Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) organisation is an attached office of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MCI) and is headed by Director General of Foreign Trade. This organization has been essentially involved in the regulation and promotion of foreign trade through regulation. Keeping in line with liberalization and globalization and the overall objective of increasing of exports, DGFT has since been assigned the role of “facilitator” promoting and facilitating exports/imports, keeping in view the interests of the country.

DGFT regulates the foreign trade in India through the formulation of The Foreign Trade (Development & Regulations) Act,1992, The Foreign Trade (Regulations) Rules, 1993 and amendments made thereunder. It also keeps on issuing various orders, policy documents, procedures and notices to attain its objective of exports/imports promotion.

In this Article, we will be studying some of the important amendments made by DGFT during the month of August, 2018.

1. Public Notice No. 26/2015-20 dated 01/08/2018 – Directorate General of Foreign Trade inserts the following list of services falling under the jurisdiction of Services Export Promotion Council (SEPC) under which SEPC shall issue RCMC:

i) Accounting/Auditing and Book Keeping Services

ii) Advertising Services

iii) Architectural Services

iv) Consultancy Services House

v) Distribution Services

vi) Educational Services

vii) Entertainment Services including Audio Visual Services

viii) Environmental Services

ix) Healthcare Services

x) Hotel and Tourism Services

xi) Legal Services

xii) Maritime Transport

xiii) Marketing Research and Public Opinion Polling Services/ Management Services

xiv) Printing and Publishing

xv) Others

Effect of this Public Notice: An “Others” Category has been added to the list of 14 service sectors of Services Export Promotion Council (SEPC), under which SEPC shall issue RCMC.

(Explanation: RCMC (Registration Cum Membership Certificate) is a membership certificate issued for 5 years by Export Promotional Councils or commodity board of India. This certificate is issued as a proof that any particular exporter is registered with the council. We will be studying more about RCMC in my future articles.)

2. Public Notice No. 27/2015-20 dated 08/08/2018 -DGFT Authorities have made Amendments to Handbook of Procedure 2015-2020 (HBP) and accordingly, application of Import-Export Code (IEC) is now simplified and shall be auto generated. DGFT revises HBP Para 2.08 and Para 2.14 with regards to application for IEC and modification of IEC respectively.

According to the amendments, the applicant is required to submit IEC application online with two documents only, i.e., Cancelled cheque bearing entity’s name or bank certificate and address proof of applicant’s entity as detailed in the application. Regional Authorities (RAs) would conduct post-verification on online IECs. IEC will now be issued by system auto generated and applicant will be informed through e-mail and SMS. Applicant can also view and print e-IEC from IEC module on DGFT website. Further, following the integration of PAN web service of CBDT with DGFT’s web server and automatic system-based verification of PAN Details with PAN Database of CBDT, requirement of digital signature is also done away with for application of IEC /modification of IEC.

Effect of this Public Notice: Procedure for filling online application for IEC/modification in IEC/e-IEC is laid down. IEC will henceforth be system generated and applicant will have the facility of taking a print out of IEC. Further, requirement of Digital Signature for submitting IEC applications is done away with.

3. Public Notice No. 30/2015-20 dated 14/08/2018 -Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) in public interest makes the one time relaxation in procedure in respect of acceptance of installation certificate under the Export Promotion Capital Goods (EPCG) Scheme. It has been decided to permit the RAs to accept the installation certificate without insisting for penalty in respect of EPCG authorization issued upto 31.03.2015 as long as the installation has happened within 18 months from the date of import, provided the EPCG authorization is not under any investigation/adjudicated by RA/ customs authority/ any other investigative agency. This relaxation will be available upto 31.03.2019. There will not be any refund of the penalty already paid under the Public Notice No.37/2015-20 dated 25.10.2017.

The other terms and conditions in the Public Notice No.37/2015-20 dated 25.10.2017 and Public Notice NO.01/2015-20 dated 26.04.2015 consistent with this Public Notice will continue to be applicable.

Effect of this Public Notice: One time relaxation and condonation of delay in submission of installation certificate to RAs under EPCG Scheme for authorizations issued upto 31.03.2015, without payment of any penalty.

4. Public Notice No. 31/2015-20 dated 29/08/2018-DGFT has issued a Public Notice regarding shifting of Capital Goods imported under the EPCG Scheme.

EPCG Authorization holder shall produce a certificate from the jurisdictional Customs authority or an independent Chartered Engineer, within six months from date of completion of import to the jurisdictional RA confirming installation of capital goods at factory/premises of authorization holder or his supporting manufacturer(s). The RA may allow one time extension of the said period for producing the certificate by a maximum period of 12 months with a composition fee of Rs.5000/-. Further, the authorization holder shall be permitted to shift capital goods during the entire export obligation period to other units mentioned in the IEC and RCMC of the authorization holder subject to production of fresh installation certificate to the RA concerned within six months of the shifting.”

Effect of this Public Notice: EPCG authorisation holders are permitted to shift the capital goods imported during the entire export obligation period to their other units mentioned in the lEC and RCMC subject to conditions specified.

5. Public Notice No. 32/2015-20 dated 29/08/2018 -DGFT has eased down the process of making intimation to Regional Authorities about Block-wise fulfillment of Export Obligation under the EPCG Scheme. The EPCG Authorisation holder is required to intimate to the Regional Authority on the fulfillment of the export obligation, as well as average exports, within three months of completion of the block without digital signature which was required to be uploaded earlier with Digital Signature.

Effect of this Public Notice: The Para 5.14(b) of Hand book of Procedures 2015-20 amended to facilitate intimation to Regional Authorities without digital signature.

(The author of this article is a Practicing Company Secretary located at New Delhi and can be reached at [email protected])

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are solely for informational purpose. It does not constitute professional advice or a formal recommendation. No part of this article should be distributed or copied without express written permission of the author.

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