In 1992, the Government enacted the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation)  Act, 1992 (‘the Act’) to enable development and regulation of foreign trade by facilitating imports and enhancing exports from India.In order to address certain requirements like bringing in tighter export/ trade control in case of dual use goods and related technologies, ensure conformity with India’s commitments to WTO/ other international agreements and to safeguard the domestic industry, need was felt to amend the Act.

Accordingly, Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2009 (‘the Bill’) is proposed to amend the Act.

Highlights of the Bill are outlined below.

The important points under consideration:

  • Import and export of technology and services (including all tradable services specified under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (‘GATS’) entered into between India and other country), are proposed to be covered by the Act for the purposes of the Foreign Trade Policy.
  • Dispensation of the requirement of obtaining any licence or permit for import or export except as may be provided under the Act.
  • Introduction of a statutory provision to impose Quantitative Restrictions (‘QR’) on imports from specified countries which can threaten or cause serious injury to the domestic industry. This restrictions to be imposed for a period of four years (which can be further extended upto four years) and upto three percent of imports from a single country and aggregate of nine percent in case imports from more than one country.
  • Imposition of trade control measures1 in relation to exports, transfers, re-transfers, brought in transit, transshipment and broking of specified goods, technology or services.
  • Importer-exporter Code Number shall be necessary for service provider in case he is planning to avail benefits under the Foreign Trade Policy or is dealing with specified services or specified technologies.
  • Import and export of goods, services and technology in relation to Special Economic Zone shall be governed in accordance with the provisions contained in the Special Economic Zones Act, 2005.

Miscellaneous

Further, the Bill proposes to rationalize and improve the administration and dispute settlement under the Act with help of the following:

  • By enlarging the scope of the term ‘licence’ as defined in the Act.
  • Provisions to improve the methods of levy and realization of fiscal penalties under the Act.
  • Empowering the Customs and Central Excise Settlement Commission for settlement of customs and excise duty and interest dues.

Conclusion

International Trade has undergone change after the enactment of the Act with Trade in Services gaining significance, signing of various treaty/ agreements as part of commitment under WTO, etc. Hence, proposed amendment realigns India’s trade policy and regulations vis-à-vis international commitments and takes into consideration the changed trade scenario for India.

Source: Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2009

Note:

1.  These controls to be in accordance to provisions of the Weapon of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Act, 2005.

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