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|March 31, 1999||
More time allowed to fulfil EPCG obligations; branded products to get SIL for exports, and SSIs triple weightage
Appreciating the problems of exporters in their inability to fulfil export obligations undertaken in the past, Hegde announced an additional period for fulfilment of past obligations for both the EPCG Scheme and advance licence holders.
To promote export of branded products, a beginning has been made by providing benefit of Special Import Licence or SIL to all such exports.
Green cards will be issued to exporters who export 50 per cent of their production with a minimum of Rs 10 million per year, entitling them to various facilities. This move is in recognition of the national service rendered by exporters.
All exporters who attain export house/trading house/star trading house/super star trading house for three successive terms or more will be eligible for golden status certificate which will entitle them to all benefits accruing from such status in perpetuity, irrespective of variation in their performance in future.
In an attempt to encourage exports from the small scale sector, exports made by the small scale sector manufacturers/exporters will be given triple weightage for the purpose of recognition as export house/trading house/star trading house/super star trading house.
A new chapter has been added in the policy recognising the importance of export of services and the potential in this sector.
Apart from extending all facilities applicable to merchandise exports, the threshold limit for recognition as service export house has been pegged at one-third of the level prescribed for merchandise exports.
Duty free import of consumables upto certain limits has been allowed for the gem and jewellery, handicrafts and leather sectors to enable the exporters to achieve higher unit value realisation.
Having achieved the leadership position in the cut and polished diamond sector, a new thrust for jewellery and studded jewellery sector has been provided through various relaxations, including the permission for import of jewellery for re-export after repair/remaking.
Hegde said there has been further rationalisation in the export oriented units/export processing zones scheme.
Net foreign exchange earnings as a percentage of exports requirement for units operating in EPZs and EOUs has been made uniform at 20 per cent. However, for hardware units, bio-technology and toy sectors, this NFE requirement has been reduced to positive NFEP. Procedures for operation of units in EOU/EPZ have been simplified further and a number of operations are to be permitted on the basis of self-certification.
The concept of free trade zone without customs intervention and value-addition, export obligation, etc, has been mooted in the policy. Free trade zones will become operational from July 1, 1999 and units in the free trade zones will be permitted to carry out any manufacturing or trading activities, the minister said.
They will not be subjected to any pre-determined value-addition, export obligation, input-output or wastage norms.
They will be treated as outside the customs territory of the country, with the customs manning only the entry and exit points. Sale in the domestic tariff area will be permitted for the free trade zones on payment of the full customs duty.
Commissioner will provide a single window service and customs will not interfere in any way. The existing free trade zones will be given the option to go in for the new system which ensures greater operational freedom in export activity.
A scheme is being evolved to involve state governments in the export promotion effort, particularly for encouraging agro-exports.
In this context, Hegde said that in order to make exports a truly national effort, he was pursuing his proposal for a scheme involving an allocation of Rs 5 billion by way of grants to the states for strengthening their export infrastructure and in particular giving a boost to exports.
In order to ensure easy access to inputs and to integrate with the global economy, as many as 894 items have been added to the free list of imports. 440 additional items have been put in the special import licence list of imports.
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