India’s Special Economic Zone Exports Increased By 4% To USD 163.69 Bn in 2023–2024

Special economic zones’ (SEZs’) exports increased by more than 4% to USD 163.69 billion in 2023–2024, despite a more than 3% decline in the nation’s overall shipments during the previous fiscal year.

The commerce ministry’s statistics indicate that the exports from these zones were valued at USD 133 billion in 2021–22 and USD 157.24 billion in 2022–23.

SEZs are important export centers; in the most recent fiscal year, they accounted for more than one-third of all export shipments from the nation.

SEZs are enclosures that are subject to limits on duty-free sales outside of them in the domestic market and are recognized as foreign territories for the purposes of trade and customs duties.

The government has authorized up to 423 of these zones, of which 280 were operating as of March 31 of the current year. Up to December 31, 2023, 5,711 units are permitted in these zones.

Additionally, the data indicated that as of December 31, 2023, these zones had received investments totaling over Rs 6.92 lakh crore, and 30.70 lakh people were employed there.

The US, UK, Australia, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates are the main export markets.

The government is thinking of a number of initiatives to support these zones, including expediting unit approval procedures and creating a flexible framework for the domestic sale of goods produced in SEZs.

In a paper, the think tank Global Trade Research Initiative (GTRI) recommended that, in order to encourage value addition, the government permit the sale of goods made in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) on the domestic market in exchange for input tariff waivers.

Units inside Special Economic Zones (SEZs) are now permitted to sell their goods in DTAs after paying tariffs based on production (finished goods).

The main source of funding for SEZs established under the SEZ Act of 2005 and the SEZ Regulation of 2006 is private investment. Since the SEZ Act of 2005 was passed, the nation has not had a single SEZ established by the Center.

The states of Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala, and Uttar Pradesh have the most number of SEZs in operation.

In 2023–2024, the nation’s goods exports fell by 3.11 percent to USD 437 billion. Additionally, imports fell by more than 8% to USD 677.24 billion.

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