Nepal proposes customs pact with India to curb border trade offences

“We have proposed the customs agreement and if it is agreed upon and signed, it will reduce customs-related offences,’’
Nepal proposes customs pact with India to curb border trade offences

NEW DELHI: Nepal has proposed a customs agreement with India that will enable exchange of information which could help in preventing and reducing customs related offences across the border.

India is Nepal’s largest trading partner and shares a border of over 1850 km with five Indian states – Sikkim, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Uttrakhand. Since most of the trade takes place through land, the instances of offences are high and the Nepalese proposal (once accepted by India) could reduce them.

“We have proposed the customs agreement and if it is is agreed upon and signed it will reduce customs related offenses,’’ said Ram Prasad Ghimire, revenue secretary of the Ministry of Finance in Birgunj on Sunday.

India hasn’t yet responded on the proposal, but sources say that any proposal that will help in curbing offences across the border, is likely to be considered and implemented as it works in favour of both nations.

In December, 2023, India exported $603 million worth goods to Nepal and imported $77.7 million from Nepal.

Meanwhile, at present Nepal is imposing a 50 per cent penalty if a mismatch is noticed between the invoice bill and customs records.

Customs rules between India and Nepal are frequently reviewed and changed.

``Since Nepal is a landlocked country, their international trade too transits from India – mainly through Indian ports in Haldia and Kolkata in West Bengal. While since 2016 Vishakapatnam Port too is bringing in freight from Nepal. From these ports the goods are shipped through roadways or railways to Nepal’s border customs,’’ according to Nepal’s Ministry of Commerce, Industries and Supplies (Trade and Exchange Promotion Centre).

As of now, for goods that Nepal imports from India, the check lists includes an authority letter by customs agent, delivery order in case of inland clearance depots (ICD) at Biratnagar, Birgunj and Bhairahawa. Besides an invoice is required along with a Nepalese Customs Declaration, a packing list.

``If the agreement that Nepal is proposing is agreed upon then there can be checks imposed on all the mandates for export and import, which is expected to prevent offences,’’ said a source.

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