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Export/Import Policies, Procedures And Documentation

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In the year 1962, the Government of India appointed a special EXIM Policy Committee to review the government previous export import policies. The committee was later on approved by the Government of India. Mr. V. P. Singh, the then Commerce Minister and announced the EXIM Policy on the 12th of April, 1985. Initially the EXIM Policy was introduced for the period of three years with main objective to boost the export business in India

A policy was introduced on 1.4.2000 for setting up of Special Economic Zones in the country with a view to provide an internationally competitive and hassle free environment for exports. Units may be set up in SEZ for manufacture of goods and rendering of services. All the import/export operations of the SEZ units will be on self-certification basis. The units in the Zone have to be a net foreign exchange earner but they shall not be subjected to any pre-determined value addition or minimum export performance requirements. Sales in the Domestic Tariff Area by SEZ units shall be subject to payment of full Custom Duty and import policy in force. Further Offshore banking units may be set up in the SEZs.

The policy provides for setting up of SEZ's in the public, private, joint sector or by State Governments. It was also envisaged that some of the existing Export Processing Zones would be converted into Special Economic Zones. Accordingly, the Government has converted Export Processing Zones located at Kandla and Surat (Gujarat), Cochin (Kerala), Santa Cruz (Mumbai-Maharashtra), Falta (West Bengal), Madras (Tamil Nadu), Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) and Noida (Uttar Pradesh) into a Special Economic Zones. In addition, 3 new Special Economic Zones approved for establishment at Indore (Madhya Pradesh), Manikanchan - Salt Lake (Kolkata) and Jaipur have since commended operations.

EXIM Policy or Foreign Trade Policy is a set of guidelines and instructions established by the DGFT in matters related to the import and export of goods in India. The Foreign Trade Policy of India is guided by the Export Import in known as in short EXIM Policy of the Indian Government and is regulated by the Foreign Trade Development and Regulation Act, 1992.

DGFT (Directorate General of Foreign Trade) is the main governing body in matters related to EXIM Policy. The main objective of the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act is to provide the development and regulation of foreign trade by facilitating imports into, and augmenting exports from India. Foreign Trade Act has replaced the earlier law known as the imports and Exports (Control) Act 1947.

EXIM Policy

Indian EXIM Policy contains various policy related decisions taken by the government in the sphere of Foreign Trade, i.e., with respect to imports and exports from the country and more especially export promotion measures, policies and procedures related thereto. Trade Policy is prepared and announced by the Central Government (Ministry of Commerce). India's Export Import Policy also know as Foreign Trade Policy, in general, aims at developing export potential, improving export performance, encouraging foreign trade and creating favorable balance of payments position.

History of EXIM Policy of India

In the year 1962, the Government of India appointed a special EXIM Policy Committee to review the government previous export import policies. The committee was later on approved by the Government of India. Mr. V. P. Singh, the then Commerce Minister and announced the EXIM Policy on the 12th of April, 1985. Initially the EXIM Policy was introduced for the period of three years with main objective to boost the export business in India

EXIM Policy Documents

The EXIM Policy of India has been described in the following documents:

Interim New EXIM Policy 2010 - 2011

EXIM Policy: 2009- 2014

Handbook of Procedures Volume I

Handbook of Procedures Volume II

ITC(HS) Classification of Export- Import Items

The major information in matters related to export and import is given in the document named " EXIM Policy 2002-2007".

An exporter uses the Handbook of Procedures Volume-I to know the procedures, the agencies and the documentation required to take advantage of a certain provisions of the Indian EXIM Policy. For example, if an exporter or importer finds out that paragraph 6.6 of the EXIM Policy is important for his export business then the exporter must also check out the same paragraph in the Handbook of Procedures Volume- I for further details.

The Handbook of Procedures Volume-II provides very crucial information in matters related to the Standard Input-Output Norms (SION). Such Input output norms are applicable for the products such as electronics, engineering, chemical, food products including fish and marine products, handicraft, plastic and leather products etc. Based on SION, exporters are provided the facility to make duty-free import of inputs required for manufacture of export products under the Duty Exemption Scheme or Duty Remission Scheme.

The Export Import Policy regarding import or export of a specific item is given in the ITC- HS Codes or better known as Indian Trade Clarification Code based on Harmonized System of Coding was adopted in India for import-export operations. Indian Custom uses an eight digit ITC-HS Codes to suit the national trade requirements. ITC-HS codes are divided into two schedules.

Schedule I describe the rules and EXIM guidelines related to import policies where as Export Policy Schedule II describe the rules and regulation related to export policies. Schedule I of the ITC-HS code is divided into 21 sections and each section is further divided into chapters. The total number of chapters in the schedule I is 98. The chapters are further divided into sub-heading under which different HS codes are mentioned. ITC (Hs) Schedule II of the code contains 97 chapters giving all the details about the Export Import Guidelines related to the export policies.

Objectives Of The EXIM Policy : -

Government control import of non-essential items through the EXIM Policy. At the same time, all-out efforts are made to promote exports. Thus, there are two aspects of EXIM Policy; the import policy which is concerned with regulation and management of imports and the export policy which is concerned with exports not only promotion but also regulation. The main objective of the Government's EXIM Policy is to promote exports to the maximum extent. Exports should be promoted in such a manner that the economy of the country is not affected by unregulated exportable items specially needed within the country. Export control is, therefore, exercised in respect of a limited number of items whose supply position demands that their exports should be regulated in the larger interests of the country. In other words, the main objective of the EXIM Policy is:

To accelerate the economy from low level of economic activities to high level of economic activities by making it a globally oriented vibrant economy and to derive maximum benefits from expanding global market opportunities.

To stimulate sustained economic growth by providing access to essential raw materials, intermediates, components,' consumables and capital goods required for augmenting production.

To enhance the techno local strength and efficiency of Indian agriculture, industry and services, thereby, improving their competitiveness.

To generate new employment.

Opportunities and encourage the attainment of internationally accepted standards of quality.

To provide quality consumer products at reasonable prices.

Governing Body of EXIM Policy

The Government of India notifies the EXIM Policy for a period of five years (2009 - 14) under Section 5 of the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation Act), 1992. The current Export Import Policy covers the period 2002-2007. The EXIM Policy is updated every year on the 31st of March and the modifications, improvements and new schemes became effective from 1st April of every year. All types of changes or modifications related to the EXIM Policy is normally announced by the Union Minister of Commerce and Industry who co-ordinates with the Ministry of Finance, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade and network of DGFT Regional Offices.

Highlights of New Foreign Trade Policy 2009 - 2014

Higher Support for Market and Product Diversification

Technological Upgradation

EPCG Scheme Relaxations

Support for Green products and products from North East

Status Holders

Stability/ continuity of the Foreign Trade Policy

Marine sector

Gems & Jewellery Sector

Agriculture Sector

Leather Sector

Tea

Pharmaceutical Sector

Handloom Sector

EOUs

Thrust to Value Added Manufacturing

DEPB

Flexibility provided to exporters

Waiver of Incentives Recovery, On RBI Specific Write off

Simplification of Procedures

Reduction of Transaction Costs

Directorate of Trade Remedy Measures

Higher Support for Market and Product Diversification

Incentive schemes under Chapter 3 have been expanded by way of addition of new products and markets.

26 new markets have been added under Focus Market Scheme. These include 16 new markets in Latin America and 10 in Asia-Oceania.

The incentive available under Focus Market Scheme (FMS) has been raised from 2.5% to 3%.

The incentive available under Focus Product Scheme (FPS) has been raised from 1.25% to 2%.

A large number of products from various sectors have been included for benefits under FPS. These include, Engineering products (agricultural machinery, parts of trailers, sewing machines, hand tools, garden tools, musical instruments, clocks and watches, railway locomotives etc.), Plastic (value added products), Jute and Sisal products, Technical Textiles, Green Technology products (wind mills, wind turbines, electric operated vehicles etc.), Project goods, vegetable textiles and certain Electronic items.

Market Linked Focus Product Scheme (MLFPS) has been greatly expanded by inclusion of products classified under as many as 153 ITC (HS) Codes at 4 digit level. Some major products include; Pharmaceuticals, Synthetic textile fabrics, value added rubber products, value added plastic goods, textile made ups, knitted and crocheted fabrics, glass products, certain iron and steel products and certain articles of aluminium among others. Benefits to these products will be provided, if exports are made to 13 identified markets (Algeria, Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Brazil, Mexico, Ukraine, Vietnam, Cambodia, Australia and New Zealand).

MLFPS benefits also extended for export to additional new markets for certain products. These products include auto components, motor cars, bicycle and its parts, and apparels among others.

A common simplified application form has been introduced for taking benefits under FPS, FMS, MLFPS and VKGUY.

Higher allocation for Market Development Assistance (MDA) and Market Access Initiative (MAI) schemes is being provided.

Technological Upgradation

To aid technological upgradation of our export sector, EPCG Scheme at Zero Duty has been introduced. This Scheme will be available for engineering & electronic products, basic chemicals & pharmaceuticals, apparels & textiles, plastics, handicrafts, chemicals & allied products and leather & leather products (subject to exclusions of current beneficiaries under Technological Upgradation Fund Schemes (TUFS), administered by Ministry of Textiles and beneficiaries of Status Holder Incentive Scheme in that particular year). The scheme shall be in operation till 31.3.2011.

Jaipur, Srinagar and Anantnag have been recognised as 'Towns of Export Excellence' for handicrafts; Kanpur, Dewas and Ambur have been recognised as 'Towns of Export Excellence' for leather products; and Malihabad for horticultural products.

EPCG Scheme Relaxations

To increase the life of existing plant and machinery, export obligation on import of spares, moulds etc. under EPCG Scheme has been reduced to 50% of the normal specific export obligation.

Taking into account the decline in exports, the facility of Re-fixation of Annual Average Export Obligation for a particular financial year in which there is decline in exports from the country, has been extended for the 5 year Policy period 2009-14.

Support for Green products and products from North East

Focus Product Scheme benefit extended for export of 'green products'; and for exports of some products originating from the North East.

Status Holders

To accelerate exports and encourage technological upgradation, additional Duty Credit Scrips shall be given to Status Holders @ 1% of the FOB value of past exports. The duty credit scrips can be used for procurement of capital goods with Actual User condition. This facility shall be available for sectors of leather (excluding finished leather), textiles and jute, handicrafts, engineering (excluding Iron & steel & non-ferrous metals in primary and intermediate form, automobiles & two wheelers, nuclear reactors & parts, and ships, boats and floating structures), plastics and basic chemicals (excluding pharma products) [subject to exclusions of current beneficiaries under Technological Upgradation Fund Schemes (TUFS)]. This facility shall be available upto 31.3.2011.

Transferability for the Duty Credit scrips being issued to Status Holders under paragraph 3.8.6 of FTP under VKGUY Scheme has been permitted. This is subject to the condition that transfer would be only to Status Holders and Scrips would be utilized for the procurement of Cold Chain equipment(s) only.

Stability/ continuity of the Foreign Trade Policy

To impart stability to the Policy regime, Duty Entitlement Passbook (DEPB) Scheme is extended beyond 31-12- 2009 till 31.12.2010.

Interest subvention of 2% for pre-shipment credit for 7 specified sectors has been extended till 31.3.2010 in the Budget 2009-10.

Income Tax exemption to 100% EOUs and to STPI units under Section 10B and 10A of Income Tax Act, has been extended for the financial year 2010-11 in the Budget 2009-10.

The adjustment assistance scheme initiated in December, 2008 to provide enhanced ECGC cover at 95%, to the adversely affected sectors, is continued till March, 2010.

Marine sector

Fisheries have been included in the sectors which are exempted from maintenance of average EO under EPCG Scheme, subject to the condition that Fishing Trawlers, boats, ships and other similar items shall not be allowed to be imported under this provision. This would provide a fillip to the marine sector which has been affected by the present downturn in exports.

Additional flexibility under Target Plus Scheme (TPS) / Duty Free Certificate of Entitlement (DFCE) Scheme for Status Holders has been given to Marine sector.

Gems & Jewellery Sector

To neutralize duty incidence on gold Jewellery exports, it has now been decided to allow Duty Drawback on such exports.

In an endeavour to make India a diamond international trading hub, it is planned to establish "Diamond Bourse (s)".

A new facility to allow import on consignment basis of cut & polished diamonds for the purpose of grading/ certification purposes has been introduced.

To promote export of Gems & Jewellery products, the value limits of personal carriage have been increased from US$ 2 million to US$ 5 million in case of participation in overseas exhibitions. The limit in case of personal carriage, as samples, for export promotion tours, has also been increased from US$ 0.1 million to US$ 1 million.

Agriculture Sector

To reduce transaction and handling costs, a single window system to facilitate export of perishable agricultural produce has been introduced. The system will involve creation of multi-functional nodal agencies to be accredited by APEDA.

Leather Sector


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