KARACHI: The Customs Appellate Tribunal Islamabad has categorically held that valuation rulings cannot be applied to the goods which have been already cleared.

The Tribunal upheld the order of collector of Customs (Appeals) Karachi and set aside the order of adjudicating officer creating the demand of Rs925,350 against certain importers through post importation audit by the staff of director general of post clearance audit.

According to details of the case, the importers imported three consignments of welding electrodes and cleared the same through GD dated May 13, 2009. However, the post clearance audit discovered that the goods were to be assessed at the rate of $670/MT – $850/PMT in terms of valuation ruling No. Mis/11/2007-IVC/30314 dated July 10, 2008 and created a demand of Rs925,350.

The importers approached the Collector of Customs (Appeals) who set aside the order of the adjudicating officer and accepted the appeals of importers.

The importers then approached the Customs Appellate Tribunal, which held that the valuations rulings could not be applied post clearance.

In this instant case, the Tribunal also held that the goods had been properly assessed and released by the appropriate officers of customs in terms of section 80 of the Act and such assessment being appealable orders in themselves, can only be reopened under section 195 of the Act by the Collector concerned for valid reasons and such cases cannot be adjudicated under section 179 of the Act.

The Tribunal observed that re-assessment of goods nearly three years after clearance of the goods on the basis of a time-barred ruling has hardly any standing in the eyes of law.