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Department of Commerce provides several relaxations to address hardships faced by Exportrers   Apr 12, 2020

Department of Commerce has Provided a number of Relaxations / Extensions of various Compliance Deadlines etc. to address Corona Pandemic Related Hardships of Exporters.

In order to give relief to businesses and affected individuals amidst the stress caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry has introduced several relaxations and extensions in deadlines etc. with regard to compliances mandated under its schemes and activities. The key relaxations pertaining to the Department of Commerce are as follows:

A. FACILITATION UNDER FOREIGN TRADE POLICY (FTP) 2015-20 BY  DGFT
Extension of FTP beyond 31st March 2020: The Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) 2015-2020 and Handbook of Procedures (HBP) which was valid till 31st March 2020, have been  extended by one year till 31st March 2021

B.  FACILITATION FOR SPECIAL ECONOMIC ZONE (SEZ) UNITS
In respect of SEZ Developers/Co- developers/ Units relaxations have been allowed on certain compliances:  Along with IT/ITES Units, Non IT/ITES Units in SEZs have also been allowed to take desktop/laptop outside SEZs for work from home. 

C. FACILITATION BY ECGC:
Time Limit for filing returns like declarations, extension applications, report of default etc., under the insurance covers that are due in March and April, extended up to May 31, 2020.

D. FACILITATION BY AGRI EXPORTERS BY AGRICULTURAL & PROCESSED PRODUCTS EXPORT DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY (APEDA):

MEASURES TAKEN BY DEPARTMENT TO FACILITATE PREFERENTIAL EXPORTS IN
THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

In the wake of the lockdown, the agencies authorized to issue the certificates of origin for India’s preferential exports under the free trade agreement (FTAs) are either not functional or are operating with a skeletal staff. In the light of this, Department of Commerce had included some specific FTAs on this digital platform which had facilitated online application  by exporters for these certificates. Trade Notice 1 dated 7.4.2020 has added India’s main FTAs namely those with ASEAN, Japan, SAARC countries and Asia Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA) onto this digital platform. A related Trade Notice 62 dated 6.4.2020 has asked the agencies to issue the digitally signed certificates to the exporters on this platform as also keep a uniform fee for certificates even if they are issued retrospectively. The platform issues digitally signed certificates and we have been successful in getting the trading partners to accept these digitally signed certificates. This would ensure that our preferential exports are facilitated even during this lockdown period.

Most of the exporters to the European Union (EU) avail of the EU Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) Scheme wherein they get tariff preferences on exports. While the EU GSP is on a self certification basis, the exporters have to apply to the prescribed agencies in India for getting a REX (registered exporter) number. In view of the closure of the offices of these agencies, Trade Notice 61 dated 2.4.2020 has prescribed the acceptance of scanned documents for getting the REX number so that the exporter has no physical interface with the agencies. This would ensure that exporters to EU under the EU GSP who have not got the REX number can apply electronically to the agencies (also known as Local Administrators for registration)

FACILITATION BY THE DIRECTOR GENERAL TRADE REMEDIES (DGTR)

Submission of documents in the Trade remedies investigation process has been done online or through digital transmission without having to submit physical copies. This has been enabled for both new investigations and ongoing investigations. Also the hearings and consultations are being carried out through Video conferencing.

The Details on the relaxations can be viewed at :
https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1613365#.XpJoIELAea8.gmail

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