Date : 22-May-2020
Subject : Physical copy of key export document mandatory for shipments to Thailand, Vietnam under FTA
NEW DELHI: Exporters sending their shipments to Thailand and Vietnam under a free trade agreement (FTA) will have to submit physical applications to avail the lower duty benefits.
The government on Friday restored the procedure for issuance of physical copy of certificates of origin as exporters had expressed difficulties in obtaining preferential access in Thailand and Vietnam based on digitally signed electronic certificates.
In April, the commerce and ministry had allowed exporters to obtain the Certificate of Origin (CoO) online as offices issuing these documents were closed on account of lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The certificate is important to claim duty concessions under FTAs.
“The CoO applications under ASEAN-India FTA for exports to Thailand and Vietnam should now be submitted manually by the exporters to the offices of the designated issuing agencies i.e. EIA, MPEDA and Textile Committee,” Directorate General of Foreign Trade said in a trade notice.
An exporter has to submit the certificate at the landing port of the importing country.
“These countries had asked for reciprocity so that Indian customs can also accept their exporters’ digital certificates. However, since this facility is not available in India, the government has had to roll back the online certificate facility,” said a trade expert, adding that China too has demanded reciprocity from India under the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement. APTA (formerly known as the Bangkok Agreement) is the only operational trade pact linking India and China. South Korea, Bangladesh, Lao PDR and Sri Lanka are also APTA members.
The e-platform will not accept CoO applications submitted for exports destined to Thailand and Vietnam, DGFT said.
However, it shall continue to accept and process CoO applications for export to other countries under ASEAN-India FTA, it added.
“These agencies (EIA, MPEDA and Textile Committee) will henceforth issue the Certificate of Origin in physical paper format as was being done before...for Thailand and Vietnam, till further notice,” DGFT said.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-India trade in goods agreement was signed on August 13, 2009, and became effective from January 1, 2010.
Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Brunei, Myanmar, and Laos are the member countries of Asean.
Source: economictimes.indiatimes.com

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