Chinese company Conda faces import investigation

The Chattogram Custom Bond Commissionerate is investigating an allegation of infringement against a Chinese company based in the Chattogram Export Processing Zone for importing finished goods on behalf of raw materials.

The company, Conda Art Materials Bangladesh Ltd, started operations in Bangladesh’s first export processing zone, CEPZ, in October 2019.

Conda Art Materials is a renowned supplier of arts and crafts supplies with operations in Ningbo city. It is a division of Ningbo Conda Art Supplies Group.

The company is qualified to import raw materials duty-free under the guarantee license for the factory location in the EPZ.

Authorities at the Chattogram Custom Bond Commissioner in July formed a six-member committee led by co-commissioner Kamona Sheesh to investigate alleged counterfeiting in the Chinese company’s import of raw materials.

Police station authorities launched the investigation after detecting a fake by the company in May.

The Custom Bond Commissioner said it is also investigating whether another Chinese company was involved in a similar tampering with importing finished goods branded as “Made in Bangladesh” on behalf of raw material imports.

On May 17, 2022, Chattogram Custom Bond Commissionerate officials raided the factory of Conda Art Materials Bangladesh and seized 7.6 lakh bags, earphone boxes and brushes worth 1. 53 crore Tk.

Conda declared the finished products, which are subject to a 73% tax, as raw materials for the canvas panels – thus avoiding duty of around Tk 1.39 crore. The items were imported from China for export to the United States, officials said.

By making the false statement, the Conda Group dodged World Trade Organization rules of origin because its CEPZ plant lacked the equipment to manufacture these products, officials said.

Chattogram’s Custom Bond Commissioner filed a complaint with the department against Conda Art Materials Bangladesh and imposed a double fine, based on the value of the imported goods, on the company, Chattogram’s Custom Bond Commissioner AKM Mahbubur said. Rahman at New Age.

Conda Art was ordered to pay a fine of Tk 4.15 crore. The commissioner said about the amount, Tk 1.39 crore was fined as evaded income and Tk 2.76 crore as penalty. The company had already paid the amount, he said.

“According to the rules and regulations, the company cannot do this. This type of counterfeiting will tarnish the image of the country,” he said.

Co-commissioner Kamona Sheesh told New Age they formed a committee in May immediately after the raid. Based on the investigation report, the company was fined for infringement.

“We later discovered that the company had imported goods several times and exported them to other countries, labeling them ‘Made in Bangladesh’. The Custom Bond Commissionerate formed another six-member committee to investigate the the new falsification of society,” he said.

Saiful Islam, deputy director of Conda Art’s business department, declined to comment on the matter when approached.

Laura J. Boyer