PCCI

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 20, 2020

Several goods from China sent to India as ‘gifts’ were entering the country without payment of Customs duties, it was said   -  hatman12

The Centre’s move to clamp down on Chinese goods coming into the country through the e-commerce route as duty-free ‘gifts’ could affect genuine gifts sent by individuals working in foreign countries to their family and friends and a distinction needs to be made between the two, the Pravasi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) has said.

“The government may please consider stopping gifts sent by companies to individuals instead of banning the duty-free gifts which are sent by individual to individual,” Ravi Nair fom the PCCI said in a representation to Minister of State for External Affairs, V Muraleedharan. The PCCI is a Kerala-based body representing interests of Indian workers abroad, especially in the GCC countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and UAE.

As per a notification of the Directorate-General of Foreign Trade last month, import of goods, including those purchased from e-commerce portals through post or courier where Customs clearance is sought as gifts, is prohibited except for life-saving drugs/medicines and ‘rakhi’.

Prior to this the Centre allowed ‘gifts’ up to ₹5,000 to be shipped to customers through customs without payment of customs duties. However, domestic industry had pointed out to the government that a large volume of goods from China was being sent to India as ‘gifts’ and were entering the country without payment of Customs duties.

The move to ban such ‘gifts’ was aimed at stopping Chinese e-commerce Websites such as Ali Express, Club Factory, and Shein which were prolific users of the route.

PCCI pointed out that poor labourers working in GCC countries sent gifts to their close relatives and friends. “The gifts sent from GCC do not involve payment whereas e-commerce transactions are purely commercial,” the representation said indicating that it was not difficult to make a distinction between the two.

Published on January 20, 2020

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