The government has incorporated duty-free import entitlements for select employment generating sectors such as handlooms, handicrafts and leather through customs notifications, in the existing Foreign Trade Policy (2015-20).
It has, however, said the entitlements will be restricted to only customs duty with effect from July 1 2017, to align it with the GST regime.
“The Commerce Ministry has re-introduced the duty-free import entitlement of sector-specific inputs which were available in the FTP (2009-14) in the current FTP (2015-20) as well. This was already available to exporters through customs notifications. However, it has been clarified that only basic customs duty would be exempted with effect from July 1 2017, when the GST was implemented,” a government official pointed out.
The duty-free import entitlements provide a substantial relief to the chosen sectors — handlooms, handicrafts, leather, sports goods, toys and marine.
“Duty-free import entitlement is an important incentive scheme for exporters. Incorporating it in the Foreign Trade Policy (2015-20) was required as it completes the picture of all benefits available to specific sectors,” the official said.
Exports from labour-intensive sectors such as handlooms, handicrafts, gems and jewellery, ready-made garments and marine have all taken a hit over the last few months.