CBIC organises meeting of Regional Heads of Customs Administration of Asia Pacific Region of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) in Kochi

  • Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) is organising a meeting of the Regional Heads of Customs Administration of Asia Pacific Region of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) in Kochi.
  • India is hosting this meeting in its capacity as Vice Chair of the Asia Pacific region that it assumed on 1st July 2018 for a two-year period.
  • In his inaugural remarks, Chairman, CBIC reiterated the strategic principles guiding India, in its role as the Vice Chair of the Asia Pacific region, which are –
  1. Greater communication and connectivity within the region,
  2. Harness technology advancements,
  3. Inclusive approach, and
  4. Consensus on core issues.
  • Chairman, CBIC, highlighted the key focus areas on which considerable emphasis should be placed, such as implementation of trade facilitation measures, cross-border e-commerce transactions, building capacity of small island economies and the on-going review of the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC).
 Background Check:

World Customs Organisation (WCO):

  • It  is an intergovernmental organization
  • HQ: Brussels, Belgium.
  • It has 182 member nations (including India) that manage more than 98% of world trade.
  • Its aim is to enhance effectiveness and efficiency of Customs administrations.
  • It was established in 1952 as Customs Co-operation Council (CCC).
  • It is the only international organization with competence in Customs matters and is considered as voice of international Customs community.
  • It plays leading role in discussion, development, promotion and implementation of modern customs systems and procedures.
  • The WCO maintains the international Harmonized System (HS) goods nomenclature, and administers the technical aspects of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreements on Customs Valuation and Rules of Origin
Revised Kyoto Convention:
  • The International Convention on the Simplification and Harmonization of Customs procedures (Kyoto Convention) entered into force in 1974 and was revised and updated to ensure that it meets the current demands of governments and international trade.
  • The WCO Council adopted the revised Kyoto Convention in June 1999 as the blueprint for modern and efficient Customs procedures in the 21st century.
  • Once implemented widely, it will provide international commerce with the predictability and efficiency that modern trade requires.
  • The revised Kyoto Convention promotes trade facilitation and effective controls through its legal provisions that detail the application of simple yet efficient procedures.
  • The revised Convention also contains new and obligatory rules for its application which all Contracting Parties must accept without reservation.
  • The revised Kyoto Convention entered into force on February 3, 2006.

Meeting of the 15th Finance Commission with the Reserve Bank of India

  • The 15th Finance Commission headed by Chairman, Shri N.K. Singh held a detailed meeting with the Governor and Deputy Governors of RBI in Mumbai.
  • Key issues raised by RBI Governor and Finance Commission Chairman were discussed in detail at the meeting. These issues included the following:–
  1. The necessity of setting up State Finance Commissions for respective State Governments.
  2. Public Sector Borrowing Requirements.
  3. Continuity of the Finance Commission. However, it was felt that this was required more in view of the fiscal management requirements of the States, especially given the absence of the mid-term reviews of the Awards granted by the Finance Commission, as it is used to happen earlier with the Awards granted by the Planning Commission.
  4. Need for Expenditure Codes, especially given that expenditure norms vary from state to state.
  5. Role of States in Growth and Inflation, for instance,  role of states in Ease of doing Business.
  • The RBI made a detailed presentation to the Finance Commission,  on State Government Finances for 2019-20.  The key takeaways are:
  1. The importance of states in the economy has increased with the shift in composition of government finances.
  2. Fiscal deficit of states is budgeted to be lower in 2019-20 BE, but RE and actuals deviate significantly (reflecting poor fiscal marksmanship).
  3. Specific factors drive fiscal slippages: these factors include UDAY in the past and farm loan waivers and income support schemes in 2018-19 RE.
  4. Outstanding debt as percentage of GDP rising despite moderation in interest payment as percentage of revenue receipts.
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