The government has launched a steel import monitoring system (SIMS) to provide advance information about steel imports to various stakeholders including producers and importers to have effective policy interventions on 16 September.
Details about the Steel import monitoring system
- The SIMS system has been developed in consultation with Ministry of Steel on the pattern of US Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis (SIMA) system.
The Minister also launched a Common Digital Platform for Issuance of Electronic Certificates of Origin
- It is not a licensing system, but merely a tool to capture information about steel imports.
- Importers of specified steel products will have to register in advance on the web portal of SIMS
- The registration will be online and automatic will require no human intervention.
- The importer will have to apply for registration from the 60th day to the 15th day before the expected date of arrival of import consignment.
- The automatic registration number granted will remain valid for 75 days.
- The information about the steel imports provided by importers on the SIMS will be monitored by the Steel Ministry.
- SIMS will require importers to submit advance information in an online system for import of 284 steel tariff lines at 8-digit HS code in order to obtain an automatic registration number by paying a prescribed registration fee.
Details about the digital platform
What Is a Certificate of Origin (CO)? ● A certificate of origin (CO) is a document declaring in which country a commodity or good was manufactured. ● The certificate of origin contains information regarding the product, its destination, and the country of export. ● Required by many treaty agreements for cross-border trade, the CO is an important form because it can help determine whether certain goods are eligible for import, or whether goods are subject to duties.
- 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 the issuance of electronic preferential Certificate of origin 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.
- This platform will be a single access point for all exporters, for all FTAs/PTAs and for all agencies concerned.
- Certificate of Origin will be issued electronically which can be in the 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 benefits of this platform will be:
Changes due to the new digital platform
- The issuance process is electronic, paperless and transparent
- Real-time tracking of FTA utilization at the product level, country-level, etc.
- Electronic Certificate of Origin issued
- Possible to electronically exchange CoO with the partner countries
- Reduces transaction cost and time for the exporters
Current existing practices
- The current process requires the exporter to visit the agency thrice for each certificate
- Real-time tracking is not possible as data is fragmented across various agencies
- Physical Certificates of Origin issued
- Electronic exchange of CoOs not possible
- Current processes take more time and cost
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- Exporters may register on this platform and apply for Certificates of origin to any of the designated agencies.
- The platform will be made a life for FTAs in a phased manner as per the concurrence of the concerned partner countries.
- Further, once the partner countries agree to electronic data exchange, the Certificates of origin 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 Free Trade Agreements (FTAs)/ Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs) with various partner countries under which Indian exporters avail reduced import tariffs in the destination country.
- 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.