Special Correspondent

Latin American, African countries covered

Aim of the scheme is to offset high freight costDiamonds, precious stones not eligible for Focus Market benefits

CHENNAI: The Directorate-General of Foreign trade (DGFT) on Tuesday notified eight Latin American countries and 49 countries in Africa for coverage under the Focus Market scheme introduced in the foreign trade policy in April.

The Focus Market scheme, along with the Focus Product scheme, replaces the Target Plus scheme in operation in the recent past. Exports of all products to the notified countries will be entitled to duty credit scrip equivalent to 2.5 per cent of the f.o.b value of exports for each licensing year, commencing from April 1, 2006. The scrip and the items imported against it will be freely transferable.

Exports of SEZ/EOU/STPI/EHTP units and deemed exports and service exports, diamonds and other precious and semi-precious stones, gold, silver, platinum and other precious metals in any form, including plain and studded jewellery, cereals, sugar and crude and petroleum products and ores and concentrates are among products which are not eligible for Focus Market benefits.

The objective of the scheme is to offset the high freight cost and other disabilities faced by exporters to the notified countries.

African countries have been included in large numbers, contrary to earlier official indications that only the Latin American region would be covered by the scheme.

Exporters have to choose either the Focus Product scheme or the Focus Market scheme or the Vishesh Krishi and Gram Udyog Yojana in respect of the same products.

Second hand capital goods

The DGFT issued another notification on Wednesday, amending the liberal foreign trade policy provision relating to import of second hand capital goods without restriction on age under the EPCG (export promotion capital goods) scheme. It has stipulated that import of motor cars and sports utility vehicles/all purpose vehicles will be allowed only to hotels, travel agents, tour operators or tour transport operators and companies owning/operating golf resorts, subject to specified conditions mentioned under the notification.

Parts of motor cars such as chassis cannot be imported under the EPCG scheme.