Coronavirus Outbreak: Commerce ministry lists steps to support exporters as industry expresses fears of huge job losses

The commerce ministry said that it has provided several relaxations/extensions of various compliance deadlines to address Corona pandemic related hardships of exporters.

Press Trust of India April 12, 2020 07:21:14 IST
Coronavirus Outbreak: Commerce ministry lists steps to support exporters as industry expresses fears of huge job losses

New Delhi: The commerce ministry on Saturday said it has taken several measures to address hardships faced by exporters due to COVID-19 pandemic, a day after an apex exporters body warned of 15 million job losses unless an immediate incentive package is announced by the government.

The commerce ministry said that it has provided several relaxations/extensions of various compliance deadlines to address Corona pandemic related hardships of exporters.

The steps enlisted by the ministry included extensions of foreign trade policy by one year, export obligation under advance authorisation and export promotion capital goods scheme, the validity of registration cum membership certificate, lasts date for filing claims under services and goods export from India schemes, for filing RoSCTL (rebate of state and central taxes and levies) claims, valid period of all status holder certificates, and replenishment scheme for gems and jewellery.

It also said that steps have been taken to facilitate units in special economic zones. For these zones, extensions have been given filing quarterly progress report, annual performance reports, and permission to take desktop/laptop outside SEZs by IT and non IT units.

"In order to give relief to businesses and affected individuals amidst the stress caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic, the department of commerce has introduced several relaxations and extensions in deadlines etc. with regard to compliances mandated under its schemes and activities," the statement said.

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Representational image. Reuters

Further, the Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (ECGC) too has extended the time for filing declarations, report of default, filing claims/replies, reduction in policy proposal processing fee, discretion to decide about shipments and claim eligibility period.

For agri exporters, it said that certification bodies have been advised to extend the validity of organic certificates, and registration of packhouses.

The Tobacco Board has extended the last date for submission of monthly returns by traders, and it has planned to start auctioning off the commodity with effect from April 15 to prevent loss of the crop.

Similarly, it said the Tea Board and the marine products export development authority have taken steps to help exporters.

MPEDA has started issuing most of the certificates for exports online like the DS 2301 certificates for the USA market from this month.

It also said that exporters who want to avail benefits under the EU Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) Scheme, wherein they get a registered exporter number, steps have been taken in this regard.

In view of the closure of the offices of these agencies, the ministry has prescribed the acceptance of scanned documents for getting that number so that the exporter has no physical interface with the agencies.

"This would ensure that exporters to EU under the EU GSP who have not got the REX number can apply electronically to the agencies," it added.

The FIEO on Friday said that 15 million people may face job losses in the export sector following cancellation of orders amidst global lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic and has sought immediate announcement of an incentive package.

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