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Expert panel to examine inverted duty structure

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Apr 8: An Expert Committee is being set up under the Chairmanship of a Member of the Planning Commission to address the crucial issue of inverted duty structure, Commerce Secretary S N Menon said here today.

Addressing a FICCI seminar on the just released Annual Supplement of the Foreign Trade Policy here, the Commerce Secretary said the government was seized of the issue of inverted customs duty structure which makes the going tough for the domestic industry, especially in the wake of signing of various regional Free Trade Agreements. Correction of the inverted duty structure, where the customs duty on raw material is higher than the finished product, is imperative if the FTAs have to be made successful from the point of view of the Indian industry.

Another Expert Committe is being constituted to examine the fiscal issues relating to the gems and jewellery industry. ''The objective, as set out in the Trade Policy, is to make India a trading hub for the gems and jewellery sector'', the Commerce Secretary said.

As regards the Special Economic Zones, Mr Menon said a group of Ministers has been set up to address various issues relating to implementation of the SEZ proposals. Final notifications for clearance of about 76 SEZs would be issued in a day or two. ''The SEZs are dramatically going to change the landscape of the Indian manufacturing'', Mr Menon said.

The government has ruled out any DEPB (Duty Entitlement Pass Book) benefits to the developers and the co-developers of the SEZs. This is because the developers and co-developers have already been given a host of direct and indirect tax benefits.

As it is, the DEPB scheme is going to be phased out within a year, the Commerce Secretary said.

Referring to the delays in the compilation of the export data, Mr Menon warned the exporters that the goverment may have to impose penalty for feeding the incorrect data. The government has detected that as much as 40 per cent of the export data, fed into the system, is incorrect and it takes a lot of labour to correct the data.

UNI

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