The government has notified a list of 57 countries in Africa and South America that would get duty benefits under the Focus Market scheme, announced in the Foreign Trade Policy early this year, to boost exports.
The list includes eight countries in South America and 49 countries in Africa but excludes some of the bigger countries like Brazil, South Africa and Sudan. The Latin American countries to get benefits are -- Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela -- as per a notification by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade. However, Brazil, Colombia, Surinam and Guyana have been excluded from the scheme.
In Africa, exports to 49 countries would get benefits. The list includes countries like Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Libya, Senegal, Mauritius and Zimbabwe, but excludes bigger African economies such as Sudan, South Africa, Algeria, Egypt, Kenya and Nigeria.
The scheme was a matter of dispute between the finance and commerce Ministries. While the commerce ministry wanted to include both Africa and Latin America, the finance ministry did not want both regions due to additional revenue outgo.
The focus market and focus product were the two new schemes announced by Commerce Minister Kamal Nath during the annual review of the Foreign Trade Policy on April 7.
The two schemes have replaced the Target Plus scheme which has been scrapped.
The focus market scheme is meant to offset high freight cost and other disabilities to enhance the competitiveness of India's exports to these countries. This scheme allows duty credit facility at 2.5 per cent of the free-on-board value of exports of all products to the notified countries.
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