Pakistan’s commerce ministry has delayed the establishment of its Electronic Data Interchange System (EDIS), which aims to curb what the authorities say is extensive mis-invoicing of goods traded with China.
Ministry officials have also indicated that a memorandum of understanding on EDIS with the Chinese has yet to be signed.
Earlier media reports suggested that EDIS would be operational this year, but Pakistan’s commerce ministry is now saying that it will be next year even before the memorandum of understanding is signed.
Officials now expect the system to go live some time during 2017, but they have not announced a firm date.
According to officials, Pakistan’s Federal Board of Revenue and China’s General Administration of Customs are still working on the system.
Free Trade Agreement
Pakistan and China are establishing EDIS in tandem with the establishment of the Pakistan-China Free Trade Agreement.
Without this system, which monitors imports and exports with the aim of identifying and eradicating under- and over-invoicing, Pakistan reckons to be losing substantial amounts of revenue each year, purely on the basis of its trade with China.
EDIS would allow Pakistan’s customs to receive information on goods from China, including certificates of origin and invoice details, and correlate this data with market prices. Mismatched data would alert customs officials of potential mis-invoicing.
The system should also help Pakistan’s customs to clear goods more speedily and would be a step towards achieving end-to-end paperless cargo clearance.
The commerce ministry estimates that a total of between US$5 billion to US$7 billion of imports are under-invoiced by Pakistan’s importers each year.
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