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Exporters seek quicker refund, no GST for merchant traders

NEW DELHI: Exporters have sought a faster refund of duties, exemption from tax payment for merchant exporters and simpler tax compliance for small exporters from the government. 

In a meeting with finance minister Arun Jaitley and chief economic advisor Arvind Subramanian, exporters and industry representatives flagged the issues faced by exporters due to GST. 
The apex body of exporters, Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), pushed for a complete exemption from import charges on inputs used in exports. “Indian exporters are losing out to their competitors from such countries. Ab initio exemption from IGST may be provided against such Advance Authorisation/EPCG and EOU Scheme,” FIEO said in its presentation.
Merchant exporters account for over 30% of country’s exports, who usually work on razor thin margins of 2-4%. The imposition of GST has made their costing haywire, particularly for products having higher GST rate, as they have to pay GST and seek the refund after some time lag, FIEO said as it asked for timely refunds from the government. 
FIEO also asked for the refund of embedded taxes on account of taxation on the products kept out of GST. “The availability of credit and cost of credit are the biggest challenges for the MSMEs, which have become more alarming as money is borrowed for payment of GST on exports,” FIEO president Ganesh Gupta said.
Filing returns are more challenging for small exporters and industry was unanimous on the issue that such exporters be allowed to file returns every quarter though they will pay tax each month. “The minister heard our concerns and said certain issues are still settling down. He said it is too early to say what is the impact of GST as two months is a short period of time,” said an official who attended the meeting. 
Representatives from CII and PHD Chambers, GST Suvidha providers, Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council, Institute of Cost Accountants of India and Institute of Chartered Accountants of India were also present at the meeting. Officials from accounting software provider Tally Solutions and e-commerce major Amazon too attended the stakeholder consultation ahead of the GST Council meeting on October 6. 
India’s exports have remained sluggish even as global trade has picked up the pace. Exports were up 8.57% between April and August as against a 26.63% rise in imports.