The EOU scheme was introduced in the year 1980 vide Ministry of Commerce resolution dated 31st December 1980. The purpose of the scheme was basically to boost exports by creating additional production capacity. It was introduced as a complementary scheme to the Free Trade Zones/ Export Processing Zone (EPZ) Scheme introduced in the sixties which had not attracted many units due to locational restrictions. The exporters showed willingness to set up units with long term commitment to exports under Customs bond operations provided they had the freedom to locate them in places of their choice and given most of the benefits as provided to units set up in the Zones.

2. Over the years the Scheme has undergone various changes and its scope also expanded substantially as compared to the initial Scheme, which was basically for manufacturing sector with certain minimum value addition in terms of export earnings. The EOU scheme is, at present, governed by the provisions of Chapter 9 of the Export and Import (EXIM) Policy, 1997-2002 and Chapter 9 of the Handbook of Procedures, Volume-I ( HOP). Under this scheme, the units undertaking to export their entire production of goods are allowed to be set up. These units may be engaged in the manufacture, services, development of software, trading, repair, remaking, reconditioning, re-engineering including making of gold/silver/platinum jewellery and articles thereof, agriculture including agro-processing, aquaculture, animal husbandry, bio-technology, floriculture, horticulture, pisiculture, viticulture, poultry, sericulture and granites. The EOUs can export all products except prohibited items of exports in ITC (HS).

3. Under the EOU scheme, the units are allowed to import or procure locally without payment of duty all types of goods including capital goods, raw materials, components, packing materials, consumables, spares and various other specified categories of equipments including material handling equipments, required for export production or in connection therewith. Even the goods appearing in the restricted list of the EXIM Policy (1997-02) are permitted to be imported. However, the goods prohibited for import are not permitted. In the case of EOUs engaged in agriculture, animal husbandry, floriculture, horticulture, pisciculture, viticulture, poultry, sericulture and granite quarrying, only specified categories of goods mentioned in the relevant notification have been permitted to be imported duty-free.

4. The Customs exemption notifications for import & related Central Excise exemption notification when the goods are procured from local manufacturing units, prescribe several conditions to be fulfilled by the beneficiaries keeping in view the objective of the Scheme and to prevent abuse. Working in Customs Bond is one of the essential prerequisite-there being few exceptions. They also provide various flexibilities in the matter of taking out the materials for jobwork, interunit transfer. The EOUs are required to achieve the minimum NFEP (Net Foreign Exchange Earning as a Percentage of Exports) and the minimum EP (Export Performance) as per the provisions of EXIM Policy. The NFEP and EP varies from sector to sector. As for instance, the units with investment in plant and machinery of Rs.5 crore and above are required to achieve positive NFEP and export US$ 3.5 million or 3 times the CIF value of imported capital goods, whichever is higher, for 5 years. For electronics hardware sector, minimum NFEP has to be ‘positive’ and minimum EP for 5 years is US$ 1 million or 3 times the CIF value of imported capital goods, whichever is higher. NFEP is calculated cumulatively for a period of 5 years from the commencement of commercial production according to a prescribed formula.

5. The EOUs are licensed to manufacture goods within the bonded premises for the purpose of export. As per the policy, the period of bonding is initially for five years, which is extendable to another five years by the Development Commissioner. On completion of the bonding period, it is for the unit to decide whether to continue under, or to opt out, of the scheme. The imported capital goods are allowed to be warehoused for a period of 5 years. For other goods, the warehousing period is one year, which can be extended further by the Commissioner / Chief Commissioner of Customs. On an application being made by the unit, extension of the time limit is granted in all cases unless there is malafide and diversion of duty free materials. As on 31-3-2001, there are about 1350 EOUs functioning in the country.

Monitoring and Administrative Control :

6. The EOUs basically function under the administrative control of the Development Commissioner of the Export Processing Zones, whose jurisdiction has been notified by the Ministry of Commerce. In all, there are seven Development Commissioners at Mumbai, Gandhidham, Chennai, Cochin, Vizag, Noida and Calcutta, who supervise the functioning of the EOUs and eight Export Processing Zones/Special Economic Zones in the country. The Development Commissioners of the EPZs/SEZs are the Licensing Authorities in respect of units under the EOU Scheme, as per specified territorial jurisdiction as indicated in the Export and Import Policy.

7. The provisions of the Customs and Central Excise law in respect of the EOUs are administered by the Commissioners of Customs and Central Excise, who work under the control of Central Board of Excise & Customs. The work relating to EOUs is handled by the staff of jurisdictional Commissioner of Central Excise. However, in the case of EOUs located in port cities/towns or within the municipal limits of port cities/towns, the work is handled by jurisdictional Commissioner of Customs, Seaport. (Reference Board’s Circular Nos. 72/2000-Cus, dated 31-8-2000 and 87/2000-Cus, dated 2-11-2000.)

8. For setting up of an EOU, three copies of the application in the prescribed form are required to be submitted to the Development Commissioner. In certain cases, approval of the Board of Approval (BOA) is required. Applications for setting up of Electronic Hardware Technology Park/Software Technology Park units are submitted to the officer designated by the Ministry of Information Technology for this purpose. After approval of the application and issuance of Letter of Permission, the applicant is required to execute a legal undertaking with the Development Commissioner/Designated Officer concerned within the prescribed time period. On execution of legal undertaking, a green card is issued to the unit.

9. On the policy front, all decisions relating to the EOUs are taken by the Board of Approvals (BOA), set up under the Ministry of Commerce. The BOA is chaired by the Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and includes the Chairman, C.B.E.C. or his nominee as a member. In the case of units engaged in manufacture of electronic hardware and software, the policy decisions are taken by the Inter Ministerial Standing Committee (IMSC) set up under the Ministry of Information Technology and the same are implemented through its Designated Officers. Chairman, C.B.E.C. or his nominee is a member of the IMSC. The availability of any benefit under Customs or Central Excise Acts or the notifications issued thereunder has, however, to be determined by the Commissioner of Customs or Central Excise having jurisdiction-guided by CBEC in areas of doubt. Appropriate inter Ministerial liaison is maintained for ensuring uniformity as far as possible in the Exim Policy provisions and the provisions built in the relevant Customs & Central Excise notifications.

Customs Bonding of EOUs :

10. The premises of EOU are approved as a Customs bonded warehouse under the warehousing provisions of the Customs Act. The manufacturing and other operations are carried out under customs bond and the unit bearing appropriate charges for officers on cost recovery basis. In case of units in Aquaculture, Horticulture, Floriculture, Granite quarrying etc exemption from bonding is given for administrative reasons with certain other safeguards being put in place to check that duty free benefits where availed are not abused. The EOUs are required to execute a multipurpose bond with surety/ security with jurisdictional Customs/ Central Excise officers. (Reference Board’s Circular No. 15/95-Cus, dated 23-2-1995)

Customs and Central Excise Notifications relating to EOU Scheme:

11. To enable EOUs to import / procure locally their requirement of raw materials, capital goods and office equipment etc. duty free, a number of Customs and Central Excise notifications have been issued by the Ministry of Finance. These notifications specify the different categories of items allowed to be imported / procured duty free as well as the conditions thereof. The notifications are as under:

(i) General activity of manufacture, production, packaging of products and service activities for export- Notification Nos. 53/97 Cus dated 3.6.97 and 1/95-CE, dated 4-1-1995.

(ii) Software technology products for export- Notification Nos. 140/91 Cus, dated 22.10.91 and 1/95-CE, dated 4-1-1995.

(iii) Electronic hardware products for export- Notification Nos. 96/93 Cus, dated 2.3.93 and 1/95-CE, dated 4-1-1995.

(iv) Floriculture, Pisciculture etc. for export- Notification Nos. 126/94-Cus dated 3.6.94 and 136/94-CE, dated 23-2-1995.

(v) Aquaculture for export- Notification Nos. 196/94 Cus dated 8.12.94 and 10/95-CE, dated 8-12-1995.

(vi) Gold, silver and jewellery products for export- Notifications No. 277/90-Cus dated 12.12.90.

(vii) Granite quarrying for export– Notification No. 58/2000-Cus, dated 8-5-2000 and 37/2000-CE, dated 8-5-2000.

General Conditions of Duty free Import:

12. The facility of duty free import (extending exemption both from basic & countervailing duty) is subject to certain general conditions in accordance with the EXIM Policy and these are summed up as follows:

(i) The goods are required to be imported into the EOU premises directly. However, Granite Quarrying units, agriculture and allied sector units are allowed to supply /transfer the capital goods and the inputs in the farms/fields with prior permission of Customs.

(ii) Prior to undertaking import / local procurement duty free, the unit is required to get their premises customs bonded. The unit is also required to execute a B-17 bond with surety/ security with jurisdictional Customs/ Central Excise officers and take out a licence under section 58 of the Customs Act, 1962.

(iii) The goods, except capital goods and spares, are required to be utilised within a period of one year or within such period as may be extended by the Customs authorities.

(iv) The importer is required to maintain a proper account of the import, consumption and utilisation of all imported/locally procured materials and exports made and submit them periodically to the Development Commissioner/ Customs.

(v) The importer is required to achieve minimum NFEP/export performance as per the provisions of EXIM Policy.

(vi) The importer is required to abide by the terms and conditions of the Letter of Permission/Letter of Intent /Industrial Licence issued to the unit.

However, the sector specific customs / excise duty exemption notification(s) have certain additional conditions, which are also required to be followed by the units.

B-17 Bond :

13. All the EOUs are required to execute a single all purpose bond i.e B-17 bond undertaking themselves to fulfil the conditions stipulated in the exemption notification of EOU scheme. This bond is taken to take care of the interests of revenue arising out of goods lost in transit, goods taken into Domestic Tariff Area for job work/ repair/ display etc but not brought back etc. The bond is executed with the jurisdictional Assistant Commissioner of Customs/Central Excise in charge of the unit. The format of the bond is prescribed vide notification No. 6/98-CE ( NT) dated 2-3-1998. The bond covers the activities which include, inter alia, transhipment of import /export goods between port of import/export and units’ premises; duty-free import/procurement from the indigenous sources as per relevant notification and warehousing/storage in the unit; movement of duty-free goods for job work and return; temporary clearance for repair and display in exhibitions, testing/approvals etc.; and movement of goods against AR-4, AR-3A and CT-3 etc. and transfer from one warehouse to another. However, it does not cover the differential duty amount against advance DTA sale for which a separate bond is to be executed. The bond is taken for an amount equal to 25% of the duty forgone on the sanctioned requirement of capital goods plus the duty forgone on raw materials required for 3 months. Surety or security equivalent 5% of the bond amount in the form of bank guarantee is required to be given by the EOUs.

(Reference Board’s Circular Nos. 14/98-Customs, dated 10-3-1998, 42/98-Cus. dated 19-6-1998, 66/98-Cus, dated 15-9-98, 76/99-Cus, dated 17-11-1999, and 50/2000-Cus, dated 24-5-2000).

Import and Export Procedure :

14. With regard to clearance of import cargo, the EOUs are placed in a special category, eligible for fast track or green channel clearance through the Customs. Clearance of import consignments is allowed at the gateway port/ Aircargo Complexes on the strength of procurement certificate issued to the EOU by the jurisdictional Assistant Commissioner/Deputy Commissioner. In general, the EOU cargo is not examined at the gateway port. In case of loose cargo, marks & numbers on the packages are verified. As for sealed containers, the seal number and container number are verified with the Bill of Lading. If the seal is found intact, the container is allowed clearance. The imported cargo so cleared and brought into the unit’s premises are examined by the jurisdictional Customs/Central Excise officials. After examination (percentage check only), the goods are allowed to be used for export production. Re-warehousing certificate is to be submitted to the Assistant Commissioner/Deputy Commissioner in charge of the port of import within 90 days of the issue of procurement certificate.

On the export side, the units having status of a Super Star Trading House, Star Trading House, Trading House, and Export House are allowed the facility of self-sealing of their export containers. (Board’s Circular Nos. 63/97-Cus, dated 21-11-1997, 14/98-Cus dated 10-3-98 and 90/98-Cus, dated 8-12-1998.)

Goods Imported /Exported and Found Defective:

15. Subject to grant of GR Waiver by the RBI the EOUs are allowed to make free replacement of the goods exported by them earlier and found defective, damaged or otherwise unfit by the overseas buyer. However, such defective, damaged or otherwise unfit for use goods are required to be brought back subsequently, to the country. The units are also allowed to re-import part consignment/full consignment in case of failure of the foreign buyer to take delivery.

16. The EOUs are also allowed to receive free replacement of the goods imported and found defective, damaged or otherwise unfit for use prior to re-export of the same. However, such damaged, defective goods are required to be re-exported subsequently. In case the supplier of such goods does not insist for re-exportation, such goods are required to be either destroyed or cleared into DTA on payment of full customs duty. (Reference Boards Circular 60/99-Cus, dated 10-9-1999)

Procurement of Goods Indigenously under CT-3 Procedure :

17. The EOUs can procure goods from DTA without payment of Central Excise duty subject to following of the Chapter X procedure of erstwhile Central Excise Rules, 1944. Such procurement from DTA is against CT-3, which is issued by the Superintendent of Customs/Central Excise in charge of the EOU. Such goods are required to be brought directly from the manufacturer /warehouse into the units premises under AR3A and examined by the designated officer. After examination of such goods, one copy of AR-3A is sent by registered post to the jurisdictional Central Excise authorities as a Re-warehousing Certificate in token of receipt of the goods in the unit. To avoid separate permission every time, the EOUs are issued pre-authenticated CT-3 in booklet form and against such pre-authenticated CT-3, the EOUs are allowed to procure capital goods, raw materials, consumables etc. Goods procured from DTA and found to be defective can be returned to the manufacturer under Chapter X procedure of erstwhile Central Excise Rules, 1944.

( Reference Board’s Circular No. 24/91-CX-8, dt. 01.07.1991 and 504/70/99 CE, dt. 30.12.99 and Board’s instructions dated 25-7-2001 issued from F. No. 305/121/2001-FTT)

DTA sale :

18. The EOUs ( other than gems & jewellery units) are allowed to sell goods (including rejects and byproducts) manufactured by them in DTA upto 50% of FOB value of exports on payment of concessional duty subject to achievement of prescribed NFEP. However, the DTA sale facility is not available for certain products such as motor car, alcoholic liquor, tea (except instant tea), books etc. The EOUs are allowed to remove the goods into DTA on a invoice. The invoice is used both as a transport document and also as a document for determining the assessable value. The EOUs can pay the duty by depositing the same in an authorized bank or the duty can also be debited from the Personal Ledger Account if an account current is maintained.

Valuation of Goods Sold in DTA :

19. Section 3 of the Central Excise Act, 1944 provides that the valuation of goods manufactured in the EOU and cleared into DTA is to be done in accordance with the provisions of the Customs law. Thus, when the invoice price of the goods under assessment is in the nature of transaction value, such invoice value can be accepted. (Board’s Circular No. 23/84-CX-6 dated 29-5-84 and Instructions issued vide File No. 268/35/92-CX-8 dated 17-8-94 and Circular No. 330/46/97-CX dated 20-8-97).

Levy of Central Excise Duty on Goods Produced or Manufactured by EOUs and Cleared into Domestic Tariff Area :

20. In terms of section 3 of the Central Excise Act, 1944, the excise duty leviable on goods manufactured in an EOU/EPZ unit and cleared into Domestic Tariff Area is the amount equal to the customs duty leviable under section 12 of the Customs Act, 1962 or under any other law for the time being in force on like goods produced or manufactured outside India, if imported into India. Thus, the measure of excise duty leviable on goods manufactured in EOU/ EPZs is worked out exactly in the same manner as applicable to imported goods.

21. On fulfillment of NFEP (Net Foreign Exchange Earnings as Percentage of Exports) the EOUs other than gem and jewellery units, are allowed to sell goods including rejects (upto 5% of FOB value of exports), waste, scrap, byproducts and services in DTA upto 50% of FOB value of exports at a concessional rate of duty in an amount equal to 50% of Customs duties. Sales beyond 50% attract full duties. It may be noted that the words “FOB value of exports” refers to physical exports only. Therefore, the value of deemed exports made by the unit is not considered while determining the FOB value of exports. However, the sales made to private bonded warehouses set up under paragraph 11.14 or a trading unit set up under paragraph 9.21 of the EXIM Policy are taken into account for the limited purpose of arriving at FOB value of exports by EOU/EPZ units provided payment for such sales are made from EEFC accounts. (Reference: Notification No.2/95-CE, dated 4.1.1995).

Goods Manufactured from Indigenous Materials in 100% EOUs

22. A concessional duty has been prescribed for goods sold in DTA which are manufactured entirely out of indigenous materials. In such cases, the duty charged is the effective rate of excise duty which is leviable on like goods manufactured & cleared by DTA units. (Reference: notification No.8/97-CE dated 1-3-97). However, if such goods manufactured by a DTA unit are fully exempt from excise duty or are chargeable to ‘nil’ rate of duty, the EOUs are required to pay 30% of each of duties of customs leviable on similar imported goods. (Reference: Notification No.13/98-CE, dated 2-6-98).

Clearance of Byproducts, Rejects, Waste and Scrap, Non-excisable Goods, etc.:

23. The DTA clearance of by-products and rejects on concessional rate duty is not allowed to the EOUs, which have failed to achieve the prescribed NFEP. In such cases, the EOUs are liable to pay full duty. Further, in case of these units, DTA clearance of finished goods is not allowed even on payment of full duty. In case of waste/scrap/remnants, the same are allowed to be sold in DTA on payment of concessional rate of duty within overall limit of 50% of FOB value of exports without insisting on achievement of prescribed NFEP. In case of sale of scrap/waste/remnants beyond this limit, it is allowed on payment of full duty. As for DTA clearance of goods manufactured by the EOUs which are not excisable (e.g. cut flowers) the duty on inputs and consumables etc. procured/imported duty free under exemption notifications, which have gone into production of such non-excisable goods cleared into DTA, is recovered.

Special Concessions for Certain Waste products and Other Goods Cleared from 100% EOUs :

24. Apart from the above general concessions, special concessions are available for certain products. As per instance, under notification No.103/93-CE, dated 27.12.93 rags, trimmings and tailor cuttings arising in the course of manufacture of readymade garments are fully exempt from excise duty when cleared into DTA by EOUs. This is subject to the condition that the percentage of waste material in the form of rags, trimmings and tailor cuttings does not exceed the percentage fixed in this regard by the Board of Approval. (Reference: Notification No. 103/93-CE, dated 27-12-1993). Further, under notification No. 6/97-CE, dated 1-3-1997, the waste of fish or crustaceans, mollusks or other aquatic invertebrates falling in chapter heading 05.01, castor oil cake manufactured from the indigenous castor oil seeds on indigenous plant and machinery falling under chapter heading 23.02, guar meal manufactured wholly from indigenous guar seeds falling under chapter heading 23.01 and yarn of jute and goods of jute, manufactured from wholly indigenous raw materials headings 53.07, 53.10, 5702.12, 5703.20, 58.01, 58.02, 58.06 or 6305.10 are fully exempt from payment of duty if manufactured by EOUs and cleared into DTA. Also, cotton waste falling under heading 52.02 are fully exempted if produced or manufactured by EOU and allowed to be sold in India. ( Reference: Notification No. 6/97-CE, dated 1-3-1997)

25. In case of Gems and Jewellery EOUs, the units are allowed to sell upto 10% of FOB value of exports of the preceding year in DTA subject to fulfillment of NFEP as prescribed under the Export and Import Policy. In case of sale of plain gold jewellery, plain silver jewellery, studded gold jewellery, unsuitable/broken cut and polished diamonds, rough diamonds, precious and semi precious stones or dead stock in DTA, the units are allowed to pay concessional rate of duty. (Reference notification No. 20/97-CE, dated 11-4-1997).

26. In addition to the above, under notification No. 20/98-CE, dated 18-7-1998, certain specified textile items are allowed to pay concessional duty in case of DTA sales of such items by EOUs. ( Reference: notification No. 20/98-CE, dated 18-7-1998).

Manner of Calculation on Duty of Goods Cleared in Domestic Tariff Area under Paragraph 9.9(b) of the Exim Policy:

27. The manner of calculation of duty leviable on goods cleared in Domestic Tariff Area in terms of paragraph 9.9(b) of Exim Policy, 1997-2002 read with notification No. 2/95-CE, dated 4-1-1995 has been laid down in Board’s Circular No. 7/2001-Cus, dated 6-2-2001. To work out the total quantum of duty payable on goods cleared into DTA, each of the duty leviable on import of like goods is worked out first and thereafter, 50% of the amount of each duty so calculated, taken together is collected as excise duty on such goods produced by EOUs units when cleared into the DTA. (Reference: Board’s Circular No. 7/2001-Cus, dated 6.2.2001)

Clearance of Waste/ Scrap/ By products in DTA:

28. The EOUs are allowed to clear waste and scrap in Domestic Tariff Area on payment of concessional rate of duty or full rate of duty as explained in detail in paragraph 22. Norms for scrap/ waste material for export products under EOU have been prescribed in Appendix 41 of the Handbook of Procedures, Vol. I .

29. In case of gem & jewellery EOUs, scrap, dust or sweepings generated in the unit is allowed to be forwarded to the Government Mint or Private Mint for conversion into standard gold bars and return thereof to the unit subject to the observance of procedure laid down by the Commissioner of Customs. The said dust, scrap or sweepings are also allowed clearance into DTA on payment of applicable customs duty on the gold content in the said scrap, dust or sweepings. Samples of the sweepings/dust are taken at the time of clearance and sent to mint for assaying. The assessment is finalized when the reports are received from the mint.

( Board’s Circular 19/99-Cus, dated 29-4-1999)

Clearance of Samples :

30. The EOUs are allowed to supply or sell in DTA samples of goods produced by them for display or market promotion upto 1% of the previous year’s exports or maximum of Rs. 10 lakhs in the case of new unit going into production on payment of applicable duties. The units are also allowed to take out samples into DTA without payment of duty on returnable basis for the purpose of display/market promotion. In such cases, the procedure prescribed for sub-contracting is required to be followed.

31. The EOUs are allowed to send samples abroad through the courier. The packages containing such samples are sealed in the presence of the Customs officer and are handed over to the representative of the courier company authorised by the Commissioner of Customs for presentation to the Customs at the port of export. These sealed samples are not normally examined again before ” let export” is given if the seals are found intact and not tampered. The representative of the courier company later hands over the proof of export to the jurisdictional Assistant/ Deputy Commissioner. (Reference Board’s Circular Nos. 22/98-Cus, dated 27-3-1998 and 52/99-Cus, dated 20-8-1999).

Clearance of Personal Computers :

32. The EOUs are allowed to remove personal computers not exceeding two in number for installation in their registered/administrative offices located in DTA subject to the following of the procedure prescribed in this regard. (Board’s Circular No.41/99-Customs dated 30-6-99)

Sale of Surplus/ Unutilized Goods :

33. The EOUs are allowed to sell surplus/unutilized goods, imported or procured duty free in DTA on payment of duty on the value at the time of import/procurement and at rates in force on the date of payment of such duty, in case the unit is unable for valid reasons to utilize the goods. The permission for such DTA sale is given by the jurisdictional Assistant Commissioner /Deputy Commissioner of Customs/ Central Excise as the case may be. Likewise, obsolete/surplus capital goods and spares can either be exported or disposed of in the DTA on payment of applicable duties. The benefit of depreciation, as applicable, is allowed in such cases. Duty is not charged if the goods are destroyed with the permission of Customs.

Destruction of Flowers/Horticulture Products :

34. Flowers, vegetables and agricultural products have a very short shelf life and are prone to malformation, injury, damage, infection etc. These products cannot be preserved for a longer period. There are circumstances (especially in case of floriculture units) when the units do not find the goods exportable/marketable for various reasons such as malformation, injury, damage, infection by pest and diseases etc. and the units have to resort to forced destruction of flowers, vegetables etc. In such cases, duty is not charged from the EOUs.

35. At times, the flowers and floriculture products deposited in the warehouse of the airlines at the international airports for the purpose of exports are not exported owing to various reasons, such as, delay in flights, cancellation of flights etc. In such cases, the units are allowed to sell such flowers and floriculture products in DTA on payment of applicable duty. For such DTA sales, the unit must have DTA sale entitlement under the scheme. The unit is required to bring permission from the concerned Development Commissioner for such DTA sale and shall clear the goods on payment of duty assessed by the concerned Assistant Commissioner/ Deputy Commissioner in charge of the cargo. The DTA sale is allowed against documents as are used for DTA sale by EOUs in the manner as if the goods cleared from the unit itself. (Reference Board’s Circular No.31/2001-Cus, dated 24-5-2001).

Clearance of Goods Manufactured by EOUs against Advance Release Order (ARO) or Back-to-Back Inland Letter of Credit issued against an Advance Licence or Duty Free Replenishment Certificate (DFRC).

36. The goods manufactured by EOUs are allowed to be cleared against ARO & Back-to-Back Inland Letter of Credit issued against Advance Licence (except Advance Licence for intermediate supply) without payment of basic and additional duty of customs subject to following the provisions of EXIM Policy & HOP Vol.–1, 1997-2002 & conditions of notification 28/2001-CE dated 16-5-2001. The goods may also be cleared to a person holding an ARO issued by the Licensing Authority against a DFRC or Back-to-Back Inland Letter of Credit issued by a bank on the payment of additional duty of customs subject to following of the provisions of EXIM Policy and HOP Vol.1 Vol.–1, 1997-2002 & conditions of notification No. 28/2001-CE dated 16-5-2001. (Reference Board’s circular No.31/2001-Cus, dated 24-5-2001).

Sub-Contracting :

37. The EOUs, other g than Gem & Jewellery units, are allowed to sub-contract part of their production process in DTA. These units may also sub-contract up-to 50% of production for job-work in DTA. Sub-contracting of both production and production process are also allowed to be undertaken through other EOU/EPZ/EHTP/STP/SEZ units on the basis of records maintained by the unit.

38. For sub-contractual work performed outside, the units are required to take annual permission from the Customs authorities and are required to furnish information, such as, processes to be carried out on sub-contract basis and the name, address of the subcontractor etc. After getting the permission, the unit is required to follow the Receipt Challan/ Despatch Challan ( RCDC) procedure. Under this procedure, at the time of removal of goods, the unit prepares Despatch Challan giving information, such as, value of the goods, name & address of job worker, duty forgone on the goods and the period within which the goods will be received back. Similarly, the goods after completion of sub contractual work are received back in the unit on the basis of Receipt Challan. The scrap/waste/remnants generated at the job worker’s premises can be either cleared from the job worker’s premises on payment of duty or returned to the supplying unit. Exports from job worker’s premises are allowed in cases where the job workers are registered with the Central Excise department. A sample of goods exported is sent to the EOU for checking whether the goods supplied by it are utilised by the job worker in the export product.

39. The EOUs are also allowed to remove moulds, jigs, tools, fixtures, tackles, instruments, hangers and patterns and drawings to the premises of sub-contractors subject to the condition that they are brought back to the bonded premises of EOU on completion of the job work within a stipulated period.

40. The EOUs are allowed to sub-contract part of the production process abroad. The approval for sub-contracting abroad is accorded by the Board of Approval. The goods sent for job-work abroad are required to be returned to the unit for final processing/manufacturing before exports. The unit is required to execute a suitable bond for sub-contracting of goods abroad and is required to account for the goods including waste/rejects in the manner as prescribed by the Commissioner of Customs/ Central Excise in this behalf.

41. To help utilize the idle capacity, the EOUs are allowed to undertake job work for export on behalf of DTA units. This is subject to the condition that the finished goods are exported directly from the EOU and export documents are made in the name of the DTA unit. On export of such goods manufactured by EOUs on behalf of the DTA unit, the DTA unit is entitled to refund of duty paid on the inputs by way of brand rate of duty drawback.

42. As mentioned earlier, the gem & jewellery EOUs are not allowed to subcontract the production or production process in DTA. However, such gem & jewellery EOUs are allowed to receive plain gold/silver/platinum jewellery from DTA against exchange of gold/silver/platinum of the same purity & quantity in weight as that of the jewellery. The EOU is not eligible for any wastage or manufacturing loss against such jewellery. The DTA units supplying such jewellery against exchange of gold/silver/platinum are not entitled for deemed export benefits.

(Reference Board’s Instructions F. No. 305/107/93-FTT dated 31-1-1994 and 8-4-1994, Circular Nos. 59/98-Cus, dated 12-8-1998, 67/98-Cus, dated 14-9-98, 35/99-Cus, 74/99-Cus, dated 5-11-99, 31/2001-Cus, dated 24-5-2001).

Temporary Removal of Goods :

43. The EOUs, Software Technology Park Units or Electronic Hardware Technology Park Units engaged in development of software are allowed to remove imported laptop computers and video projection system out of the bonded premises temporarily without payment of duty subject to following the prescribed procedures.

(Reference Board’s Circular Nos.17/98-Cus dated 16-3-98 & 84/2000-Cus dated 16-4-2000 ).

Inter-unit transfer :

44. An EOU is allowed to transfer imported or manufactured goods to another EOU/EPZ/STP/EHTP/SEZ unit. The officers in charge of the EOU supplying the material and the EOU receiving the material are expected to keep a watch on the movement of material between the EOUs. The rewarehousing certificate on transfer of the goods from one EOU to another is obtained by post and is crosschecked occasionally with the Superintendent in charge of the other unit to see whether the goods have been actually received in the unit or not. In case of non-receipt of rewarehousing certificate and similarly, non-receipt of proof of export from the proper officer within 90/180 days, the duty is demanded from the sending unit.

Repair, Reconditioning etc.:

45. The EOUs are permitted to import goods of any origin to carry on re-conditioning, repair, testing, calibration, quality improvement, upgradation of technology and re-engineering activities for export in freely convertible foreign currency provided such repairs, reconditioning, reengineering etc. are carried out in Customs bonded premises and the final goods are not sold within the country.

Special Provisions Relating to Gems & Jewellery EOUs.

46. The EOUs in gem & jewellery sector are allowed certain special facilities as mentioned below:

(i) the items of gem and jewellery to be taken out temporarily into DTA without payment of duty for the purpose of display and to be returned thereafter;

(ii) personal carriage of gold/silver/platinum jewellery or precious or semi-precious stones or beads and articles as samples upto US$ 1,00,000 for export promotion tours and temporary display or sale abroad subject to the condition that the exporter would bring back the jewellery or the goods or its sale proceeds within 45 days from the date of departure through normal banking channel;

(iii) export of jewellery including branded jewellery for display and sale in the permitted shops setup abroad, or in the showroom of their distributors or agents provided that items not sold abroad within 180 days, shall be re-imported within next 45 days;

(iv) gem and jewellery units to remove parts & tools of machine temporarily without payment of duty for the purpose of repair and return thereof.

(v) gem and jewellery manufactured in the EOU situated in the municipal limits of Calcutta, Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai and sold to a foreign-bound passenger are allowed to be transferred to the retail outlets or showrooms set up in the departure lounge or Customs warehouse at international airports for being handed over to the said passenger for the purpose of export.

(vi) Removal of moulds, tools, patterns, and drawings into the DTA for jobwork without payment of duty and to be returned to the unit thereafter.

(vii) For availing of the above mentioned facilities, prior permission of Assistant Commissioner / Deputy Commissioner is required.

Cost Recovery Charges/Cost Sharing

47. Cost recovery charges are the amount recoverable from the EOU on account of the expenses incurred by the Government for the posting of Customs staff at its premises to supervise their operations. The cost of posts created for EOUs has been determined at an amount equivalent to the actual salary and emoluments of the staff deployed i.e. the average pay and allowances including D.A., H.R.A., C.C.A. etc. The EOUs pay in advance the cost recovery charges determined for the entire year. Generally, one Customs officer supervises the functioning of four to five units and the cost recovery charges are shared amongst them.

(Reference Board’s instruction F. No. 11018/63/87-Ad IV, dated 11-1-88 and F.No.305/105/85-FTT, dated 10.6.86)

Supervision of EOUs by the Customs/ Central Excise:

48. Operational flexibility has been provided to EOUs by amendment of “Manufacture and Other Operations in Warehouse Regulations, 1966”. The EOUs no longer carry out manufacturing operations under physical supervision of Customs officers. The procedure for locking of the warehouse, contral over the issue of imported goods etc. has been abolished. All the movements from and to the unit like clearance of raw materials/ component to the job workers premises, return of goods from the job-workers’ premises, clearance to other EOUs, export and sale in DTA are allowed to be made by the unit subject to maintenance of the records. Physical control over the EOUs has, thus, been replaced by Record Based Control.

49. As physical control has been abolished greater stress is given on proper maintenance of prescribed records & accounts and non-maintenance of the accounts by the units is viewed seriously. The cost recovery officers/the officers incharge of EOUs are required to scrutinize /examine the accounts/ records of the units and transaction undertaken by the unit at least once in a month. The cost recovery officer has to ensure that all movements of goods are recorded in the proper register. The Chief Commissioner is empowered to order special audit of the unit by Cost Accountant nominated by him in this regard. Cost audit is employed as a tool to check the correctness of raw materials, quantity used, finished goods produced or other such situation.

(Board’s Circular No. 88/98-Cus, dated 2-12-1998)

Joint Monitoring of EOUs:

50. The guidelines for monitoring the performance of EOUs have been laid down in Appendix 16-E of the Handbook of Procedures (Vol.I). As per the said guidelines, the performance of EOUs is to be jointly reviewed by the Development Commissioner and the concerned Customs/Central Excise officers. The purpose of joint review is to ensure that the performance of EOUs are effectively monitored and action is taken against the units which have contravened the provisions of the EXIM Policy/Handbook and the Customs Law/Procedures. Besides, such joint monitoring gives an opportunity to the Government to discuss and help resolve the problems/difficulties being faced by the EOUs. The idea is to remove all bottlenecks in export promotion efforts while not jeopardizing the interests of revenue.

Recovery of Duty Forgone under EOU Scheme and Penal Action for Abuse/ Diversion etc. :

51. Under EOU Scheme, the units are required to achieve minimum NFEP and Export Performance as stipulated in the Exim Policy. In case of failure to achieve the minimum NFEP and EP, the duty forgone under the EOU scheme along with interest is recoverable from the units. Further, the duty is recoverable from the units in case of non receipt of imported/ indigenously procured goods in the factory premises after import/procurement, loss of goods in transit, non accountal of imported/ indigenously procured goods, unauthorized DTA sale, clandestine removal etc. Duty can also be demanded in case of failure to utilize duty free imported/indigenously procured goods including capital goods within the prescribed time limit. The duty is also recoverable on goods removed for job working/ display/ testing/ quality testing, but not received back in the unit within the specified period of time.

52. Apart from recovery of duty forgone, the law also provides for taking penal action where any 100% EOU is found to have indulged into any fraudulent activities eg. clandestine removal of production into DTA without payment of duties, diversion of duty free materials in transit to the unit after customs clearance or after receipt etc., not only the offending goods can be seized and confiscated, but even units penalized heavily/ prosecuted.

De-Bonding :

53. An EOU may debond into a normal DTA unit subject to the approval of the Development Commissioner and following of prescribed procedure & fulfilling the laid down conditions. Such de-bonding is subject to penalty, if any, that may be imposed and payment of duties of customs and excise applicable at the time of de-bonding. The standard conditions of de-bonding, as indicated in the Handbook of Procedures provide, amongst other conditions, that the applicable customs and central excise duty would be paid on imported and indigenous capital goods, finished goods, raw materials, consumables, components etc. in stock. Further, the unit in question continues to be treated as an EOU till the date of final de-bonding order.

54. The duty payable in terms of the relevant notifications by the units seeking debonding is as under:

(a) Semi-finished and finished goods lying in stock at the time of de-bonding can be cleared on payment of the excise duty equal to aggregate duties of Customs payable on similar imported goods.

(b) Capital goods, material handling equipment, office equipment and captive power plants can be cleared on payment of an amount equal to the customs duty leviable on such goods on the depreciated value thereof and at the rates in force on the date of payment of such duty.

(c) Goods including containers suitable for repeated use other than those at (b) above can be allowed clearance on payment of customs duty on their value at the time of import and at the rate of duty in force on the date of payment of such duty.

(d) Used packing materials such as cardboard boxes, polyethylene bags of a kind unsuitable for repeated use can be cleared without payment of duty.

55. At the time of debonding, the EOUs are entitled for depreciation on imported/indigenous capital goods. The rate of depreciation on capital goods have been specified and in case of the computers and computer peripherals, accelerated rate of depreciation have been provided for.

56. In the event of a gem and jewellery unit ceasing its operation, gold and other specious metals, alloys, gem and other materials available for manufacture of jewellery are handed over to a nominated agency (nominated by Department of Commerce) at a price determined by that agency.

(Reference Board’s instructions issued from F. No. 305/136/92-FTT dated 5-6-1992, Circular Nos. 27/98, dt. 1.04.1998 and 43/98-Cus., dt. 26.06.1998).