Foreign Trade Policy Review will reduce logistics cost in India: FIEO Chief

Foreign Trade Policy Review will reduce logistics cost in India: FIEO Chief

Exporters, essentially from MSMEs and labour-intensive sectors will now be eligible for 2% higher incentives under the Merchandise Export from India Scheme (MEIS), as per the mid-term review of the Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) released by Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu on Tuesday in New Delhi.

Mid-term review of Foreign Trade Policy will focus on finding new markets and new products as well as increasing India's share in the traditional markets and products, the minister said. The Commerce Minister said that the FTP will leverage the long term advantages of the historic reform of the GST, in terms of reduced compliance and logistics costs.

The commerce ministry had unveiled FTP 2015-20 in April 2015, with an aim to nearly double India's exports of goods and services to United States dollars 900 billion by 2020.

- The FTP would focus on micro, small and medium enterprises, labour-intensive segments and agriculture sector.

Last month, the commerce ministry had announced a similar 2 per cent additional incentive for garments and made-ups, translating into an outgo of Rs 2,743 crore.

"The FTP will continue to be reviewed and evaluated regularly for addressing concerns of the exporters, simplification of procedures and for promotion of exports", an official statement said.

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Referring to GST, Prabhu said introduction of the new tax regime "would be the catalyst for spurring growth in the export sector". "While these measures are useful, we have to recognise that effective exchange rate management would be critical to achieve a significant increase in exports from India", the FICCI Secretary General added.

Key sectors receiving the incentives are leather, agriculture, carpets, hand-tools, marine products, rubber products, ceramics, sports goods, medical and scientific products and electronic and telecom components.

Exporters' body FIEO suggested that government should gradually extend the MEIS to other sectors of exports since they are also facing numerous challenges in exports. The annual incentive increased by 33.8 percent or Rs.8,450 crore.

In addition, the validity period for duty credit scrips under MEIS has also been increased to two years from 18 months earlier.

"While the implementation of GST has led to a blockage of working capital and delay in refunds, the government reiterated that the new tax system will enhance trade facilitation while benefiting exporters".

Under the self-certification scheme for duty-free imports, instead of getting a ratification of the Norms Committee for inputs to be used in the manufacture of export products, exporters will self-certify that requirement and take an authorization from the DGFT.

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