DGFT working to ease export norms for dual-use goods

The government is working to ease the export norms for certain products, which have dual-use such as chemicals for companies that have proven track record, Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) Santosh Kumar Sarangi said Tuesday.

Highlighting that dual-use goods and technologies are sensitive and can cause serious disruptions globally if they go in the wrong hands of non-state actors. Dual-use goods are those which have both industrial and military uses such as high tech equipment, chemicals, biotechnology, defence, aerospace (comprising drones/UAVs), electronics and semiconductors, telecommunications, information security, and related software and technology.

“We are working with industry, ministry of external affairs, and customs to ensure that a lot of sectors are liberalised for those companies which have proven track record of responsible use and responsible exports,” Sarangi said at the ‘National Conference on Strategic Trade Controls’.

Such goods are called Special Chemicals, Organisms, Materials, Equipment and Technologies (SCOMET) and there is a licensing requirement for their trade.

At the same event, commerce secretary Sunil Barthwal said that trade and commerce have been disrupted due to various issues which have cropped in the Suez Canal due to the misuse of high-end goods and technologies.

“We have seen how drones which can be used in agriculture for improving productivity, can be used for war kind of purposes,” he said and added that India is working on “how we can bring out a policy which can address the issues which may crop up because of the use of AI”.

The secretary said that a balancing approach is required for trade in these SCOMET items which have a dual-use.

There is always an apprehension that these technologies should not get into the wrong hands and therefore at national and international levels, there are policies, framework and institutions, which look into the issues.

“We want free trade to grow but we also want to ensure that free trade should not become an instrument of mass destruction or terrorism,” Barthwal said.

Sarangi added that there is a need to develop an internal system which makes responsible use of high-end technologies or correct usage of SCOMET items by complying with the guidelines.

He said that the industry has helped the government in getting the processes streamlined and simplified for trade of these goods.

Over the years, India has liberalised general authorisations for drones, repeat order for stock and sale policy, global authorisations for intra-company transfer and general authorisation for export of chemicals.

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