Govt probes low invoicing of imports from China


NEW DELHI: The government has launched a probe to examine instances of under-invoicing of Chinese goods imported into the country, with customs authorities reworking the risk-assessment mechanism, top government officials said on Monday.
Under-invoicing of imports is done to evade customs duties and GST as well as to avoid requirements for imports over a certain value. These goods have an unfavourable price advantage in domestic market by paying lower duty. For long, the government has suspected that Chinese businesses resort to unfair trade practices, with some of the top telecom companies also under the scanner of customs authorities.
The issue was flagged by the commerce department to the finance ministry and the customs officials have increased the risk profiling, which has resulted in some seizures, following a check on the cargo coming from across the border, a senior officer said.
During April-December, imports from China have gone up by around 12% to close to $76 billion, while exports have contracted 36% to $11 billion, according to commerce department estimates. Latest data released by Chinese authorities have shown that in 2022, India’s trade deficit with China crossed $100 billion for the first time, raising fresh concerns at a time, when the government is seeking to reduce shipments.
Officials said Covid restrictions in China cut exports. But with India dependent on key inputs, such as basic drugs to manufacture medicines, imports had not come down.

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