On 20th February, Nasscom made a representation to the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) on Trade Notice 47/2019-20 dated 29 Jan 2020 wherein DGFT solicited import data from industry relating to goods imported under the ‘Others’ category alongwith suggestions on creation of new specific Harmonized System of Nomenclature (HSN) codes for such goods.
Based on member inputs, Nasscom in its representation emphasised that the intention behind using ‘Others’ category by many IT companies is not to misuse the ‘Others’ category, and that many products imported by the IT industry are technical in nature with no appropriate HS codes, necessitating the use of the ‘Others’ category. Further, suggestion of new HSN codes is a time-consuming exercise which requires deliberation with classification experts, product engineers, manufacturing teams, etc. Especially for global players, this would require collaborating with different teams spread across different time zones to arrive at new HSN codes based on their experiences in other jurisdictions. Therefore, we have requested DGFT to extend the deadline for submitting inputs till 30 April, 2020 on grounds that the 18-day window provided in Trade Notice 47 is not sufficient.
While our primary request from DGFT is extension of deadline to submit inputs, we have also highlighted the following aspects in our recommendations:
- The dominant view is to move to a 10-digit HSN code classification system from the existing 8-digit classification system used in India. This would allow the government to create additional specific categories for goods which are currently imported under ‘Others’ category. We recognise the difficulty in evolving a 10 digit classification system tailored to the Indian context immediately, but this would be a lasting solution.
- Creation of specific HSN codes within the existing 8-digit classification system for goods currently imported under ‘Others’ category. If this is done, the industry should be given adequate time to comply with any new HSN codes promulgated by the government.
- If the intention of the government is to place restrictions on items (import of which may be freely done currently) under the ‘Others’ category, the government should consider constituting an expert committee to look into this aspect and discuss with industry representatives prior to changing the status of any ‘Others’ category item from free to restricted.
- The DGFT may consider continuing to allow certain imports under the ‘Others’ category in cases where there is no specific HSN code at 8-digit level for such goods. This is due to the difficulty in proposing specific HSN codes for all categories of goods which are currently being imported under ‘Others’ category. In such a case, importers should ensure that complete facts are submitted at the time of filing Bill of Entry and the product /generic name of the product being imported is specified in the “Description” field of the Bill of Entry.