Electronic certificate of origin or e-CoO, issued by the Issuing Authority of Sri Lanka, is a valid document for the purpose of claiming preferential benefit under the India-Sri Lanka FTA
CBIC had received representations that benefit of preferential tariffs in respect of goods eligible for such benefits when imported from Sri Lanka is not being accorded by some of the field formations on the ground that the Certificate of Origin is produced in an electronic form (and not in hard copy).
E CoO issued by Sri Lanka Authorities valid document under India-Sri Lanka FTA
Accordingly, CBIC has issued Instruction No. 15/2023 dated 3rd May 2023 clarifying that an electronic certificate of origin or e-CoO, issued by the Issuing Authority of Sri Lanka, is a valid document for the purpose of claiming preferential benefit under the India-Sri Lanka FTA subject to it having been issued in the prescribed format, bearing seal and signatures of the authorized signatory of the Issuing Authority, and fulfilling all other requirements stated in Notification No. 19/2000-Customs (N.T.) dated 01.03.2000.
It has been stated that the specimen seals and signatures, circulated in advance, should be used to verify the genuineness/authenticity of e-CoO. The integrity of the e-CoO can be further verified using the unique QR code printed on the certificate. In case of any doubt, the matter shall be referred to the FTA Cell (under the Directorate of International Customs) for initiating the verification process with the Issuing Authority of the exporting country.
Further, the Instruction states that Trade may be advised to ensure that the e-CoO is mandatorily uploaded on e-Sanchit by the importer/Customs Broker for claiming preferential benefit, and the e-CoO particulars such as unique reference number and date, originating criteria etc. are carefully entered while filing the bill of entry.
For defacement of CoO, a printed copy of e-CoO shall be presented to the Customs officer, who shall cross-check the unique reference number and other particulars entered in the bill of entry with the printed copy of e-CoO. This will be in lieu of defacing the original hard copy of a certificate of origin. In this regard, it may be recalled that a check has already been introduced in the Customs EDI System to disallow use of same CoO reference number in more than one bill of entry.
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