Foreign Trade Policy 2023
Foreign Trade Policy 2023
Why in news? Replacing the foreign policy that had been in place since 2015, the new policy kicks in from 2023-24 and aims to almost triple India’s goods and services exports to $2 trillion by 2030, from an estimated $760 billion in 2022-23.
- The new policy will have no sunset date and will be tweaked based on the emerging world trade scenario and industry feedback.
- While the policy will be open-ended, the schemes sanctioned under it will be time bound.
- There are no major new schemes, barring a one-time amnesty under the existing Advance Authorisation and Export Promotion Capital Goods (EPCG) schemes, that allow imports of capital goods subject to specified export obligations.
About Foreign Trade Policy (2023)
- It is a policy document which is based on continuity of time-tested schemes facilitating exports as well as a document which is nimble and responsive to the requirements of trade.
- It is based on principles of ‘trust’ and ‘partnership’ with exporters.
- Hereafter, the revisions of the FTP shall be done as and when required. By incorporating feedback from Trade and Industry would also be continuous to streamline processes and update FTP, from time to time.
- The FTP 2023 aims at process re-engineering and automation to facilitate ease of doing business for exporters.
- It also focuses on emerging areas like dual use high end technology items under SCOMET, facilitating e-commerce export, collaborating with States and Districts for export promotion.
- The new FTP is introducing a one-time Amnesty Scheme for exporters to close the old pending authorizations and start afresh.
- The FTP 2023 encourages recognition of new towns through “Towns of Export Excellence Scheme” and exporters through “Status Holder Scheme”.
- The FTP 2023 is facilitating exports by streamlining the popular Advance Authorization and EPCG schemes, and enabling merchanting trade from India.
The Key Approach to the policy is based on these 4 pillars:
(i) Incentive to Remission
(ii) Export promotion through collaboration – Exporters, States, Districts, Indian Missions
(iii) Ease of doing business, reduction in transaction cost and e-initiatives and
(iv) Emerging Areas – E-Commerce Developing Districts as Export Hubs and streamlining SCOMET policy.
The major features are as follows:
Process Re-Engineering and Automation
- The policy emphasizes export promotion and development, moving away from an incentive regime to a regime facilitating, based on technology interface and principles of collaboration.
- FTP 2023 codifies implementation mechanisms in a paperless, online environment, building on earlier ‘ease of doing business’ initiatives.
- Reduction in fee structures and IT-based schemes will make it easier for MSMEs and others to access export benefits.
- Duty exemption schemes for export production will now be implemented through Regional Offices in a rule-based IT system environment, eliminating the need for manual interface.
- During the FY23-24, all processes under the Advance and EPCG Schemes, including issue, re-validation, and EO extension, will be covered in a phased manner.
- Cases identified under risk management framework will be scrutinized manually, while majority of the applicants are expected to be covered under the ‘automatic’ route initially.
Towns of Export Excellence
- Four new towns, namely Faridabad, Mirzapur, Moradabad, and Varanasi, have been designated as Towns of Export Excellence (TEE) in addition to the existing 39 towns.
- The TEEs will have priority access to export promotion funds under the MAI scheme and will be able to avail Common Service Provider (CSP) benefits for export fulfillment under the EPCG Scheme. This addition is expected to boost the exports of handlooms, handicrafts, and carpets.
Recognition of Exporters
- Exporter firms recognized with ‘status’ based on export performance will now be partners in capacity-building initiatives on a best-endeavor basis.
- Similar to the ‘each one teach one’ initiative, 2-star and above status holders would be encouraged to provide trade-related training based on a model curriculum to interested individuals.
- Status recognition norms have been re-calibrated to enable more exporting firms to achieve 4 and 5-star ratings, leading to better branding opportunities in export markets.
Promoting export from the districts
- The FTP aims at building partnerships with State governments and taking forward the Districts as Export Hubs (DEH) initiative to promote exports at the district level and accelerate the development of grassroots trade ecosystem.
- Efforts to identify export worthy products & services and resolve concerns at the district level will be made through an institutional mechanism – State Export Promotion Committee and District Export Promotion Committee at the State and District level, respectively.
- District specific export action plans to be prepared for each district outlining the district specific strategy to promote export of identified products and services.
Streamlining SCOMET Policy
- India is placing more emphasis on the “export control” regime as its integration with export control regime countries strengthens.
- There is a wider outreach and understanding of SCOMET (Special Chemicals, Organisms, Materials, Equipment and Technologies) among stakeholders, and the policy regime is being made more robust to implement international treaties and agreements entered into by India.
- A robust export control system in India would provide access of dual-use High end goods and technologies to Indian exporters while facilitating exports of controlled items/technologies under SCOMET from India.
Facilitating E-Commerce Exports
- FTP 2023 outlines the intent and roadmap for establishing e-commerce hubs and related elements such as payment reconciliation, book-keeping, returns policy, and export entitlements.
- As a starting point, the consignment wise cap on E-Commerce exports through courier has been raised from 5Lakh to Rs. 10 Lakh in the FTP 2023.
- Depending on the feedback of exporters, this cap will be further revised or eventually removed.
- Integration of Courier and Postal exports with ICEGATE will enable exporters to claim benefits under FTP.
- The comprehensive e-commerce policy addressing the export/import ecosystem would be elaborated soon, based on the recommendations of the working committee on e-commerce exports and inter-ministerial deliberations.
- Extensive outreach and training activities will be taken up to build capacity of artisans, weavers, garment manufacturers, gems and jewellery designers to onboard them on E-Commerce platforms and facilitate higher exports.
Facilitation under Export Promotion of Capital Goods (EPCG) Scheme
The EPCG Scheme, which allows import of capital goods at zero Customs duty for export production, is being further rationalized. Some key changes being added are:
- Prime Minister Mega Integrated Textile Region and Apparel Parks (PM MITRA) scheme has been added as an additional scheme eligible to claim benefits under CSP(Common Service Provider) Scheme of Export Promotion capital Goods Scheme(EPCG).
- Dairy sector to be exempted from maintaining Average Export Obligation – to support dairy sector to upgrade the technology.
- Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) of all types, Vertical Farming equipment, Wastewater Treatment and Recycling, Rainwater harvesting system and Rainwater Filters, and Green Hydrogen are added to Green Technology products – will now be eligible for reduced Export Obligation requirement under EPCG Scheme
- To develop India into a merchanting trade hub, the FTP 2023 has introduced provisions for merchanting trade.
- Merchanting trade of restricted and prohibited items under export policy would now be possible.
- Merchanting trade involves shipment of goods from one foreign country to another foreign country without touching Indian ports, involving an Indian intermediary.
- This will be subject to compliance with RBI guidelines, and won’t be applicable for goods/items classified in the CITES and SCOMET list.
- In course of time, this will allow Indian entrepreneurs to convert certain places like GIFT city into major merchanting hubs as seen in places like Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong.
- In line with “Vivaad se Vishwaas” initiative, which sought to settle tax disputes amicably, the governments introducing a special one-time Amnesty Scheme under the FTP 2023to address default on Export Obligations.
- This scheme is intended to provide relief to exporters who have been unable to meet their obligations under EPCG and Advance Authorizations, and who are burdened by high duty and interest costs associated with pending cases.
- All pending cases of the default in meeting Export Obligation (EO) of authorizations mentioned can be regularized on payment of all customs duties that were exempted in proportion to unfulfilled Export Obligation.
- The interest payable is capped at 100% of these exempted duties under this scheme.
- No interest is payable on the portion of Additional Customs Duty and Special Additional Customs Duty and this is likely to provide relief to exporters as interest burden will come down substantially.
- It is hoped that this amnesty will give these exporters a fresh start and an opportunity to come into compliance.