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Sop call for exports via e-commerce

New Delhi, Aug. 24: Exporters using the e-commerce route have pitched for sops that are available to their peers using conventional transport.

The e-commerce players hope such benefits will be a part of the Narendra Modi-government’s foreign trade policy for 2014-19 to be announced early next month.

“At present, exporters exporting through e-commerce are not entitled to any export benefits as it is not recognised as exports. It is suggested that the shipping bill for e-commerce transaction may be simplified to give boost to this sector and e-commerce shipments may be made entitled for all export benefits,” Rafeeq Ahmed, president of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (Fieo), said.

E-commerce has emerged as an important marketing tool for micro and small exporters. Transactions have touched the $1-trillion mark globally; in India, it has crossed $2 billion in 2014. Portals such as Alibaba provide a marketing avenue for exporters, and the linked payment gateway ensures risk-free payment.

The foreign trade policy is also expected to announce measures to boost the export of services and value-added diversified products. Besides, steps will be taken to increase shipments to new markets.

The country’s manufacturing activity contracted 0.7 per cent in 2013-14, the first time since 1991-92, dragging overall economic growth down to below 5 per cent for the second consecutive year.

Reviving manufacturing is the biggest challenge for the government as high inflation has made loans costly, impacting investments and demand.

All export and import-related activities are governed by the foreign trade policy. It mainly aims at enhancing the country’s exports to make it an effective instrument of growth and employment generation.

EEPC India chairman Anupam Shah said the government should extend the technology upgradation fund scheme to the engineering sector.

The trade policy will be designed to produce value-added diversified products and make inroads into new markets such as the Commonwealth of Independent States, East and West Asia and Latin America.

To ensure that all service exporters benefit from the “served from India scheme”, the commerce ministry is looking at allowing import duty exemption scrips (given as incentive under the scheme) to be sold in the market, or used to pay service tax, officials said. This will benefit service exporters who do not import any inputs, preventing them from using the scrips.

Under the scheme, exporters are entitled to import duty exemption scrips worth 10 per cent of the exported value. Only exporters with a minimum foreign exchange earning of Rs 10 lakh can avail themselves of the facility.

 
 
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