Centre likely to relax export norms for networking equipment, information security software

In line with the policy to promote exports of high-tech items, the government is set to liberalise exports of two controlled items with dual-use capabilities – networking equipment and information security software – for certified exporters shipping the items for civilian use following specified standards, sources have said. 

The identified items are part of the the SCOMET (Special Chemicals, Organisms, Materials, Equipment, and Technologies) list of controlled products, which includes dual-use goods with the potential for both civilian applications as well as weapons of mass destruction, whose exports are either prohibited or permitted under authorised licencing.

“In line with the Foreign Trade Policy direction of increasing exports of high-tech products with dual use being sold for civilian purposes, the Centre has decided to liberalise export policy for networking equipment and information security software. The Directorate General of Foreign Trade is giving the final touches to the terms and conditions under which the liberalised exports of the products can take place,” an official tracking the matter told businessline.

Export of both information security software, such as encrypted software, and telecom networking equipment, such as telecom routers, switches, and gateways is likely to get a big boost once the licencing norms are eased, the official said.

“Last year, the SCOMET policy of drones for civilian use was amended to simplify and liberalise the policy for exports. Now the focus is on networking equipment and information security software. The idea is to liberalise exports of as many dual-use items for civilian use as possible to give a push to high-tech exports,” the official stated.

The DGFT is working with the industry, the Ministry of External Affairs, and with Customs to ensure that many sectors are liberalised for those companies which have proven track record of responsible use and responsible exports, DGFT Santosh Sarangi had earlier said.

According to the latest proposal, exporters holding AEO tier 2 certificates (who have the facility of self-sealing export goods without the requirement to seek case-by-case permission from the authority) will be allowed to export the two identified products with just the condition that they would submit details of the exports on a post-export basis every quarter.

“The earlier rule was that every time exporters wanted to export the items (networking equipment and information security software), they had to come and get the SCOMET licence and do it. Now they don’t have to come to the government every time . They can submit details of their exports on a quarterly basis to the SCOMET team which will make a quick assessment of the data and then they will be free to export for another quarter,” the official explained.

The plan of liberalising exports of networking equipment also complements the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for telecom & networking products, launched with a corpus of ₹12,195 crore in February 2021, to boost domestic manufacturing, investments, and export.



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