Exporters continue to face the heat as shipments pile up

Source: The Hindu Business Line, July 19, 2017

New Delhi: Three weeks after the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime, exporters are still struggling to get their consignments shipped as customs officials are yet not clear on how to interpret the new rules.

Exporters have complained to the Vanaja N Sarna, Chairperson, Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC), of the harassment they have been facing and are hoping for a solution soon.

“Consignments are getting stuck as officials are interpreting the custom notification on accepting existing bonds and undertakings from exporters any way they want. They are getting away with it as the Board has not prescribed a timeline under which it has to be accepted,” said Ajay Sahai, DG, FIEO.

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Commerce ministry to set up 4 new centres on trade, investment issues

Source: Business Standard, July 17, 2017

New Delhi: The commerce ministry on Monday said it is setting up four new centres to develop expertise for handling contemporary and future international trade related issue.Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that approval has been given to the proposal to set up four additional centres – Centre for Trade and Investment Law; Centre for Regional Trade; Centre for Trade-Related Capacity Building; and Centre for Trade Promotion.

“These centres are being formed to widen scope to better handle contemporary and future requirements like international trade law, regional studies, trade promotion and capacity building,” she said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

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Govt looks to create 3-4 SBI-sized banks as it mulls PSB consolidation

Source: Business Standard, July 16, 2017

New Delhi: The government is working on a consolidation agenda with a view to creating 3-4 global-sized banks and reduce the number of state-owned lenders to about 12, an official said.

The 21 public sector banks would get consolidated to 10- 12 in the medium term, the official said.As part of a three-tier structure, the official said, there would be at least 3-4 banks of the size of SBI, the country’s largest lender.

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India’s services exports flat at $13.5 billion in May, imports up 4 per cent

Source: The Economic Times, July 15, 2017

NEW DELHI: India’s exports growth slowed to a four-month low in June while heavy buying of gold lifted imports, causing a sharp spike in trade deficit from a year earlier, though the gap narrowed from the previous month.

Exports grew 4.39 per cent to $23.5 billion, while imports rose faster at 19 per cent to $36.5 billion, data from the commerce department showed, leaving a trade gap of about $12.9 billion in June, compared with $8.1 billion in the year-earlier period and $13.84 billion in May.

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India to import crude oil from US for first time

Source: The Hindu Business Line, July 10, 2017

New Delhi/Singapore: India, the world’s third-largest oil importer, will import crude oil from the United States for the first time after Indian Oil Corp bought a cargo that will be delivered in October. The purchase comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US in June when President Donald Trump said his country looked forward to exporting more energy products to India.

IOC bought 1.6 million barrels of US Mars crude, a heavy, high-sulphur grade, and 400,000 barrels of Western Canadian Select that will be delivered onboard a Very Large Crude Carrier, IOC’s head of finance, A K Sharma, told Reuters.

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RCEP pact: 700 officials from 16 nations to meet in Hyderabad

Source: The Economic Times, June 28, 2017

NEW DELHI: About 700 officials from 16 countries including India, China and Australia would gather in Hyderabad next month to negotiate the proposed mega trade deal – RCEP.

This would be the 19th round of negotiations for Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement. The last meeting was held in the Philippines in May.

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SEZs keen on FTA rates, commerce ministry working on proposal

Source: The Economic Times, June 25, 2017

NEW DELHI: The commerce ministry is working on a proposal to allow special economic zone (SEZ) units to sell products outside these tax-free enclaves at concessional duty rates. An SEZ area is considered to be a foreign territory for trade operations and duties and are mainly set up for the export purpose.

However, goods can be supplied from an SEZ unit to a DTA (domestic tariff area or outside SEZ) buyer on payment of appropriate Customs duty as products coming from these zones are treated as imports into the country. The SEZ players have demanded that they be allowed to sell their goods in DTA on same terms as applicable under free trade agreements (FTAs) signed by India with different countries.
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