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Use of uniform customs document advocated The Hindu, Chennai, August 13, 2009

To offset the dip in trade volumes owing to the economic crisis, businessmen should make extensive use of "ATA Carnet" as is done in the developed countries, said Alop K. Mittal, adviser to the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), here on Tuesday.

ATA is an acronym for the French and English words 'Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission.' It is an international uniform customs document issued in 66 countries. It permits duty free temporary admission of goods into a member-country without the need to raise customs bond, payment of duty and fulfilment of other customs formalities in one or more countries.

Addressing FICCI members at a workshop on 'ATA Carnet: Rights and Obligations,' he said it was a testing time for the developed and developing countries and efforts should be made by the business community to take full advantage of international taxation practices and regulations. P. Murari, adviser to the FICCI president, said the cumulative exports from April to June 2009 was Rs.1,72,762 crore against Rs.2,14,808 crore in the corresponding period last year, and imports were Rs.2,48,171 crore (Rs.3,34,191 crore). This represented a drop of 31 per cent and 36.5 per cent respectively in dollar terms, he said.

P.S. Pruthi, Commissioner of Customs and Export Promotion, Central Board Excise and Customs, said that in the last two to three years, indirect tax collections had declined while direct tax collections had gone up.

C. Hari Rao, Additional Commissioner of Customs, Air Cargo Complex, Chennai, said: "FICCI is the National Issuing and Guaranteeing Association for ATA Carnets in India. It has been doing a good job."

S. Vijayalakshmi, Director, FICCI, and D.V. Venkatgiri, Director, FICCI-Tamil Nadu State Council also spoke in the workshop.