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Govt aligns FTP to Make in India, Digital India, Skills India strategy

Govt aligns FTP to Make in India, Digital India, Skills India strategy
Aiming to nearly double India’s exports of goods and services to $900 billion by 2020, the government on Wednesday announced several incentives in the five-year Foreign Trade Policy for exporters and units in the Special Economic Zones. Unveiling the first trade policy of the NDA government, Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the FTP (2015-20) will introduce Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) and Services Exports from India Scheme (SEIS) to boost outward shipments.

Besides, higher level of incentives will be provided for export of agriculture products under the Foreign Trade Policy (FTP), which seeks to integrate with Make In India and Digital India initiatives of the government.

“FTP lays down a roadmap for India’s global trade engagement in the coming years... India (will become) a significant participant in world trade by 2020,” Sitharaman said. “The government aims to increase India’s exports of merchandise and services from $465.9 billion in 2013-14 to approximately $900 billion by 2019-20 and to raise India’s share in world exports from 2 percent to 3.5 per cent,” Commerce Secretary Rajeev Kher said.

The FTP also seeks to establish an Export Promotion Mission to provide an institutional framework to work with State Governments to boost India’s exports.

“Senior officials have been appointed as designated focal points for exports and imports in several Central Government departments,” said a release on the FTP. Unlike the annual reviews of the past, the FTP will be reviewed after two-and-half years to ensure continuity in the trade policy.

Sitharaman said that export obligation would be reduced by 25 per cent and incentives available under the MEIS and SEIS would be extend to the units in the SEZs to make them more attractive for investors.

SEZs has lost their sheen after imposition of the minimum alternate tax (MAT) and dividend distribution tax (DDT) in 2012. The duty credit scrips would be made freely transferable and usable for payment of customs duty, excise duty and service tax, she said, adding “debits against scrips would be eligible for CENVAT credit or drawback.”

Further business services, hotel and restaurants would get rewards scrips under SEIS at the rate of 3 per cent and other specified services at the rate of 5 per cent. SEIS would be applied to ‘Service Providers located in India’ instead of ‘Indian Service Providers’. Served From India Scheme (SFIS) replaced with SEIS.

Under MEIS, the main sectors to be provided support includes processed, packaged agricultural and food items, agricultural and village industry goods. “These schemes (MEIS and SEIS) replace multiple schemes earlier in place, each with different conditions for eligibility and usage. Benefits from both these schemes will be extended to units located in SEZs,” the minister added
The nomenclature for export houses is being changed to 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 star export house.

.... Will promote eCommerce firms focusing on job creation

Under the new five-year Foreign Trade Policy (FTP), the government will provide incentives to eCommerce companies exporting products from sectors that create jobs. Presenting the policy, Commence and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said government will provide incentives to eCommerce firms that export products from sectors on which the government is focusing on job creation. Under the new five-year Foreign Trade Policy (2015-20) the government has introduced two new schemes — Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) and Services Exports from India Scheme (SEIS) to promote exports.

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