Physical Copy of Key Export Document Mandatory for Shipments to Thailand, Vietnam under FTA



Kirtika Suneja|The Economic Times

NEW DELHI: Exporters sending their shipments to Thailand and Vietnam under a free trade agreement (FTA) will have to submit physical applications to avail of the lower duty benefits.

The government on Friday restored the procedure for issuance of a physical copy of certificates of origin as exporters had expressed difficulties in obtaining preferential access in Thailand and Vietnam based on digitally signed electronic certificates.

In April, the commerce and ministry had allowed exporters to obtain the Certificate of Origin (CoO) online as offices issuing these documents were closed on account of lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The certificate is important to claim duty concessions under FTAs.

These countries had asked for reciprocity so that Indian customs can also accept their exporters’ digital certificates. However, since this facility is not available in India, the government has had to roll back the online certificate facility,” said a trade expert, adding that China too has demanded reciprocity from India under the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement. APTA (formerly known as the Bangkok Agreement) is the only operational trade pact linking India and China. South Korea, Bangladesh, Lao, PDR, and Sri Lanka are also APTA members.

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