New Delhi, Sep 16 : Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and his deputy Hardeep Singh Puri launched Common Digital Platform for Issuance of electronic Certificates of Origin (CoO) here on Monday.
This platform will be a single access point for all exporters, for all Free Trade Agreements (FTAs)/ Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs) and for all agencies concerned. Certificate of Origin will be issued electronically which can be in paperless format if agreed to by the partner countries.
Authorities of the partner countries will be able to verify the authenticity of certificates from the website. Further, it provides administrative access to Department of Commerce for reporting and monitoring purposes.
The issuance process is electronic, paperless and transparent while the current process requires the exporter to visit the agency thrice for each certificate. Now there will be Real-time tracking of FTA utilization at product level, country level etc while earlier Real-time tracking was not possible as data is fragmented across various agencies.
Now the Electronic Certificate of Origin will be issued compared to Physical Certificates of Origin issued earlier.
Now it will be possible to electronically exchange CoO with the partner countries whereas presently Electronic exchange of CoOs was not possible. The new platform reduces transaction cost and time for the exporters while the current processes take more time and cost.
Exporters may register on this platform and apply for CoOs to any of the designated agencies. 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 for 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. Further, once the partner countries agree to an 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/ PTAs with various partner countries under which Indian exporters avail reduced import tariffs in the destination country. In order to avail 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), Textile Committee and Tobacco Board.
At present preferential Certificate of Origin is issued from the various notified agencies around the country through manual processes. A new common digital platform for issuance of electronic preferential CoOs has been conceptualized to address various challenges in the current process. The platform has been designed and developed by DGFT and Regional & Multilateral Trade Relations (RMTR) Division, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India.(UNI)