The Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) 2015-20 was unveiled by Ms Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of State for Commerce & Industry (Independent Charge), Government of India on April 1, 2015. Following are the highlights of the FTP:
FTP 2015-20 provides a framework for increasing exports of goods and services as well as generation of employment and increasing value addition in the country, in line with the ‘Make in India’ programme.
The Policy aims to enable India to respond to the challenges of the external environment, keeping in step with a rapidly evolving international trading architecture and make trade a major contributor to the country’s economic growth and development.
Ftp 2015-20 introduces two new schemes, namely ‘Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS)’ for export of specified goods to specified markets and ‘Services Exports from India Scheme (SEIS)’ for increasing exports of notified services.
Duty credit scrips issued under MEIS and SEIS and the goods imported against these scrips are fully transferable.
For grant of rewards under MEIS, the countries have been categorized into 3 Groups, whereas the rates of rewards under MEIS range from 2 per cent to 5 per cent. Under SEIS the selected Services would be rewarded at the rates of 3 per cent and 5 per cent.
Measures have been adopted to nudge procurement of capital goods from indigenous manufacturers under the EPCG scheme by reducing specific export obligation to 75per cent of the normal export obligation.
Measures have been taken to give a boost to exports of defense and hi-tech items.
E-Commerce exports of handloom products, books/periodicals, leather footwear, toys and customised fashion garments through courier or foreign post office would also be able to get benefit of MEIS (for values up to INR 25,000).
Manufacturers, who are also status holders, will now be able to self-certify their manufactured goods in phases, as originating from India with a view to qualifying for preferential treatment under various forms of bilateral and regional trade agreements. This ‘Approved Exporter System’ will help manufacturer exporters considerably in getting fast access to international markets.
A number of steps have been taken for encouraging manufacturing and exports under 100 per cent EOU/EHTP/STPI/BTP Schemes. The steps include a fast track clearance facility for these units, permitting them to share infrastructure facilities, permitting inter unit transfer of goods and services, permitting them to set up warehouses near the port of export and to use duty free equipment for training purposes.
108 MSME clusters have been identified for focused interventions to boost exports. Accordingly, ‘Niryat Bandhu Scheme’ has been galvanised and repositioned to achieve the objectives of ‘Skill India’.
Trade facilitation and enhancing the ease of doing business are the other major focus areas in this new FTP. One of the major objective of new FTP is to move towards paperless working in 24×7 environment.