Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal and his junior colleague Hardeep Singh Puri on Monday launched a common digital platform for the issuance of electronic certificates of origin (CoOs).
"The platform will be a single access point for all free trade agreements (FTAs) and preferential trade agreements (PTAs). The CoO will be issued electronically, which can be in the paperless format if agreed to by the partner countries," said Goyal.
Authorities of partner countries will be able to verify the authenticity of certificates from the website. Further, it provides administrative access to the Department of Commerce for reporting and monitoring purposes.
Goyal said exporters may register on this platform and apply for CoOs to any of the designated agencies. The Export Inspection Council (EIC) and its agencies are already on-boarded. Other agencies are in the process of registering on the platform.
The on-boarding process is only for the purposes of payment integration so that the application fees may flow to the respective agencies. The platform will be made live for FTAs in a phased manner as per the concurrence of the concerned partner countries. Various territorial divisions have already informed their partner countries.
"We are scheduled to start with the India-Chile PTA," said Goyal. "Once the partner countries agree to electronic data exchange, the CoOs will be electronically sent to the customs of the partner countries. After this, there will not be any need for physical CoO copy, saving transaction cost and time for the Indian exporters."
India has 15 FTAs and PTAs with various partner countries under which Indian exporters avail reduced import tariffs in the destination country. To avail of this benefit, the exporters must provide a preferential CoO.
About 7 lakh certificates are issued annually by designated agencies. These verticals certify that exported goods are made in India. These certificates are issued by designated agencies in India after vetting of the rules of origin criteria as per the respective FTA/PTA.
Some designated agencies for CoO issuance are EIC, Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), the Textile Committee and the Tobacco Board.
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