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Thursday, Dec 12, 2002

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`Continuation of DEPB under review'

Our Bureau

Surprise visitor, Mr Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, trying to make a point that he was at the right place to hear out the Minister for Commerce and Industry, Mr Arun Shourie, during the latter's interaction with EPCs/commodity boards in the Capital on Wednesday.

NEW DELHI, Dec. 11

THE Commerce and Industry minister, Mr Arun Shourie, on Wednesday promised that the exporters' demands for continuation of the duty entitlement pass book (DEPB) scheme would be examined and given due consideration in consultation with the concerned departments.

He indicated that the Commerce Department might press for the continuation of DEPB.

In his first interaction with representatives from the commodity boards and export promotion councils in the run-up to the Budget and the Exim Policy, Mr Shourie agreed with the exporters' views on DEPB being "WTO compatible" as it was merely a duty neutralisation scheme and not an incentive.

He also proposed the setting up of an "implementation cell" in the Commerce Ministry to ensure speedy implementation of policies that are being announced, The Minister assured exporters that notifications would, henceforth, be issued simultaneously with the Exim Policy in order to minimise the scope of further interpretations and also to speed up policy implementation.

Further, Mr Shourie also assured exporters that their demands for continuation of Section 10A and Section 10B benefits would be conveyed to the Finance Ministry. He urged them to come forward with a new thinking on export strategies.

The Commerce Ministry also intends to come out with draft notification of any policy amendments so as to minimise the possibility of mis-interpretations by the other Ministries.

Later addressing a press conference, Mr R. Veeramani, President of Confederation of Export Units (CEU), stressed the need for continuation of Section 10A and Section 10B benefits in the entire period for which the tax holidays were announced.

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