Rules may be eased to help e-commerce companies boost exports

Source: The Economic Times, July 23, 2017

NEW DELHI: To enable homegrown ecommerce players such Myntra, Snapdeal and a host of handicraft and garment platforms to expand their global footprint, India is looking to revamp the export framework governing overseas sales by them. The measures under consideration include a complete switchover to e-enabled filing systems and even doing away with the current cap of Rs 25,000 on a purchase.

“A number of steps have been identified to make it easier for the ecommerce sector to trade,” said a senior finance ministry official. A pilot has already been launched in Mumbai and will be expanded to other customs ports. Exports via these online marketplaces rely on couriers and small packages and often involves a lot of paperwork at the ports. Essentially, these couriers act as aggregators for ecommerce platforms.

So, one courier may have to deal with multiple packages but of small value unlike large exporters. The paperwork for each package has to be done separately. They may be allowed to make a single submission for all their packages, which will speed up trade. “The idea is to simplify the process and take it online,” the official said, adding that the cap of Rs 25,000 per package may be substantially enhanced or even removed.

“It would be done shortly.” The restriction is applicable on goods sent through courier companies which have lobbied the governement on these issues. These are currently sent out as samples and products from some sectors such as handloom and garment sectors. They are eligible for export incentives as well under the commerce and industry ministry. The revamp is part of the National Action Plan for Trade Facilitation adopted by the country. The plan was released by finance minister Arun Jaitley on July 20.

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