FFFAI Biennial Convention: Government assures industry friendly Rules
Government assures industry friendly Regulations
The 21st Biennial Convention of the Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations in India (FFFAI), which was held from June 14-16 in Delhi, concluded on a high note, with an assurance from the Ministry of Finance, Government of India that the ensuing new Regulations for Customs Brokers would address the concern of the industry. With the theme ‘Customs Broker: New Paradigm, New Opportunities, New League’, the Convention was attended by about 500 delegates from across India and foreign countries.
In view of the steady changes in the international trade scenario and changing rule and regulations, the 21st Biennial Convention was very crucial for thousands of customs house agents ( now customs brokers) and freight forwarders in India. It is pertinent to mention that about 95 per cent of international trade is operated by customs brokers that involve both security as well as financial interests of the country. Accordingly, considering the fast- changing roles and responsibilities of customs house agents (CHAs), the Government of India made the changes in the Finance Bill- 2013 by elevating CHAs to Customs Brokers in synce with international practice. In the meanwhile, the government has brought several rules like KYC, Self Assessment, AEO to regulate the CHA operations. The industry has been raising its voice expressing its concern over the impending threat pertaining to retention of the licenses of CHAs.
Inaugurating the convention as Chief Guest, Sumeet Bose, Revenue Secretary, Government of India said, “Yes, it is a challenging time for all. However, we are highly optimistic about growth with a targeted GDP growth of 6.5 per cent. And, to achieve the overall growth target of the country, customs brokers have to play a vital role, which they have been doing for years. I am assuring you the forthcoming new Customs Brokers’ Regulations will remove all your concerns, and it would be beneficiary for all.” He also appealed to Customs officials to be more responsive. “There should be exchange of ideas between customs officials and industry practitioners. We will take serious note on the discussions held at the FFFAI convention to take positive action,” he assured.
The jam-packed inauguration function was also addressed by Shantanu
Bhadkamkar, Chairman, FFFAI; Sandhya Baliga, Member (Legal & Judicial), Customs; Gautam Chatterjee, DG Shipping and George Zografos, Chairman, IFCBA. Shashikiran Shetty, Chairman, Awashya Group was conferred with Hall of Fame award at this function.
In his speech, Bhadkamkar emphasised on skill development of the Customs
Brokers (the new avatars) to survive in the changing scenario, owing to new rules and regulations and requirements. “As of now, we are focussed on day- to- day business related issues and to serve our customers. However, the need of the hour is to think about our own skill development and overall growth. We will have to embrace changes,” appealed the FFFAI Chairman.
The business sessions of the convention witnessed huge participations by the delegates. The FFFAI members discussed both pressing issues as well as enhancement of knowledge. The business and knowledge sessions were addressed by Bhadkamkar;
Sankalpa Bhattacharjay, Director, KPMG India; Yashodha Parande, Member, Authority for Advance Rulling; Sobha Chary, Member (personnel & Vigilance); George Joseph, EC Member, FFFAI; Sandeep Bhatnagar, JS (Customs), CBEC; Blasé D’Souza, Director Materials,
Ingram Micro India; Adil Malia, Group
President-HR, Essar Group; Kurien
Mathew, Advisor FFFAI and other industry practitioners and experts.
The convention also had one special panel discussion, conducted by FFCBA members including Jaime King, Michel Vallee, Carol West, Janice McBride
and Federico Zuniga. They spoke on Initiative in WCO, Global Security Concerns & Customs Laws, Global Review of Customs Brokers Regulation, PSCG and other initiatives.
The IFCBA has been representing the interests of the worlds’ customs brokers and their clients since 1990. Many of our member associations (like FFFAI in India) have been involved in similar activities within their own countries for nearly a century. The IFCBA has been a member of the WCO Private Sector Consultative Group since 2006 and its representatives have been dedicated participants in PSCG activities relating to the SAFE Framework of Standards, capacity building initiatives, and trade facilitation. The IFCBA believes that it is necessary to have close cooperation between the public and private sectors to achieve mutual benefits, including a balance between security and facilitation and their associated costs and benefits.
Justice Girish Thakorlal Nanavati attended the concluding session of FFFAI Golden Jubilee Celebration as the Chief Guest. He urged for compliance of new regulations in the greater interest of the industry. He also appealed to the government to adopt industry-friendly regulations.
IFCBA members at the FFFAI convention