New SEZ App to Benefit Importers, Exporters

Posted by Reading Time: 4 minutes

By Dezan Shira & Associates 

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) launched a mobile app called SEZ India under the government’s e-governance initiative. The app provides detailed information about the country’s special economic zones (SEZ), including information on regulations and trade policies.

In addition, the app acts as an integrated tool to facilitate speedy processing of various transactions for the SEZ developers and units.

The SEZ app is available on the Android platform and has gained more than 5,000 downloads since its release several weeks ago. Foreign investors with an interest in SEZ operations should explore the app to assess whether it can help streamline aspects of their business.

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SEZ app features

The app features four main sections: SEZ Information, SEZ Online Transaction, Trade Information, and Contact Details.

SEZ Information provides detailed information about approved SEZs, the SEZ Act, associated regulations, and MOCI circulars.

Trade Information provides details of the foreign trade policy, import and export schemes, excise and customs circulars, and Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) rates. The section also includes a tool to calculate the imposed duties.

Contact Details includes contact information for authorities involved in regulatory and trade approvals, such as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Commerce Ministry, Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), and the SEZ Development Commissioners Office.

SEZ Online Transactions allow users to track the Bill of Entry and Shipping Bill processing status in the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) system of the Indian Customs and Central Excise Electronic Commerce/Electronic Data interchange Gateway (ICEGATE). ICEGATE, part of Customs and Central Excise Department, is a portal that provides e-filing services for the trade and cargo carriers.

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Benefits for your business

The app will help businesspeople find information about approved SEZs and associates trade policies, which is often difficult for first-time India investors.

Businesses can also use the app to track their transactions on the SEZ Online system, which the Commerce Ministry created to enable SEZ developers and units to conduct transactions to pay their registration charges, procurement reports, Bill of Entry and Shipping Bill charges as well as make electronic filings.

Importers and exporters can also use the SEZ Online Transaction section to track their Bill of Entry and Shipping Bill status as well as conduct the verification process through QR code scanner provided by the app.

A part of larger e-governance initiative

The government has produced similar tools for merchants, traders, and citizens that allow government services to be conducted through electronic mediums. Some of the apps developed under the initiative include Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) for cashless payments, DigiLocker for storing and electronic signing of government issued documents, eTaal for access to e-Transactions taking place under e-Governance applications as well as Aadhaar Payment for merchants. Potential investors and India-based businesspeople should review these tools to understand whether they can help their business.

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