Customs admin need to use IT to facilitate trade, check revenue loss: CBIC

He said the power of social media, analytics, and cloud computing in empowering customs administration

Customs administration across the globe will have to harness modern technology, like Artificial Intelligence and IoT, to facilitate cross border trade and to check tax evasion, CBIC Chairperson S Ramesh said today.

Speaking on the occasion of India becoming the Vice-Chair of the Asia Pacific (APAC) Region of World Customs Organisation (WCO) , Ramesh said the country will encourage greater communication and connectivity within the region and implement single window system for inter-operability among stakeholders.

Listing out the strategic guiding principles that India as a vice-chair of the APAC region would follow for two years till June 2020, he said the power of social media, analytics, and cloud computing in empowering customs administration in striking the right balance between facilitation and enforcement will have to be nurtured.

"We shall endeavour to ensure that modern technologies, such as Block Chain, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, -based track and trace mechanism become essential tools which will be available to all customs administrations.

"We need to work towards active deployment of non-intrusive inspection and detection technique at sea ports, airports, borders...," Ramesh said at an event organised by Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) and CII.

Stating that it is imperative to harness technological advancements considering the large trade balance, he said there is no alternative than to adopt technology for the objective of facilitating trade and checking revenue loss.

"What we now require is to remove the bottlenecks in trade to have faster release time and have lower cost, and to enhance competitiveness and business opportunities.

"There is a need to enable every customs administration to coordinate in a timely manner not only with other border agencies, but also with international partners. It is fact that inter-state coordination in trade matters can increase compliance and reduce potential errors, thereby loss of revenues," Ramesh said.

WCO represents 182 Customs administrations across the globe that collectively process approximately 98 per cent of world trade. As the global centre of customs expertise, the WCO is the voice of the international customs community.

As the vice-chair for the APAC regions, India will encourage greater communication and connectivity within the region so that the perspectives can be shared.

"Apart from workshops, we will use modern technological tools, e-platforms and video conferences to facilitate vibrant communication. In the area of communication, we strive towards full implementation of Single window which will usher in inter-operability among stakeholders. We have encouraged sharing of information among all members to promote globally networked customs," he added.

To this effect, India will host the WCO Policy Commission meeting in Mumbai on December 3-5, 2018.

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