The commerce ministry is working on a new World Trade Organisation (WTO)-compliant export incentive scheme for merchandise shipments to replace the existing MEIS, an official said.
Currently, exporters of goods avail incentives under the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS). In this, the government provides duty benefits depending on product and country. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had recently indicated that new efforts and framework are getting prepared to motivate the exporters.
“The work is going on for the drafting of the new scheme, which will replace the existing MEIS. It will be finalised soon. It could be named as a rebate of levies,” the official said.
The WTO is a Geneva-based 164 member body which frames rules and norms for global exports and imports. India is a member of this multi-lateral body since January 1, 1995.
The formulation of the new export incentive scheme also assumes significance as the US has dragged India to the WTO’s dispute settlement mechanism over export subsidies, saying that these incentives were harming American companies.
The US has challenged India’s export subsidy programmes such as MEIS in the WTO, asserting that these initiatives harm its companies by creating an uneven playing field.
Other export benefit programmes including Export Oriented Units Scheme, Electronics Hardware Technology Parks Scheme; Special Economic Zones; Export Promotion Capital Goods Scheme; and duty-free imports have been challenged by the US.
According to the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), the new scheme should include a refund of indirect taxes like on oil and power; state levies such as ‘mandi’ tax and embedded tax.