On 1 February, 2017, India's Finance Minister Arun Jaitley introduced the Finance Bill, 2017 (the "Bill"). The Bill adds the concept of "beneficial owner" to the Customs Act, 1962, stating that "beneficial owner means any person on whose behalf the goods are being imported or exported or who exercises effective control over the goods being imported or exported".

More critically, the Bill amends the definitions of "importer" and "exporter" to include "beneficial owner". These changes will be effective upon the passing of the Bill through Parliament which should happen in early April 2017.

In this article we highlight some of the changes introduced under the Finance Bill, 2017, and the relevant definitions and sections of the Customs Act that will be impacted.

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