In order to promote the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has introduced a new scheme called the 'Liberalised MSME AEO Package'.  Under this, swift  and easier customs clearance of consignments will be provided to the enterprises, with the option of deferred payment duties .  It will also provide a relaxed compliance criteria on the condition that units have a valid certificate from their line-Ministry. Indian Businesses Aim To Tap Consumers Directly in 2021 via Digital Platforms, Says Report.

MSMEs which have filed minimum 10 Customs clearance documents in one year and which have a clean compliance record over two years are eligible to apply for the scheme. Under it, various documentary requirements have also been simplified. As per the scheme, the CBIC will decide on an application for grant of  Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status to an MSME within only 15 days from electronic submission of all the required documents for AEO Tier T1. Digital Transformation: 4 Reasons SMEs need to go online!

Authorised Economic Operators have various advantages. An approved AEO is entitled to several benefits, including the facility of direct port delivery  of imported containers, direct port entry  of their export containers, high level of facilitation in customs clearance of their consignments thereby ensuring shorter cargo release time, exemption from bank guarantees, priority for refund or discount drawback, as well as a client relationship manager at the customs port as a single point of interaction.

Another important benefit for an approved AEO  is that their payment of Customs duty is deferred and need not to be paid before the clearance of the imported goods by authority.  Various other relaxations have been introduced under the scheme such as reduction in bank guarantee requirements.