India has urged the countries, with which it has free trade agreements (FTAs), to allow imports of goods without a certificate of origin for the time being as the domestic authorities are currently not issuing the document on account of lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic.
An exporter has to submit a certificate of origin at the landing port of the importing country.
The document is important to claim duty concessions under FTAs. The certificate is essential to prove where the goods come from. It also helps in checking dumping of cheap and sub-standard goods from a third country.
On account of lockdown/curfew in India due to Covid-19 pandemic, the Indian agencies authorised to issue the certificate of origin under India's free trade agreements (FTAs), comprehensive economic cooperation agreements (CECA), comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) and preferential trade agreements (PTAs) are temporarily "closed" and unable to issue the certificate of origin, according to a trade notice by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade.
"In view of these exceptional circumstances, the certificates would be issued retrospectively by the concerned Indian agencies after they open their offices. "Therefore, in the interim period, the customs authorities and other competent authorities in the trading partners with whom India has a trade agreement may kindly allow the eligible imports under preferences on a retrospective basis subject to the subsequent production of the certificates of origin by the Indian exporters," it has said.
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The notice said that India would also honour its preferential trade agreement imports, subject to the respective governments also making a formal request or putting up a notice in this regard for accepting these certificates on a retrospective basis.
Under these trade agreements, two or more trading partners significantly reduce or eliminate import duties on the maximum number of goods traded between them.India has implemented such agreements with ASEAN, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Malaysia, among others.