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Updated Customs Regulations on the Horizon for Bangladesh

November 2, 2023

The draft Customs Bill of 2023 aims to establish fiscal responsibility and transparency in the collection of import revenue and the facilitation of trade. This bill has been revised to incorporate contemporary provisions for revenue collection, the expansion of import and export trade, the promotion of business activities, and the growth of new industrial sectors.

Key highlights

Language and section expansion: Unlike the current Customs Act of 1969, which is in English, the draft Customs Act of 2023 was drafted in the native Bengali language. The number of sections has expanded—from 223 currently to 269 sections in the draft.

Incorporation of international standards: Changes were made to align with international agreements and conventions endorsed by the World Customs Organization to enhance revenue collection and trade facilitation. It also incorporates global best practices, such as the Authorized Economic Operator program, the Mutual Recognition Agreement, electronic declaration, risk management, post clearance audits, and non-intrusive inspections.

Trade facilitation agreement inclusions: The draft includes essential elements of the Trade Facilitation Agreement established under the leadership of the World Trade Organization. This encompasses features like advance ruling, stakeholder consultation, national inquiry point, website provisions, and advance passenger information/passenger name record.

Overall impact: The proposed act also addresses various other significant matters. Its enactment is expected to promote fiscal discipline, enhance accountability, and improve the processes of import revenue collection and trade facilitation.