ISLAMABAD: The government has reversed the facility of temporary import of duty-free vehicles for overseas Pakistanis and restricted it only to foreign tourists.
A series of amendments were made through a customs notification, SRO533, by amending rules for temporary import of vehicles.
Over the last five years, 1000 vehicles entered Pakistan under the tourist facility, while only 900 were verified to have left the country. The Customs department is still looking for the remaining 100 vehicles, including untraceable heavy bikes.
Under this facility, the government allowed tourists to bring vehicles into the country and take back to their home country.
Three significant changes have been introduced in the facility. The major change was that the temporary import of vehicle facilities was withdrawn for Pakistani passport holders. Now only foreign passport holders will be allowed to bring vehicles into the country.
All manual procedures have been done away with and replaced with a computerised system to help travellers and to keep a check on misuse of the facility.
At the same time, a monthly report will be prepared to check the status of vehicles that overstay and to suggest timely penalties.
At the end of every month, the officer in charge at the customs station of entry will reconcile all vehicles which entered through that station. If the records reveal that taxes and duties are outstanding against a vehicle after the expiry of the retention period, steps will be taken to recover all dues. Seizure of the vehicle may also be considered.
An official announcement of the FBR said that to check the misuse of carnet de-passage/temporary import of vehicles by foreigners/expatriate Pakistanis, the Federal Board of Revenue has issued SRO 533 to amend the temporary import of vehicles’ rules covered under Chapter VI of the Customs Rules 2001.
Carnet is an international customs document that permits duty-free and tax-free import of goods for one year.
Definition of ‘tourist’
Under the new rules, the definition of “tourist” has been updated. New provisions have been incorporated to strictly monitor carnet-related information through Pakistan Customs computerised system and by liaising closely with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).
The tourist’s passport will be flagged with carnet documents to properly reconcile vehicles imported under the facility.
Published in Dawn, May 9th, 2023