ISLAMABAD: With the aim to avoid under-invoicing and duty evasions, the Chinese Customs has sent three-month data of goods, being exported to Pakistan, to Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).
Customs officials are terming this a big breakthrough, but are very cautious to estimate how much this exchange of information will help minimising the evasion of taxes on tradable goods with China.
State Minister for Revenue Hammad Azhar broke the news through a tweet that the first batch of trade prices data was received by FBR from China’s customs authority. He was approached for details several times but did not comment.
The country’s exports to China jumped to $1.74 billion in 2017-18 from $575 million in 2006-07 while imports from the same have soared to around $15.7bn in 2017-18 versus $3.5bn in 2006-07. However, many official and unofficial studies have also confirmed discrepancies within the range of $3-6bn due to mis-declaration in reported data.
The data received pertained to the period July-September. It was received electronically through web-based one customs (Weboc) connected with Chinese system.
Pakistan was demanding the exchange of real-time data from China especially after the operationalisation of free trade agreement but Beijing was reluctant to entertain this request.
On April 30, Pakistan and China implemented the Electronic Data Exchange system to effectively address discrepancies found in the exchange of information. However, the system came into operation only after the countries signed a memorandum of understanding in Prime Minister Imran Khan’s last China visit.
Both sides agreed to exchange information on a quarterly basis regarding exports in a bid to curb mis-declaration of goods and under-invoicing.