EXIM POLICY 1997-2000

The objectives and salient features of EXIM policy 1997-2000
1. To accelerate the country’ s transition to a globally oriented vibrant economy with a view to derive maximum benefits from expanding global market opportunities
2. To stimulate sustained economic growth by providing access to essential raw materials intermediates, components, consumables and capital goods required for augmenting production
3. To enhance the technological strength and efficiency of Indian agriculture, industry and services, thereby improving their competitive strength while generating new employment opportunities, and encourage the attainment of internationally accepted standards of quality.
4. To provide consumers with good quality products at reasonable prices.

Measures announced in the annual EXIM Policy:
1. Removal of Quantitative restrictions. Import of 894 items made license free and another 414 items can be imported against Special Import License.
2. Incorporation of a new chapter on policy to boost export of services.
3. Free Trade Zones (FTZ) to replace export processing zones and these are to be treated as outside the country’s customs territory.
4. Duty Exemption Scheme has been made more flexible. Annual Advance License system introduced to take care of the entire Import needs of exporters. Other facilities include issuance of license, where norms are not fixed, on the basis of self certification.
5. Zero Duty export promotion capital goods scheme (EPCG) with lower threshold limit of Rs 1 crore extended to chemicals and textiles.
6. Institution of Ombudsman for faster resolution of exporters’ problems.
7. Green card for exporters exporting 50 percent of their production. Green card will entitle them to various facilities announced by the Government from time to time.
8. No additional customs duty on import of capital goods under zero duty.
9. EPCG scheme in marine and software sectors.
10. Duty free import of consumables up to certain limits for gems and jewelry, handicrafts and leather sectors.
11. Value addition for rupee exports to Russia reduced from 100 percent to 33 percent.
12. Extension of the period for fulfillment of past export obligations in respect of advance license and EPCG schemes.
13. Entitlement of domestic tariff area sales for Export Oriented Units.
14. (EOUs) and EPZs increased to 50% of fob value of previous year.
15. Net foreign exchange earnings as a percentage of exports made uniform at 20% for both EOUs and EPZs.
16. Golden status certificate for Export and Trading Houses, which means that an exporter, who has been a status holder for three terms, will acquire this status permanently.
17. Pre-export Duty Entitlement Pass Book Scheme (DEPB) credit entitlement increased from 5 to 10 per cent of previous year’s performance.
18. New thrust for jewelry and studded jewelry sector through various relaxations like permission for import of jewelry for re-export after repairs/ remaking, export of jewelry through courier, personal carriage of jewelry and incorporation of a new concept of “diamond imprest licence”.
19. Import of second hand goods of all kinds have been restricted and import of second hand capital goods under the EPCG scheme disallowed with the objective to provide level playing field to the domestic capital goods industry in light of the recent slowdown.
Other Measures
1. Fresh Duty drawback rates announced w.e.f. 1 June , 1999. The new rates, which incorporate changes in customs duty and inclusion of surcharge, imply a rate hike for 155 items, rationalisation of rates for 489 items and maintainence of existing rates on 193 items.
2. The facility for prepayment of external commercial borrowings up to 10 percent of the outstanding and a doubling of the eligibility to borrow for exporters (and long term borrowers) from $100 million to $ 200 million has been restored.
3. To encourage trade with SAARC countries, wide ranging concessions on preferential basis In customs duties on imports from these countries have been effected by the Ministry of Finance.
4. In order to reduce financing cost of imports and to provide credit at reasonable terms, the monetary and credit policy announced by the RBI in October, 1999, has withdrawn the interest rate surcharge of 30% on import finance. Also, the maximum interest rate of 20 per cent on overdue export bills has been withdrawn.

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