The outbreak of COVID-19 has brought upon several challenges for the economies across the globe. The recent challenge has been in the import and export sector. Many steps were taken both by Indian and International customs to ensure social distancing and other precautionary measures. Works that were earlier carried out by humans are now given to electronic systems. This includes setting up e-offices and helpdesks. For the good part, shipping lines are ordered not to levy detention charges on the containers held up for precautionary measures. For the lockdown period, custom airports were even asked to waive off the demurrage charges.
India also prioritized the clearance of goods related to COVID-19 including PPE kits, drugs, and pharmaceuticals, also exempting them from basic customs duties. In the time of a pandemic as deadly and contagious as this, the measures taken by the nation were really important. With the Indian government giving full support at the borders, the movement of goods, especially related to health sector was made easy.
On the international level, steps were taken by each country to ensure a smooth flow of goods. For instance, Japan exempted the customs duty and import consumption tax on the goods related to COVID-19. South Korea also extended the date of payment of the customs duties up to 12 months for companies in certain areas. Many nations including New Zealand, Canada, and Thailand focused on the importation of surgical masks and PPE’s and exempting them from irrelevant taxes. All nations are working to improve the condition of the supply chain that was lethally disrupted by the novel Corona Virus. Even after a year, the import and export sectors remain to suffer a great deal of damage with a very slow recovery.