4 years ago

Service charge on export consignments likely

Retaining GSP facility in EU

File photo (Collected)
File photo (Collected)

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The government is contemplating imposing service charge on export consignment under the European Union's (EU) Registered Exporter System (REX) aiming to retain the GSP facility there, officials said.

The rate of service charge is likely to be fixed at Tk 500 per consignment. Or the board of directors of the state-run Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) would fix the rate after getting approval from the commerce ministry, they added.

"We want to impose service charge rationally on the country's exporters concerned," a senior EPB official familiar with the issue said.

The REX is a system of certification of origin of goods based on a principle of self-certification, according to the EU official website.

The REX certification system of origin of goods is applicable for the EU's GSP beneficiary countries and the EU notified Bangladesh about it in 2017.

The EPB started registering local exporters with the EU's REX database system since July 21 last year, an official said.

To date, the EPB has registered around 2,000 local exporters, the majority of whom are from the textile and RMG sector, he added.

The exporters are facing difficulties due to recent declining trend in export growth. Exporters, however, expressed deep concern over the proposed charge, saying that the growth of the export sector would be affected badly if the government approves it, industry insiders said.

If the system is introduced, it would be suicidal for the exporters, they warned.

According to the EU guideline, Statement of Origin (SoO) the exporters concerned announce has to maintain and complete by the EPB.

Preparing the database, monitoring, verification, any changes including amendment, enchantment of REX have to complete after scrutiny and sorting in details that are huge time-consuming than that of issuing earlier GSP, according to the EPB document.

But the responsibility of the EPB has been increased manifold for completion of REX procedures. At the same time, procedural journey is very cost-effective. The database will also be kept preserved for five-year period, the document showed.

To control forgery, monitoring, verification/inspection, risk analysis of the data provided by the exporters, necessary data matching software will have to be collected, established and operated for collection of real time data from the National Board of Revenue (NBR) and the central bank, it reads.

For which, additional fund have to be kept aside. Meanwhile, a move has been taken to develop the data matching software, it also added.

The exporters get GSP facility on the basis of information which is provided in the SoO. Currently, the number of exporters to the EU is around 3,000.

However, country's exporters are perusing the government for not imposing such charges for the sake of the country's export sector.

The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association president said, "We have already approached EPB for waiver. Since their work pressure will decrease, we believe that they should not be charging us at all."

The effective application date of REX system for Bangladesh began on January 01, 2019, and ended on December 31.

Bangladesh has got a six-month grace period until June 30 to comply with the European Union's (EU) Registered Exporter (REX) certification system of origin of goods.

"There will be no scope to issue GSP form-A (the existing certification system) after the June 30 deadline," a deputy director of the state-run entity warned.

The REX system is based on principle of self-certification by exporters, who will issue statements on origin to themselves on eligibility of duty-free facility to the EU, the biggest export market of Bangladesh.

To be entitled to issue the statements on origin, all local exporters will have to be registered with the EU database, known as the REX system, through the EPB.

The REX system has been implemented to simplify export formalities as well as to reduce workload, cost of exporter and administrative burden.

Currently, Bangladesh enjoys duty-free facility in exporting goods to the EU under its EBA (everything but arms) scheme. More than 60 per cent of Bangladeshi goods are exported to the EU.

The country fetched US$ 40.53 billion by exporting goods in the fiscal year 2018-19, according to the official data.

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