👍👍👍DGFT should make good notable omissions

Clipped from: https://www.business-standard.com/opinion/columns/dgft-should-make-good-notable-omissions-123041600885_1.html

On March 31, 2015, when the government unveiled the Foreign Trade Policy 2015-20, it also released a Foreign Trade Policy Statement explaining the vision, goals, and objectives underpinning the policy

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The commerce ministry put in place the Foreign Trade Policy 2023 on March 31. During the function unveiling the new policy, 

an amnesty scheme was also announced. A fortnight later, some omissions stand out.

On March 31, 2015, when the government unveiled the Foreign Trade Policy 2015-20, it also released a Foreign Trade Policy Statement explaining the vision, goals, and objectives underpinning the policy. Giving the backdrop of global trade developments, it detailed the market and product strategy and other measures required for export promotion and enhancement of the entire trade ecosystem. Similar document was released along with the mid-term review of the policy in December 2017. Such a document has not yet been released this year. 

Of course, the commerce minister has articulated the government’s vision to achieve $2 trillion exports of goods and services by 2030. The government may well have a strategy on how to go about achieving the goal but it has not articulated any strategy through a document as earlier. A charitable view is that the government does not consider it necessary, as several steps towards reducing logistics costs, negotiating bilateral trade agreements, capacity building, involving the states in export efforts, etc. are already being taken. Another view is that given the present uncertainties, the government is not interested in committing to any strategy but wants to keep its options to respond as the situation develops. In any case, the omission to put out a Foreign Trade Policy Statement, similar to the ones released earlier, is noteworthy. 

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) promptly uploaded the texts of the new Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) and the Handbook of Procedures (HBP) on its website but there was no clarity on whether the appendices to the HBP and the Aayat Niryat Forms (ANF) that give the formats for making various applications were updated. Last week, the DGFT put an end to the doubts by extending the validity of the ANF and appendices notified under the earlier Policy till the end of next month or till the new ANF forms and appendices are notified under the new policy, whichever is earlier, in so far as they are not inconsistent with the current policy and procedures. This suggests inadequate preparations before unveiling the new policy.

The DGFT issued the public notice no.2 dated April 1 giving details of the amnesty scheme and the procedures for regularisation of defaults under advance authorisations and export promotion capital goods (EPCG) authorisations issued till March 31, 2015, under the Foreign Trade Policy 2009-14 and under the earlier policies where the export obligation period was beyond August 12, 2013. The Customs have not issued any notifications giving effect to that public notice unlike a similar earlier amnesty scheme announced in 2013, when the Customs did issue the notification no. 46/2013 dated September 16, 2013, giving effect to the DGFT public notice no. 22 dated August 12, 2013. The public notice requires the defaulters to get registered and submit details of amounts due that will be verified by the regional offices of the DGFT and pay the amounts so verified.  The forms for registration are not yet made available and the time limit for verification of data submitted by the exporters is not specified. Hopefully, communications will follow on these issues.

 Email: tncrajagopalan@gmail.com

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