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Foreign trade policy sets export target of $92 billion
Gaurav Choudhury
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 8
The government today unveiled the annual supplement of the foreign trade policy raising the export target to $ 92 billion in the current fiscal and announced an array of trade promotion and procedural simplification measures while keeping the rural economy at the epicentre.

The measures include the decision to abolish the regressive export cess, rationalisation of the export promotion capital goods scheme (EPCG) with focus on agriculture, small-scale sector and retail, a special package for the marine sector and setting up of an inter-state trade council to co-opt state governments in the macro trade policy framework.

The popular duty entitlement passbook scheme (DEPB) will, however, continue for the time being. Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath, who lay open the new trade order here, said an alternative to the DEPB scheme has already been formulated and is presently under discussion with various stakeholders. The new scheme should be announced within the next six months.

Mr Nath said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has directed that any action by the Income Tax authorities on exporters’ DEPB drawbacks should be kept in abeyance.

“The matter has been referred to the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council,” he said. This comes in the wake of complaints raised by the exporting community over the income tax notices being sent to them asking them to pay income tax on DEPB drawbacks.

To give more impetus to agri exports, the Minister announced that benefits under Vishesh Krishi Upaj Yojana would also be extended to poultry and dairy products in addition to export of flowers, fruits, vegetables, minor forest produce and their value added products.

The list of sensitive items restricted for import under the Duty Free Replenishment Certificate (DFRC) has been pruned down to nine items.

He announced a number of measures to enhance competitiveness of the manufacturing sector in India. Salient amongst these are — No safeguard and anti-dumping duty to be levied on inputs under advance licence for deemed export supplies made to International Competitive Bidding (ICB) projects; and promote accelerated export performance.

The balance export obligation will be waived for the exporters completing 75 per cent of their export obligation in half the prescribed export obligation period under the EPCG scheme.

To facilitate modernisation of the retail sector in India, Mr Nath said concessional duty benefits under the EPCG Scheme would be extended for import of capital goods required by retailers having a minimum covered shopping area of 1,000 square meters.

A new initiative aimed at reducing congestion at the major ports has also been proposed. The facility for export obligation discharged in rupee payment under the EPCG has now been extended to the minor ports, ICDs (Inland Container Depots) and CFS (Container Freight Stations) also.


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