The commerce ministry has initiated inter-ministerial consultation to amend the SEZ Act to revive special economic zones and bring in a flexible framework for the sale of products manufactured in these zones in the domestic market, easy de-notification norms and streamlining approval processes for units.
Officials said the aim is to help revive SEZs and facilitate business transactions between SEZs and domestic tariff area (DTA) or the domestic market. SEZs are enclosures which are treated as foreign territories for trade and customs duties, with restrictions on duty-free sales outside these zones in the domestic market.
This amendment bill will be introduced in place of the proposed Development of Enterprise and Service Hubs (DESH) bill, the official said.
“The amendment bill is aimed to help revive SEZs and facilitate business transactions between SEZ and DTA. It proposes to allow sales from SEZ to DTA on duty foregone basis; permitting partial de-notification of zones; easier notification norms; streamlining of approval for SEZs units,” the official added.
To seek the views of different ministries on these measures, the commerce ministry has circulated a note on a draft SEZ (special economic zone) Amendment Bill 2023.
The inter-ministerial consultation is going at a fast pace and the bill is likely to be introduced in the forthcoming winter session of Parliament which will commence on December 4 and continue till December 22.
Recently, commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal said the government is looking at easing certain restrictions for units in SEZs to promote the sector’s growth.
Think tank Global Trade Research Initiative (GTRI) in a report has suggested the government allow the sale of products manufactured in SEZs in the domestic market on payment of duty foregone on inputs as that would help promote value addition.
At present, units in SEZs are allowed to sell their products in DTA on payment of duties on an output basis (finished goods).