India extends disputed export incentive scheme

March 31st, 2008 - 8:42 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, March 31 (IANS) A popular export incentive scheme in India, challenged at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), has been given another extension, as the commerce ministry is yet to finalise an alternative mechanism, officials said. The tax refund incentive, called Duty Entitlement Passbook (DEPB) scheme, was about to expire Monday. It had come under severe criticism from the World Trade Organisation (WTO) that called it an export subsidy given by the government.

“The DEPB Scheme has been extended till further orders,” said an official statement by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade of the Commerce and Industry ministry.

The DEPB scheme allows exporters to get a refund of the government duties that they have to pay on import of inputs.

“This has been extended as the government had not been able to formulate any alternative arrangement. It may not be removed for about year now,” a senior ministry official told IANS.

The actual tenure of continuation might be taken up in the next meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), the official said.

Mukhtarul Amin, chairman, council for leather exports, said: “This is a good scheme and it should stay as it encourages exports and make our items globally more competitive.”

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