Government of India

Department of Commerce

Ministry of Commerce and Industry

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE FOREIGN TRADE POLICY 2015-2020

A. SIMPLIFICATION & MERGER OF REWARD SCHEMES

Export from India Schemes:

1. Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS)

(a) Earlier there were 5 different schemes (Focus Product Scheme, Market Linked Focus Product Scheme, Focus Market Scheme, Agri. Infrastructure Incentive Scrip, VKGUY) for rewarding merchandise exports with different kinds of duty scrips with varying conditions (sector specific or actual user only) attached to their use. Now all these schemes have been merged into a single scheme, namely Merchandise Export from India Scheme (MEIS) and there would be no conditionality attached to the scrips issued under the scheme. The main features of MEIS, including details of various groups of products supported under MEIS and the country groupings are at Annexure-1.

(b) Rewards for export of notified goods to notified markets under ‘Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) shall be payable as percentage of realized FOB value (in free foreign exchange). The debits towards basic customs duty in the transferable reward duty credit scrips would also be allowed adjustment as duty drawback. At present, only the additional duty of customs / excise duty / service tax is allowed adjustment as CENVAT credit or drawback, as per Department of Revenue rules.

Download Foreign Trade Policy 2015-2020

Download FTP – Handbook of Procedures From 1-4-2015 to 31-3-2020

Download Foreign Trade Policy Statement 2015-2020

Download FTP 2015-20 – Appendices and Aayat Niryat Forms

2. Service Exports from India Scheme (SEIS)

(a) Served From India Scheme (SFIS) has been replaced with Service Exports from India Scheme (SEIS). SEIS shall apply to ‘Service Providers located in India’ instead of ‘Indian Service Providers’. Thus SEIS provides for rewards to all Service providers of notified services, who are providing services from India, regardless of the constitution or profile of the service provider. The list of services and the rates of rewards under SEIS are at Annexure-2.

(b) The rate of reward under SEIS would be based on net foreign exchange earned. The reward issued as duty credit scrip, would no longer be with actual user condition and will no longer be restricted to usage for specified types of goods but be freely transferable and usable for all types of goods and service tax debits on procurement of services / goods. Debits would be eligible for CENVAT credit or drawback.

3. Chapter -3 Incentives (MEIS & SEIS) to be available for SEZs

It is now proposed to extend Chapter -3 Incentives (MEIS & SEIS) to units located in SEZs also.

4. Duty credit scrips to be freely transferable and usable for payment of custom duty, excise duty and service tax.

(a) All scrips issued under MEIS and SEIS and the goods imported against these scrips would be fully transferable.

(b) Scrips issued under Exports from India Schemes can be used for the following:-

(i) Payment of customs duty for import of inputs / goods including capital goods, except items listed in Appendix 3A.

(ii) Payment of excise duty on domestic procurement of inputs or goods, including capital goods as per DoR notification.

(iii) Payment of service tax on procurement of services as per DoR notification.

(c) Basic Customs Duty paid in cash or through debit under Duty Credit Scrip can be taken back as Duty Drawback as per DoR Rules, if inputs so imported are used for exports.

5. Status Holders

(a) Business leaders who have excelled in international trade and have successfully contributed to country’s foreign trade are proposed to be recognized as Status Holders and given special treatment and privileges to facilitate their trade transactions, in order to reduce their transaction costs and time.

(b) The nomenclature of Export House, Star Export House, Trading House, Star Trading House, Premier Trading House certificate has been changed to One, Two, Three, Four, Five Star Export House.

(c) The criteria for export performance for recognition of status holder have been changed from Rupees to US dollar earnings. The new criteria is as under:-

Status category

Export Performance

FOB / FOR (as converted)

Value (in US $ million) during current and previous two years

One Star Export House 3
Two Star Export House 25
Three Star Export House 100
Four Star Export House 500
Five Star Export House 2000
 (d) Approved Exporter Scheme – Self certification by Status Holders

Manufacturers who are also Status Holders will be enabled to self-certify their manufactured goods as originating from India with a view to qualify for preferential treatment under different Preferential Trading Agreements [PTAs], Free Trade Agreements [FTAs], Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreements [CECAs] and Comprehensive Economic Partnerships Agreements [CEPAs] which are in operation. They shall be permitted to self-certify the goods as manufactured as per their Industrial Entrepreneur Memorandum (IEM) / Industrial Licence (IL)/ Letter of Intent (LOI).

B. BOOST TO “MAKE IN INDIA”

6. Reduced Export Obligation (EO) for domestic procurement under EPCG scheme:

Specific Export Obligation under EPCG scheme, in case capital goods are procured from indigenous manufacturers, which is currently 90% of the normal export obligation (6 times at the duty saved amount) has been reduced to 75%, in order to promote domestic capital goods manufacturing industry.

7. Higher level of rewards under MEIS for export items with high domestic content and value addition.

It is proposed to give higher level of rewards to products with high domestic content and value addition, as compared to products with high import content and less value addition.

C. TRADE FACILITATION & EASE OF DOING BUSINESS

8. Online filing of documents/ applications and Paperless trade in 24×7 environment:

(a) DGFT already provides facility of Online filing of various applications under FTP by the exporters/importers. However, certain documents like Certificates issued by Chartered Accountants/ Company Secretary / Cost Accountant etc. have to be filed in physical forms only. In order to move further towards paperless processing of reward schemes, it has been decided to develop an online procedure to upload digitally signed documents by Chartered Accountant / Company Secretary / Cost Accountant. In the new system, it will be possible to upload online documents like annexure attached to ANF 3B, ANF 3C and ANF 3D, which are at present signed by these signatories and submitted physically.

(b) Henceforth, hardcopies of applications and specified documents would not be required to be submitted to RA, saving paper as well as cost and time for the exporters. To start with, applications under Chapter 3 & 4 of FTP are being covered (which account for nearly 70% of total applications in DGFT). Applications under Chapter-5 would be taken up in the next phase.

(c) As a measure of ease of doing business, landing documents of export consignment as proofs for notified market can be digitally uploaded in the following manner:-

(i) Any exporter may upload the scanned copy of Bill of Entry under his digital signature.

(ii) Status holders falling in the category of Three Star, Four Star or Five Star Export House may upload scanned copies of documents.

9. Online inter-ministerial consultations:

It is proposed to have Online inter-ministerial consultations for approval of export of SCOMET items, Norms fixation, Import Authorisations, Export Authorisation, in a phased manner, with the objective to reduce time for approval. As a result, there would not be any need to submit hard copies of documents for these purposes by the exporters.

10. Simplification of procedures/processes, digitisation and e-governance

(a) Under EPCG scheme, obtaining and submitting a certificate from an independent Chartered Engineer, confirming the use of spares, tools, refractory and catalysts imported for final redemption of EPCG authorizations has been dispensed with.

(b) At present, the EPCG Authorisation holders are required to maintain records for 3 years after redemption of Authorisations. Now the EPCG Authorization Holders shall be required to maintain records for a period of two years only. Government’s endeavour is to gradually phase out this requirement as the relevant records such as Shipping Bills, e-BRC are likely to be available in electronic mode which can be archived and retrieved whenever required.

(c) Exporter Importer Profile: Facility has been created to upload documents in Exporter/Importer Profile. There will be no need to submit copies of permanent records/ documents (e.g. IEC, Manufacturing licence, RCMC, PAN etc.) repeatedly with each application, once uploaded.

(d) Communication with Exporters/Importers: Certain information, like mobile number, e-mail address etc. has been added as mandatory fields, in IEC data base. This information once provided by exporters, would help in better communication with exporters. SMS/ email would be sent to exporters to inform them about issuance of authorisations or status of their applications.

(e) Online message exchange with CBDT and MCA: It has been decided to have on line message exchange with CBDT for PAN data and with Ministry of Corporate Affairs for CIN and DIN data. This integration would obviate the need for seeking information from IEC holders for subsequent amendments/ updation of data in IEC data base.

(e) Communication with Committees of DGFT: For faster and paperless communication with various committees of DGFT, dedicated e-mail addresses have been provided to each Norms Committee, Import Committee and Pre-Shipment Inspection Agency for faster communication.

(f) Online applications for refunds: Online filing of application for refund of TED is being introduced for which a new ANF has been created.

11. Forthcoming e-Governance Initiatives

(a) DGFT is currently working on the following EDI initiatives:

(i) Message exchange for transmission of export reward scrips from DGFT to Customs.

(ii) Message exchange for transmission of Bills of Entry (import details) from Customs to DGFT.

(iii) Online issuance of Export Obligation Discharge Certificate (EODC).

(iv) Message exchange with Ministry of Corporate Affairs for CIN & DIN.

(v) Message exchange with CBDT for PAN.

(vi) Facility to pay application fee using debit card / credit card.

(vii) Open API for submission of IEC application.

(viii) Mobile applications for FTP

D. Other new Initiatives

12. New initiatives for EOUs, EHTPs and STPs

(a) EOUs, EHTPs, STPs have been allowed to share infrastructural facilities among themselves. This will enable units to utilize their infrastructural facilities in an optimum way and avoid duplication of efforts and cost to create separate infrastructural facilities in different units.

(b) Inter unit transfer of goods and services have been allowed among EOUs, EHTPs, STPs, and BTPs. This will facilitate group of those units which source inputs centrally in order to obtain bulk discount. This will reduce cost of transportation, other logistic costs and result in maintaining effective supply chain.

(c) EOUs have been allowed facility to set up Warehouses near the port of export. This will help in reducing lead time for delivery of goods and will also address the issue of un-predictability of supply orders.

(d) STP units, EHTP units, software EOUs have been allowed the facility to use all duty free equipment/goods for training purposes. This will help these units in developing skills of their employees.

(e) 100% EOU units have been allowed facility of supply of spares/ components up to 2% of the value of the manufactured articles to a buyer in domestic market for the purpose of after sale services.

(f) At present, in a period of 5 years EOU units have to achieve Positive Net Foreign Exchange Earning (NEE) cumulatively. Because of adverse market condition or any ground of genuine hardship, then such period of 5 years for NFE completion can be extended by one year.

(f) Time period for validity of Letter of Permission (LOP) for EOUs/EHTP/ STPI/BTP Units has been revised for faster implementation and monitoring of projects. Now, LOP will have an initial validity of 2 years to enable the unit to construct the plant and install the machinery. Further extension can be granted by the Development Commissioner up to one year. Extension beyond 3 years of the validity of LOP, can be granted, in case unit has completed 2/3rd of activities, including the construction activities.

(g) At present, EOUs/EHTP/STPI units are permitted to transfer capital goods to other EOUs, EHTPs, STPs, SEZ units. Now a facility has been provided that if such transferred capital goods are rejected by the recipient, then the same can be returned to the supplying unit, without payment of duty.

(h) A simplified procedure will be provided to fast track the de-bonding / exit of the STP/ EHTP units. This will save time for these units and help in reduction of transaction cost.

(i) EOUs having physical export turnover of ₹ 10 crore and above, have been allowed the facility of fast track clearances of import and domestic procurement. They will be allowed fast tract clearances of goods, for export production, on the basis of pre-authenticated procurement certificate, issued by customs / central excise authorities. They will not have to seek procurement permission for every import consignment.

13. Facilitating & Encouraging Export of dual use items (SCOMET).

(a) Validity of SCOMET export authorisation has been extended from the present 12 months to 24 months. It will help industry to plan their activity in an orderly manner and obviate the need to seek revalidation or relaxation from DGFT.

(b) Authorisation for repeat orders will be considered on automatic basis subject to certain conditions.

(c) Verification of End User Certificate (EUC) is being simplified if SCOMET item is being exported under Defence Export Offset Policy.

(c) Outreach programmes will be conducted at different locations to raise awareness among various stakeholders.

14 Facilitating & Encouraging Export of Defence Exports

(a) Normal export obligation period under advance authorization is 18 months. Export obligation period for export items falling in the category of defence, military store, aerospace and nuclear energy shall be 24 months from the date of issue of authorization or co-terminus with contracted duration of the export order, whichever is later. This provision will help export of defence items and other high technology items.

(b) A list of military stores requiring NOC of Department of Defence Production has been notified by DGFT recently. A committee has been formed to create ITC (HS) codes for defence and security items for which industrial licenses are issued by DIPP.

15. e-Commerce Exports

(a) Goods falling in the category of handloom products, books / periodicals, leather footwear, toys and customized fashion garments, having FOB value up to ₹ 25000 per consignment (finalized using e-Commerce platform) shall be eligible for benefits under FTP. Such goods can be exported in manual mode through Foreign Post Offices at New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai.

(b) Export of such goods under Courier Regulations shall be allowed manually on pilot basis through Airports at Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai as per appropriate amendments in regulations to be made by Department of Revenue. Department of Revenue shall fast track the implementation of EDI mode at courier terminals.

16. Duty Exemption

(a) Imports against Advance Authorization shall also be eligible for exemption from Transitional Product Specific Safeguard Duty.

(b) In order to encourage manufacturing of capital goods in India, import under EPCG Authorisation Scheme shall not be eligible for exemption from payment of anti-dumping duty, safeguard duty and transitional product specific safeguard duty.

17. Additional Ports allowed for Export and import

Calicut Airport, Kerala and Arakonam ICD, Tamil Nadu have been notified as registered ports for import and export.

18. Duty Free Tariff Preference (DFTP) Scheme

India has already extended duty free tariff preference to 33 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) across the globe. This is being notified under FTP.

19. Quality complaints and Trade Disputes

(a) In an endeavour to resolve quality complaints and trade disputes, between exporters and importers, a new chapter, namely, Chapter on Quality Complaints and Trade Disputes has been incorporated in the Foreign Trade Policy.

(b) For resolving such disputes at a faster pace, a Committee on Quality Complaints and Trade Disputes (CQCTD) is being constituted in 22 offices and would have members from EPCs/FIEOs/APEDA/EICs.

20. Vishakhapatnam and Bhimavaram added as Towns of Export Excellence

Government has already recognized 33 towns as export excellence towns. It has been decided to add Vishakhapatnam and Bhimavaram in Andhra Pradesh as towns of export excellence (Product Category- Seafood)

Annexure-1

I. Merchandise Exports from India Scheme

(i) Merchandise Exports from India Scheme has replaced 5 different schemes of earlier FTP (Focus Product Scheme, Market Linked Focus Product Scheme, Focus Market Scheme, Agri. Infrastructure Incentive Scrip, VKGUY) for rewarding merchandise exports which had varying conditions (sector specific or actual user only) attached to their use.

(ii) Now all these schemes have been merged into a single scheme, namely Merchandise Export from India Scheme (MEIS) and there would be no conditionality attached to the scrips issued under the scheme. Notified goods exported to notified markets would be rewarded on realised FOB value of exports.

A. Country Groups:

Category A: Traditional Markets (30) – European Union (28), USA, Canada.

Category B: Emerging & Focus Markets (139), Africa (55), Latin America and Mexico (45), CIS countries (12), Turkey and West Asian countries (13), ASEAN countries (10), Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan,

Category C: Other Markets (70).

B. Products supported under MEIS

Level of Support:

Higher rewards have been granted for the following category of products:

  • Agricultural and Village industry products, presently covered under VKGUY.
  • Value added and packaged products.
  • Eco-friendly and green products that create wealth out of waste from agricultural and other waste products that generate additional income for the farmers, while improving the environment.
  • Labour intensive Products with large employment potential and Products with large number of producers and /or exporters.
  • Industrial Products from potential winning sectors.
  • Hi-tech products with high export earning potential.

C. Markets Supported

  • Most Agricultural products supported across the Globe.
  • Industrial and other products supported in Traditional and/or Emerging markets only.

D. High potential products not supported earlier:

Support to 852 Tariff lines that fit in the product criteria but not provided support in the earlier FTP. Includes lines from Fruits, Vegetables, Dairy products, Oils meals, Ayush & Herbal Products, Paper, Paper Board Products.

E. Global support has been granted to the following category:

  • Fruits, Flowers, vegetables
  • Tea Coffee, Spices
  • Cereals preparation, shellac, Essential oils
  • Processed foods,
  • Eco Friendly products that add value to waste
  • Marine Products
  • Handloom, Coir, Jute, products and Technical Textiles, Carpets Handmade. Other Textile and Readymade garments have been supported for European Union, USA, Canada and Japan.
  • Handicraft, Sports Goods
  • Furniture, wood articles

F. Support to major markets have been given to the following product categories

  • Pharmaceuticals, Herbals, Surgicals
  • Industrial Machinery, IC Engine, Machine tools, Parts, Auto Components/Parts
  • Hand Tools, Pumps of All Types
  • Automobiles, Two wheelers, Bicycles, Ships, Planes
  • Chemicals, Plastics
  • Rubber, Ceramic and Glass
  • Leather garments, saddlery items, footwear
  • Steel furniture, Prefabs, Lighters
  • Wood , Paper, Stationary
  • iron, steel, and base metals, products

G. Other sectors supported under MEIS

  • 352 Defence related Product with export of US$ 17.7B consisting of Core Products (20), Dual Use products (60) ,General Purpose products (272).
  • 283 Pharmaceutical products of Bulk Drugs & Drug Intermediates, Drug Formulations Biologicals, Herbal, Surgicals, and Vaccines.
  • 96 lines of Environment related Goods, Machinery, Equipment’s.
  • 49 lines where mandatory BIS standards are prescribed.
  • 7 lines of Technical Textiles.

H. Participation in global value chain of the items falling under the scheme:

  • 1725 lines of Intermediate Goods – These goods become inputs in the manufacturing of other countries and will strengthen backward manufacturing linkages which is vital for India’s participation in Global Value Chains.
  • 1109 lines of Capital Goods sector- will also strengthen Manufacturing Base in India.
  • 1730 lines of Consumer Goods sector- We hope a quantum jump in export from this sector with strengthening of Make in India Brand in near future.

I. Technology based analysis:

  • 572 lines-Low skill Technology-intensive manufacturing.
  • 1010 lines-Medium skill Technology-intensive manufacturing.
  • 1309 lines-High Skill Technology-intensive manufacturing.

J. Women Centric Products supported under MEIS

(a) Women workers constitute 52% of plantation workers-203 lines of Tea Coffee, Spices, Cashew.

(b) 69% of the aggregate female employment is concentrated in the following sectors:

(i) Manufacture of other food products -Jelly Confectionery, tomato ketchup, cooked stuffed pasta, pawa, mudi and the like, gingerbread , papad, pastries and cakes.

(ii) Manufacture of wearing apparel-396 lines of Readymade Garments

(c) Sectors that have a significant proportion of female employment (more than 25%):

(i) Agricultural and animal husbandry service activities, except veterinary activities- 263 lines of basic Agriculture products.

(ii) Manufacture of footwear – 28 Footwear and Leather products.

(iii) Consumer Electronics and Electronic Components, watches and clocks -483 lines.

Annexure-2

II. Services Exports from India Scheme

(i) Served from India Scheme (SFIS) has been replaced with Service Exports from India Scheme (SEIS). SEIS shall apply to `Service Providers’ located in India’ instead of `Indian Service Providers’. Thus SEIS provides for rewards to all Service providers of notified services, who are providing services from India, regardless of the constitution or profile of the service provider.

(ii) The rate of reward under SEIS would be based on net foreign exchange earned. The reward issued as duty credit scrip, would no longer be with actual user condition and will no longer be restricted to usage for specified types of goods but be freely transferable and usable for all types of goods and service tax debits on procurement of services/goods. Debits would be eligible for CENVAT credit or drawback.

(iii) The present rates of reward are 3% and 5%. The list of services and the rates of rewards would be reviewed after 30.9.2015.

Sl No

SECTORS

Admissible rate

1 BUSINESS SERVICES
A Professional servicesLegal services, Accounting, auditing and bookkeeping services, Taxation services, Architectural services , Engineering services, Integrated engineering services, Urban planning and landscape architectural services, Medical and dental services, Veterinary services, Services provided by midwives, nurses, physiotherapists and paramedical personnel.

5%

B Research and development servicesR&D services on natural sciences, R&D services on social sciences and humanities, Interdisciplinary R&D services

5%

C. Rental/Leasing services without operatorsRelating to ships, Relating to aircraft, Relating to other transport equipment, Relating to other machinery and equipment

5%

D Other business services Advertising services, Market research and public opinion polling services Management consulting service, Services related to management consulting, Technical testing and analysis services, Services incidental to agricultural, hunting and forestry, Services incidental to fishing, Services incidental to mining, Services incidental to manufacturing, Services incidental to energy distribution, Placement and supply services of personnel, Investigation and security, Related scientific and technical consulting services, Maintenance and repair of equipment (not including maritime vessels, aircraft or other transport equipment), Building- cleaning services, Photographic services, Packaging services, Printing, publishing and Convention services

3%

2 COMMUNICATION SERVICES Audiovisual servicesMotion picture and video tape production and distribution service, Motion picture projection service, Radio and television services, Radio and television transmission services, Sound recording

5%

3 CONSTRUCTION AND RELATED ENGINEERING SERVICES General Construction work for building, General Construction work for Civil Engineering, Installation and assembly work , Building completion and finishing work

5%

4 EDUCATIONAL SERVICES (Please refer Note 1)Primary education services, Secondary education services, Higher education services, Adult education

5%

5 ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES Sewage services, Refuse disposal services, Sanitation and similar services

5%

6 HEALTH-RELATED AND SOCIAL SERVICES Hospital services

5%

7 TOURISM AND TRAVEL-RELATED SERVICES
A. Hotels and Restaurants (including catering)
a. Hotel

3%

b. Restaurants (including catering)

3%

B. Travel agencies and tour operators services

5%

C. Tourist guides services

5%

8 RECREATIONAL, CULTURAL AND SPORTING SERVICES (other than audiovisual services)Entertainment services (including theatre, live bands and circus services), News agency services, Libraries, archives, museums and other cultural services, Sporting and other recreational services

5%

9 TRANSPORT SERVICES (Please refer Note 2)
A. Maritime Transport ServicesPassenger transportation*, Freight transportation* , Rental of vessels with crew *, Maintenance and repair of vessels, Pushing and towing services, Supporting services for maritime transport

5%

B. Air transport servicesRental of aircraft with crew, Maintenance and repair of aircraft, Airport Operations and ground handling

5%

C Road Transport ServicesPassenger transportation, Freight transportation, Rental of Commercial vehicles with operator, Maintenance and repair of road transport equipment, Supporting services for road transport services

5%

D. Services Auxiliary To All Modes Of Transport.Cargo-handling services, Storage and warehouse services, Freight transport agency services

5%

Note:

(1) Under education services, SEIS shall not be available on Capitation fee.

(2) *Operations from India by Indian Flag Carriers only is allowed under Maritime transport services.

Download Foreign Trade Policy 2015-2020

Download FTP – Handbook of Procedures From 1-4-2015 to 31-3-2020

Download Foreign Trade Policy Statement 2015-2020

Download FTP 2015-20 – Appendices and Aayat Niryat Forms

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