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4.        EXPORT PROMOTION MEASURES

 

Export Import (EXIM) Policy 2002-07

The annual amendment to the Export & Import (EXIM) Policy 2002-07 was carried out on March 31, 2003. The thrust of the amendment was to carry out procedural simplification of the various export promotion schemes, focus on critical sectors of export growth potential for India such as the services, agriculture, information technology etc. Further trade facilitation measures and incentives were granted for units in the Special Economic Zones (SEZ)/ Export Oriented Units (EOU)/ Electronic Hardware Technology Parks (EHTP)/Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) scheme in a bid to boost exports from these zones.The gist of the salient changes in the Exim Policy 2002-07 carried out w.e.f. 01.04.2003 and some subsequent changes introduced in January 2004 are given below:

Service Exports

l A Duty free import facility for service sector having a minimum foreign exchange earning of Rs.30 lakhs in the preceding one / two / three licensing years has been introduced. The duty free entitlement would be 10% of the average foreign exchange earned in the preceding three licensing years for all service sector units barring hotels. However, for hotels, stand-alone restaurant and heritage hotels, the duty free entitlement would be 5% of the average foreign exchange earned in the preceding three licensing years. This entitlement can be used for import of any capital goods including office equipment, professional equipment, spares and consumables. However, imports of agriculture and dairy products would not be allowed for imports against this entitlement. The entitlement and the goods imported against such entitlement shall be non-transferable.

l The supply of services where the payment is in Indian Rupees but which is otherwise considered by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) as having been paid in free foreign 

exchange is to be considered as supply under the export promotion schemes.

Agricultural Exports

l The Corporate sector with proven credentials are encouraged to sponsor Agri Export Zone for boosting agro exports. They may provide for pre/post harvest treatment and operations, plant protection, processing, packaging, storage and related Research & Development.

l Duty Entitlement PassBook (DEPB) rate for selected agro products would factor in the cost of pre-production inputs such as fertiliser, pesticides and seeds.

Status Holders

l Duty-free import entitlement is allowed for status holders having incremental growth of more than 25% in FOB value of exports (in free foreign exchange). This facility is available to status holders having a minimum export turnover of Rs.25 crore (in free foreign exchange). The duty free entitlement shall be 10% of the incremental growth in exports and can be used for import of capital goods, office equipment and inputs for their own factory or the factory of the associate/supporting manufacturer/job worker. The entitlement/ goods will not be transferable. This facility is available on the exports made from 1.4.2003.

l The duty free import entitlement for status holders was revamped and the following exports are not taken into account for tabulating the entitlement:

(i)   Re-export of imported goods or exports made through transshipment;

(ii)  Export turnover of units operating under SEZ/EOU/EHTP/STPI Schemes or products manufactured by them and exported through Domestic Tariff Area (DTA) units;

(iii)  Deemed exports (even when payments are  received in Free Foreign Exchange) and payment from Export Earner Foreign Currency (EEFC) account

(iv)   Service exports

(v)   Supplies made by one status holder to another status holder;

(vi)   Export performance made by one status holder on behalf of other status holder.

(vii)   Supplies made or export performance effected by a non-status holder (Merchant exporter/Manufacturer with any export performance in 2003-04) to a status holder if the applicant as well as the non status holder have less than 25 per cent incremental growth over their respective previous years direct export turnover.

(viii)   The exports made by an applicant within a group and the group to which it belongs has individually less than 25 per cent incremental growth of export.

l Advance Licence for Annual Requirements facility for status holders is introduced to enable them to plan for their imports of raw material and components on an annual basis and take advantage of bulk purchases.

l The Input-Output norms for status holders are to be fixed on priority basis within a period of 60 days.

l Status holders in STPI are permitted free movement of professional equipment like laptop / computer.

Hardware/Software Sector

l To give a boost to electronic hardware industry, supplies of all 217 ITA-1 items from EHTP units to DTA would now qualify for fulfillment of Net Foreign Exchange Positive ( NFEP) criteria.

l To promote growth of exports in embedded software, hardware is admissible for duty free import for testing and development purposes. Hardware up to a value of US$ 10,000 is allowed to be disposed off subject to STPI certification.

l 100% depreciation is available over a period of 3 years to computer and computer peripherals for units in EOU/EHTP/STP/SEZ.

Gems & Jewellery Sector

l Diamond & Jewellery Dollar Account for exporters have been allowed for dealing in purchase/sale of diamonds and diamond studded jewellery.

l Nominated agencies can accept payment in dollars for cost of import of precious metals from EEFC account of exporter.

l Gems & Jewellery units in SEZ and EOUs can now receive precious metal i.e. Gold/silver/platinum prior to exports or post exports equivalent to value of jewellery exported. This means that they can bring export proceeds in kind against the present provision of bringing in cash only.

l The import of gold and silver in various forms such as powder, unwrought, sheets, plates, strips, tubes, pipes has been made free.

Export Clusters

l Up-gradation of infrastructure in existing clusters/industrial locations under the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) scheme has been allowed to increase overall competitiveness of the export clusters.

l Supplemental efforts are to be made under the Assistance to States for Development of Export Infrastructure and other activities (ASIDE scheme) and similar schemes of other Ministries to bridge technology and productivity gaps in identified clusters.

l 10 such clusters with high growth potential are to be reinvigorated based on a participatory approach.

Removal of Quantitative Restrictions and Export Restrictions

l The import of Electrical Energy; silver/ gold in various forms such as powder, unwrought, sheets, plates, strips, tubes, pipes; Global Positioning System has been freed .

l The homologation criteria has been exempt for the import of vehicles above a CIF value of $40000 by individuals under the Export Promotion of Capital Goods (EPCG) Scheme issued to Companies and firms.

l Import of livestock and livestock products from countries affected by the Avian Influenza Virus (Fowl Plague) has been prohibited.

l The threshold limit for xport of gifts have been extended to Rs 5,00,000 from the earlier Rs 100000.

Export Promotion Schemes

The salient changes carried out in the various export promotion schemes w.e.f. 01.04.2003 are as under:

Special Economic Zones (SEZ)

l  Sales from Domestic Tariff Area (DTA) to SEZs are to be treated as export. This entitles domestic suppliers to Drawback/ DEPB benefits, CST exemption and Service Tax exemption.

l  Agriculture/Horticulture processing SEZ units are now allowed to provide inputs and equipment to contract farmers in DTA to promote production of goods as per the requirement of importing countries. This is expected to integrate the production and processing and help in promoting SEZs specializing in agro exports.

l  Foreign bound passengers are now allowed to take goods from SEZs to promote trade, tourism and exports.

l  Domestic sales by SEZ units are now exempt from Special Ad-valorem Duty (SAD).

l  Restriction of one year period for remittance of export proceeds has been removed for SEZ units.

l Netting of export has been permitted for SEZ unit provided it is between same exporter and importer over a period of 12 months.

l  SEZ units are permitted to take job abroad and exports goods from there

l  SEZ units can now capitalise import payables.

l  Wastage for subcontracting/exchange by gem and jewellery units in transactions between SEZ and DTA is allowed.

l  Export/import of all products through post parcel/courier by SEZ units is also allowed.

l  The value of capital goods imported by SEZ units can be amortised uniformly over 10 years.

l  SEZ units would now be allowed to sell all products including gems and jewellery through exhibitions and duty free shops or shops set up abroad

l  Goods required for operation and maintenance of SEZ units can be imported duty free.

l  Trading units in the SEZ are permitted the facility of inter unit transfer of goods.

Export Oriented Units (EOU)

l  Agriculture/Horticulture processing EOUs are allowed to provide inputs and equipment to contract farmers in DTA to promote production of goods as per the requirement of importing countries. This is expected to integrate production and processing and help in promoting agri-exports.

l  EOUs are now required to be only net positive foreign exchange earners; there will now be no export performance requirement.

l  Foreign bound passengers are allowed to take goods from EOUs to promote trade, tourism and exports.

l  The value of capital goods imported by EOUs can now be amortized uniformly over 10 years.

l  Period of utilisation of raw materials prescribed for EOUs has been increased from 1 year to 3 years.

l  Gems and jewellery EOUs are now being permitted sub-contracting in DTA. Wastage for subcontracting/exchange by gem and jewellery units in transactions between EOUs and DTA will now be allowed as per norms.

l  Export/import of all products through post parcel/courier by EOUs is now allowed.

l  EOUs are allowed to sell all products including gems and jewellery through exhibitions and duty free shops or shops set up abroad.

l  Gems and jewellery EOUs are entitled to advance domestic sales.

l  A provision for the extension of the validity of the Letter of Permission (LOP) as also the format has been devised under the scheme.

l  The Units Approval Committee has the power to approve applications for setting up of EOU units undertaking R&D

Export Promotion of Capital Goods ( EPCG) Scheme

l  The scheme now allows import of capital goods for pre-production and post-production facilities also.

l  Export Obligation under the scheme is now linked to the duty saved and is to be 8 times the duty saved.

l  To facilitate up-gradation of existing plant and machinery, import of spares upto 100% value of the license, spare refractories, catalyst and consumables, are also allowed under the scheme.

l  To promote higher value addition in exports, the existing condition of imposing an additional Export Obligation (EO) of 50% for products in the higher product chain has been done away with.

l  Greater flexibility is given for fulfillment of export obligation under the scheme by allowing export of any other product manufactured by the exporter on case by case basis on merits. The concept of EO fulfillment has been extended to companies under the same Group.

l  Import of capital goods upto 10 years old is also allowed under the scheme.

l  To facilitate diversification into the software sector, existing manufacturer exporters are allowed to fulfill export obligation arising out of import of capital goods under the scheme for setting up of software units through export of manufactured goods of the same company.

l  Royalty payments received from abroad and testing charges received in free foreign exchange are to be counted for discharge of export obligation. 

Duty Entitlement Passbook ( DEPB)

l  Facility for provisional DEPB rate has been introduced to encourage diversification and promote export of new products. These rates are valid for a period of 6 months.

l  DEPB rates have been rationalised in line with general reduction in Customs duty.

Advance Licence

l  Anti-dumping and safeguard duty exemption to advance license are allowed for deemed exports for supplies to EOU/SEZ/EHTP/STP.

l  The composition fee for export obligation extension has been linked to the duty saved on unutilised imports and no extension beyond 36 months from the date of issue of the license has been permitted.

l  Concept of "Advance License for free of cost material" reintroduced.

Advance License for Annual Requirements

l  A provision of export obligation extension and revalidation of the license has been introduced.

l  New provision of Advance Licence for Annual Requirement for Intermediate Supplies has been introduced.

Duty Free Replenishment Certificate ( DFRC)

l  Duty Free Replenishment Certificate scheme has been extended to deemed exports to provide a boost to domestic manufacturer.

l Value addition under DFRC scheme has been reduced from 33% to 25%.

l  Fuel under actual user condition has also been allowed under the scheme.

Measures for reducing transaction costs & improving procedural simplification

l  The work related to the electronic interface with the various agencies involved with international trade is at an advanced stage. Electronic filing of applications has been made mandatory for applications under the self certification advance licence applications.

l  Applications filed electronically have a 50% lower processing fee as compared to manual applications.

l  The actual user condition for import of second hand capital goods upto 10 years old has been dispensed with.

The penal interest rate has been reduced from 24% to 15% for all old cases of default under Exim Policy.

The restriction on export warranty spares has been removed.

The IEC holder is to furnish online return of imports/exports made on yearly basis in order to weed out the casual importers and exporters.

Export of free of cost goods for export promotion @ 2% of average annual exports in preceding three years has been permitted subject to ceiling of Rs.5 lakh.

l  For revival of sick units, extension of export obligation period is to be allowed to such units based on Bureau of Industrial Finance & Recontruction (BIFR) rehabilitation schemes or the State government rehabilitation schemes.

Implementation of Medium Term Export Strategy (MTES)

A number of measures have been taken through the Budget and the EXIM Policy to translate the Medium Term Export Strategy 2002-07 (MTES) into ground level policies for the export sector. The progress in implementation of the MTES is as follows:

Product Market Strategy

l  Export Promotion Councils (EPCs) have been requested to implement the policy of 

Product Market Strategy and to focus on 220 products. India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) has also been requested to take note of the potential sectors and markets given in MTES for its trade promotion activities.

l  The 8-digit commodity classification has been adopted by the DGFT w.e.f. 1.4.2002 and by Dept. of Revenue for import tariff by Gazette Notification in January 2003 for adoption w.e.f. 1.2.2003. This can also be the basis for tariff negotiations in the World Trade Organisation ( WTO).

Lower tariffs

The peak rate of customs has been reduced to 25%. Tariffs for many capital goods items needed for textiles and IT sector have been reduced drastically in the Budget 2003-04.

FDI in Export Sector and SEZ Policy

SEZ policy has been strengthened. Besides the tax incentive and permission for setting up Overseas Banking Units (OBUs) in SEZs, many other facilities have been extended to SEZs in the Exim Policy.

Reduction in transaction cost and introduction of digital signatures suggested in MTES

For reduction in transaction costs, same day licensing has been introduced in all regional offices of DGFT. Digital signature system has also been introduced.

Improving Export Infrastructure

Many policy measures have been announced in the budget to improve infrastructure. For example, corporatisation of ports in a phased manner and a package of concessions to private sector entry in green field airport projects announced in the Budget are expected to help the export sector.

Export Credit

In order to save bank charges, direct negotiations of export documents have been permitted. For facilitating export credit, offshore banking units are permitted in SEZs. The ceiling rate on export credit in foreign currency has been reduced to LIBOR plus 0.75 percentage point from LIBOR plus 1.00 percentage point.

Assistance to States

Under the Assistance to States for Infrastructure Development for Exports (ASIDE), the export performance and incremental export performance of states are being taken into account for enhancing the responsibility of State Governments for promoting exports.

Market Development Programmes and Internal Dissemination of information

For this purpose, allocation of funds under Market Access Initiative (MAI) Scheme has been enhanced.

Assistance to States for Development of Export Infrastructure and other activities (ASIDE Scheme)

Assistance to States for Development of Export Infrastructure and other activities (ASIDE) scheme, started in March 2002, continued to be implemented during the year with full vigour. The outlay of this scheme has two components. Eighty percent of the funds (state component) is earmarked for allocation to the States on the basis of an approved criteria. The balance 20 percent (central component), and amounts equivalent to un-utillised portion of the funds allocated to the States in the past year(s), if any, is retained at the central level for meeting the requirements of inter-state projects, capital outlays of EPZs, activities relating to promotion of exports from the North Eastern Region. A minimum of 10% of the scheme outlay is reserved for expenditure in the North Eastern Region and Sikkim. In order to encourage private sector participation in development of infrastructure for export promotion, State Governments/UTs are being encouraged to identify projects with private sector participation by giving them additional incentives.

An outlay of Rs. 1725 crore has been made for the ASIDE scheme during the 10th Five Year Plan (2002-2007) of which provision for the year 2003-04 is Rs. 350 crore. Funds under the scheme are disbursed directly to a Nodal Agency nominated by the State Government where it is kept under a separate head in the accounts of the Nodal Agency.

In order to evaluate progress in the implementation of projects, its impact on exports etc., the projects sanctioned under the ASIDE scheme are being visited by field formations of Department of 

Commerce who submit consolidated report in the prescribed format to the Department of Commerce, the concerned State Government and the nodal agency of the State for appropriate action. A web-enabled monitoring system of the projects has been developed on the website of the Department for online assessment of the progress of the projects.

MARKETING DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE (MDA) 

To facilitate various measures undertaken to stimulate and diversify the country's export trade, the Market Development Assistance (MDA) scheme is being implemented by the Department of Commerce with the following objectives :-

(a) To assist individual exporters for export promotion activities abroad

(b) To assist Export Promotion Councils (EPCs) to undertake export promotion activities for their product(s) and commodities

(c) To assist consortium marketing approach abroad

(d) To assist approved organisations/trade bodies in undertaking limited exclusive non-recurring innovative activities connected with export promotion efforts of their members

(e) To assist Export Promotion Councils to contest Countervailing duty/Anti dumping cases initiated abroad

(f) To assist Focus Area export promotion programmes in specific regions abroad like Focus LAC, Focus Africa and Focus CIS programmes.

(g) To promote residual essential activities connected with marketing promotion efforts abroad.

Recognised Export Promotion Councils (EPCs) are eligible for MDA assistance for development and promotional activities of their products including participation in trade fairs/exhibitions/council sponsored Trade delegations, publicity through printed material, etc.

Focus Area programmes namely Focus Latin American Countries(LAC), Focus Africa and Focus Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) support market promotion activities in these regions through EPCs, ITPO etc. by way of organising specialised `Made in India' exhibitions, translation facilities in regional languages, market survey, setting up of warehousing facilities, opening of foreign offices, preparation of product catalogue in CD ROM form, inviting prominent foreign delegates and buyers to India, etc. Opening and maintaining foreign offices and warehouses in these regions by recognised Export/Trading Houses and recognised consortium of Small Scale Industries (SSI) units is also supported by the Scheme.

MARKET ACCESS INITIATIVE (MAI)

Government have approved the Market Access Initiative (MAI) scheme under Plan Scheme to act as a catalyst to promote India's exports on a sustained basis. The scheme is devised on focus product- focus country approach to evolve specific strategy for specific market and specific product through market studies/survey.

Assistance is extended under the Scheme to State Governments/ Export Promotion Councils/Registered Trade Promotion Organisations/ Exporters, etc. for the following components:

l  Marketing Studies

l Marketing projects which may include showrooms, warehousing facility, display in international departmental stores, publicity campaign and brand promotion, participation in trade fairs, research and product development etc.

l Export potential survey of the States

l Registration charges for product registration abroad for pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and agro chemicals

l Testing charges for engineering products

l Study of WTO related matters

INFRASTRUCTURE SUPPORT AND TRADE FACILITATION

The Department of Commerce endeavors to resolve problems experienced by the trading community in the carriage of goods through coordination with the concerned Ministries and Departments. Efforts to improve transport/logistic support to exporters and 

importers includes greater containerisation, extension of Air Cargo Complexes (ACCs), computerisation of cargo clearance, introduction of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), improved communication, warehousing, etc.

The major initiatives taken in this regard recently during the year included the following :

a) Setting up of exclusive Courier Terminals at Delhi and Mumbai airports for handling of international express consignments.

b) Providing 3-day free period for courier import consignments at Delhi airport by the Central Warehousing Corporation.

c) Starting of new train services by Container Corporation of India (CONCOR).

d) Obtaining approval for setting up of 4 Inland Container Depots/Container Freight Stations (ICDs/CFSs) for facilitating movement of export/ import consignments.

e) Constituting of two high level committees viz. Standing Committee on Promotion of Exports by Sea (SCOPE-SHIPPING) and Standing Committee on Promotion of Exports by Air (SCOPE-AIR) is to address constraints in the smooth movement of international cargo.

f) Hosting web based systems on country's trade on the website to provide query based access to the country wise, commodity wise, country x commodity wise exports/ imports details. The monitoring systems for release of funds under Assistance to States for Developing Infrastructure and other allied activities (ASIDE) Scheme and Critical Infrastructure Balancing (CIB) scheme have also been developed and implemented for data collection from states and central agencies and its further monitoring in the department.

Interface for Local Access through Intranet

To facilitate the users within the department, a local web page has been created and maintained at the local area network/ Intranet to provide direct access to the various web based applications/systems developed and implemented in the department. It also has press releases, work allocation, electronic notice board, various downloadable forms, training programme details, linkages to the web sites of the various trade related bodies and organisations of the country and abroad , their E-mail directory information and other utility packages.

TRADE FINANCE

Export Credit Interest Rate Structure

The reduction in ceiling interest rates on rupee export credit by 1 percentage point across the board effective from September 26, 2001 has further been extended upto April 30, 2004. Now the ceiling rates of interest are indicated by the RBI for the first slab of pre-shipment credit, i.e., upto 180 days and for post-shipment credit upto 90 days. For subsequent period and other categories, interest rates are left free to be decided by the banks themselves.

Export Credit in Foreign Currency (PCFC)

In order to make the interest rates on export credit competitive, the ceiling interest rates export on export credit in foreign currency which was revised with effect from 29.4.2002 continues to remain unchanged.

Resources for foreign currency funds for PCFC

With a view to providing further flexibility to banks to service foreign currency funds for granting PCFC/EBR to exporters, the RBI has permitted banks to use foreign currency funds borrowed in terms of para 4(2) (i) of Notification No. FEMA 3/2000 RB dated May 3, 2000 as also foreign currency funds generated through buy-sell swaps in domestic forex market for granting such loans subject to adherence to Aggregate Gap Limit approved by the RBI.

All India Export Advisory Committee (AIEAC)

During the period under review the meetings of the All India Export Advisory Committee which deliberates on issues relating to export credit and exchange control was held at Guwahati on September 12, 2003.

Seminar on export credit

The Reserve Bank organised seminars on export credit for the benefit of the exporters as well as bankers at Guwahati in September 11, 2003 and at Tirupur in September 30, 2003 jointly with the State Bank of India and the Indian Overseas Bank respectively.

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