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Exporters seek extension of tax benefits for SEZs

December 4, 2020: Exporters on Wednesday suggested to the government a series of steps, including extension of fiscal benefits to SEZ units, presumptive tax for cross-border e-commerce and free trade pacts with countries like the US and UK, to boost domestic manufacturing and outbound shipments.

These recommendations were made by the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) at a meeting of the Board of Trade (BOT) which was chaired by Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal.

Other suggestions included permitting duty free import of equipment required for R&D and product development; setting up of a Niryat Vishwavidyalay; extension of interest subsidy scheme in the new foreign trade policy; and immediate release of GST and drawback funds.

Further, the federation recommended refund of GST to foreign tourists, RoDTEP (Remission of Duties or Taxes on Export Products) scheme covering all products; and amnesty scheme for schemes prescribing export obligation.

FIEO Director General Ajay Sahai told PTI that these measures would help in significantly promoting manufacturing and boosting the country’s exports.

He further said the minister asked the officials present in the meeting to examine these suggestions.

Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) Chairman A Sakthivel sought resolution of operational issues for ease of doing business and redressal of the issue of duty disadvantage in overseas markets by entering into early negotiations for free trade agreements (FTAs).

He also asked for changes in the Export Promotion Capital Goods (EPCG) scheme to take care of the growing need of capital investment in the sector.

He added that the entire process of flagging an exporter as a ‘risky exporter’ to removal of the tag and resumption of refunds should be completed within 30 days, and a protocol must be developed for transparent flow of information.

Engineering exporters too suggested for easing of GST refund rules and extending affordable credit to the sector. Measures to boost exports, manufacturing and the new foreign trade policy figured in the meeting.

The board, which includes members from both public and private sector, advises the commerce and industry ministry on policy measures related to foreign trade policy (FTP).

Secretaries of different departments, heads of various government bodies, representatives of apex industry associations and export promotion councils are members of the BOT.

During April-October 2020-21, the country’s exports dipped by 19 per cent to USD 150.14 billion, while imports contracted by 36.28 per cent to USD 182.29 billion. Trade deficit during the period narrowed to USD 32.16 billion from USD 100.67 billion in April-October 2019-20.

Source: Financial Express

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