FFFAI Bi­en­nial Con­ven­tion: Govern­ment as­sures in­dus­try friendly Rules

Govern­ment as­sures in­dus­try friendly Reg­u­la­tions

Cargo Talk - - Contents -

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.

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IFCBA mem­bers at the FFFAI con­ven­tion

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Jus­tice Nana­vati

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