Partial revival of export sops cheers spice traders

Kochi: The Centre has partially restored the merchandise export of India scheme (MEIS) incentive much to the relief of the spice exporters of the country, whose margins were hit after its discontinuance from August.

“They have decided to extend it till December 31. We hope to get the pending amounts from August,’’ said Rajiv Palicha, chairman of All India Spices Exporters Forum, adding that the decision came last weekend. The spices industry suffered about 30-40 per cent drop in export in the last few months following the sudden withdrawal of MEIS.

India exports around Rs 18,000 crore worth of spices every year. When contacted, Spices Board secretary D Sathyan also confirmed the news. MEIS was introduced in 2015 to help spices exporters earn duty credits ranging from 2-7 per cent. Rewards under the scheme are payable as percentage of realised free-onboard value and MEIS duty scrips can be transferred or used for payment of a number of duties including basic customs duty.

“In the last four months we have shipped without incentives as we are committed to send consignments at rates fixed earlier, suffering a loss in the process,’’ said U Karthik, partner of Asian Spices.

The decision to discontinue MEIS by director general of foreign trade from August 1was sudden and took the industry by surprise. Both the Spices Board and the exporters had taken up the matter with the commerce ministry saying that the decision eroded India’s competitiveness in the international market.
Now they are again facing an uncertainty. “We don’t know whether the incentive scheme will be continued next year,’’ Palicha said.