The Federation of Bangladesh Customs Clearing and Forwarding Agents Association has withdrawn the strike they called on 30 and 31 January.
The decision was taken according to the directives of the Secretary General of the federation, reads a circular published by the federation on Monday (30 January).
The association had previously announced a two-day strike on 30 and 31 January in demand of an amendment to the Customs Agent Licensing Rules 2020.
As per the existing law, a candidate must be a graduate and has to pass an exam to get a C&F agent licence. So there is no scope to transfer a licence to another person, which the organisation leaders consider as a violation of their fundamental rights as the National Board of Revenue (NBR) does not consider C&F agent licences as a recognised trading business.
“NBR officials compare our licence with driving licence, not traders, even though we have invested in this sector and created employment. Under the current law, if I die, my company dies too,” said AKM Akther Hossain, president of Chattogram Customs Agents Association.
Apart from this, the association had demanded the cancellation of other sections of the law – the licence of the respective C&F agent will not be renewed if any importers have duty arrears, cancellation of the agent’s licence if the customs tax is owed, no licence to any domestic-foreign joint-owned company, and to make the agent responsible in case of importing goods under false declaration.
Earlier on 7 June 2022, the association observed a half-day strike over the same demand and then called off the strike after the NBR assured them of amending the law. But there has been no further progress since then.