ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s customs department plans to broaden its oversight of commodities, encompassing imports valued up to Rs3.030 trillion by September to curb mis-invoicing and under-invoicing practices, said a senior customs official.

To enhance transparency in valuation, the customs department will transition from the current Valuation Rulings (VRs) to Publication Valuation Rulings (PVRs). These PVRs are grounded in international research data, which will also limit the discretionary power of customs officials.

Director, Directorate General of Customs Valuation, Karachi Fayaz Rasool Maken told Dawn that the import values of PVRs are projected to increase from Rs2.357tr in 2022-23 to Rs3.030tr by the end of 2023-24. He emphasised that this trend underscores the customs department’s intention to transition from VRs to PVRs, which he described as a more reliable and transparent system.

Mr Maken stated that implementing PVRs has significantly reduced the likelihood of mis-invoicing and under-invoicing in Pakistan’s imports, valued at Rs5.5tr. He considers this a substantial accomplishment, particularly because other imports, such as duty-free items and petroleum products, typically present a lower risk of mis-invoicing and under-invoicing.

Earlier in the day, Mr Maken conducted the orientation session on implementation of Linking International Value (LlVE) System under Innovation Framework to control mis-invoicing, which was developed and deployed in December 2022. Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) hosted the session.

Mr Maken said that the directorate of valuation has so far linked over 150 commodities involving an import value of Rs2.280tr, which cover products including HRC, CRC, GP, food items, Paper, Yarn, Crude Oil & LPG, Polymers and Chemicals, etc — with international publications — LME, Public Ledger, Asian Pulp and paper, Yarn and Fibre database, Platts, ICIS, Argus Media, Reuter and CCFEI etc.

He said that in order to fulfil this objective effectively, the customs department is exploring more robust databases, including QY Research, Statista, and Factiva, to arrive at the actual values of goods as envisioned by the WTO Valuation Agreement. QY Research is a leading global market research and consulting company that offers exhaustive information, inter alia, about commodity prices.

Mr Maken said that the transition from VRs to PVRs will not only optimise revenue realisation but also minimise trade/valuation disputes and ensure regulatory benefits through expeditious clearances and trade facilitation.

FPCCI chief Atif Ikram Sheikh delivered the welcome note and appreciated the efforts of Customs in creating a conducive environment for trade and industry.

Published in Dawn, April 20th, 2024

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