SEZ, foreign trade rules to be made GST-compliant

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The government may have to take up necessary actions to bring suitable legislative changes relating to special economic zones (SEZs) and foreign trade agreements (FTAs) to make them consistent and compliant with the goods and services tax (GST) regime, commerce secretary Rita Teaotia said on Friday.

“We need to look at our own legislation. SEZ and FTA will require suitable legislative changes to be consistent and compliant with the GST Bill,” Teaotia said at an event, ‘Emerging Contours of Global Trade’, organised by industry body CII.

According to her, the Centre would also have to modify schemes of the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) to make them consistent with the GST regime. “Many of the schemes of DGFT are required to be moderated and modified in order to be compliant with the GST regime,” she averred.

The new indirect tax regime is expected to raise the country’s GDP growth by 1-1.5 per cent per annum, she said.

On the kind of legislative changes her ministry is looking at, the commerce secretary said, “There are references in the legislation to excise tax and other duties. We are going to look at wherever any of the taxation structure is referred to and procedural parts in the SEZ Act are referred to. We need to see that they are consistent with the GST regime. So, that is the exercise.”

Teaotia informed that the government’s legal experts were already evaluating the various aspects in the draft legislation.

“We would not freeze it (current exercise) till the GST Act is final, because it is got to be based on that. Nevertheless, the spadework is going on right now,” she said.

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