KATHMANDU, Feb 10: The Department of Customs (DoC) will soon review valuation of around 200,000 items the country imports, as prices of these products fluctuate rapidly and complaints about under invoicing of these items surge.
Rana Bahadur Shrestha, director general of the DoC, said the list includes items under categories such as grocery, garment, cosmetics and electronics.
The list, however, does not include raw materials and products used in industrial production, according to Shrestha. He was speaking at an interaction on Customs Related Issues organized by Nepal-China Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCCI) on Thursday.
Currently, more than 5,000 items fall under the Harmonize System Code (HS Code)--a set of names and numbers that classify traded products. However, hundreds of thousands of products fall under the sub-categories of the HS Code.
Shrestha also informed that the DoC was introducing e-bidding within three weeks to auction off goods confiscated by customs offices. The step is being taken amid rising complaints of alleged irregularities in auctioning of confiscated goods.
Zhu Wei, second secretary (Economic and Commercial) at the Chinese Embassy, said Nepal has not been able to narrow down the burgeoning Nepal-China trade deficit as it has failed to benefit from the duty free entry facility provided by China on hundreds of goods.
China has exempted a total of 4,810 items. Of this, 361 Nepali products are eligible for the facility.
“We always want to take in more products from Nepal under the zero tariff facility and support development of the customs infrastructure in the country. However, Nepal is yet to strengthen its supply capacity to bring down the existing trade deficit with China,” said Zhu.
The government data show that Nepal had exported only Rs 746 million worth of goods to China against imports of Rs 45.63 billion during the fiscal year 2010/11.
At Thursday´s interaction, Nepali traders complained of poor customs infrastructure at Tatopani-- the key northern custom point - ´higher´ customs duty, frequent hassles by Chinese customs officials and opaque system for auctioning goods confiscated at customs.
Rajesh Kaji Shrestha, president of the NCCCI, demanded that the government bring down the customs duties on imports to encourage traders to issue VAT bills upon sales of goods. “We can effectively implement the VAT system only by lowering the customs duty for imported goods,” he said.