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					             What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

                        Introduction to Economic Zones

“Export else perish “ these are the words of first Prime Minister of India Pt. Jawaharlal
Nehru. India being a continent like country having 30 states, more than 1000 languages
and world second largest man power having diversified natural conditions right from Rain
Forests of Kerala, Ice Mountains of Himalaya, Runn of Kuch to productive land of
Bramahaputra has great potentials of world class export worthy products from various
industries like Agriculture, Engineering, Chemicals, Software’s, Gems and Jewellry,
Pharmaceuticals, Bio technology and many more.

During last fifty years, mostly ours exports have been less than our imports and the
balance of trade been unfavorable. In 1990-1991 India had faced real pressure on the
balance of payment. During this period, exports had stagnated and there was a crisis in
foreign reserves which lead to an emergency situation in India.

Liberalization policy was announced in June 1991. It is the precious gift of Dr Manmohan
Singh to the people of India at a time when the country was in the grip of unprecedented
economic crisis and political turmoil. One of the areas in which this policy focused on
was on increasing India’s export. And the trickle down effect of these reforms has lead to
the advent of SEZ

In this age of Globalisation, there is a need for every nation in the world to perform well
economically. With the improvements in science and technology and the raising standards
of living worldwide, ensuring economic development assumes primary importance in the
policies of every nation.

While striving for economic development, every nation takes steps necessary for the
implementation of its ambitious plans. But more often than not, these plans cannot be
affected successfully throughout the nation. There are always shortcomings in these
economic plans. Every nation wants to give its industries ample facilities for efficient
production of goods and services and in order to make them globally competitive in terms
of price and quality. Some of these facilities can be used by all industries throughout the

             What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

nation. But sometimes, some facilities cannot be given on account of reasons like the
geographical extent and the possibility of misuse.

For Example: If a country wants to give subsidized power to a specific industry, it cannot
do so throughout the nation as keeping a check on whether the subsidized power is going
to the right people or not is a Herculean task.

Thus, in order to give the industry certain added advantages, the governments of various
nations come up with special schemes and subsidies mostly related to customs duties.
These schemes provide an upward thrust to the nation’s products in the global markets on
account of lower prices / better quality. Such schemes, if implemented directly, are not
allowed by the WTO. This has resulted in many nations coming up with such schemes in
an indirect manner. One of the most popular ones is to set up a special area demarked for
the purpose of industrial growth. Various facilities can be offered in this area without the
fear of them being misused and also, no resistance from WTO (or any other trading
partner / nation) is encountered on account of the scheme not being a national policy, but
only limited to a small area demarked for the purpose. This is where the concept of
‘Economic Zones’ comes in.

            What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

Types of Economic Zones
Depending on the facilities provided, the level of government control exercised, the type
of industries allowed in the zone, and the type of activities allowed in the zone, they are
classified into many types by different countries. A few common types are as follows:

      Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) – These are designated sites where special customs
       procedures are applicable. These procedures allow domestic activities involving
       foreign trade to take place as if it were outside the nation’s borders, thus relieving
       them of the Customs of the land. For Example: Miami Foreign Trade Zone,
       Florida (USA)

      Export Processing Zone (EPZ) – These are the most common types of zones. And
       are similar to the FTZs of USA in many respects. Established for the purpose of
       promoting exports, these zones concentrate on providing the exporters with all
       facilities of production in one place and also relax the customs procedures for the
       foreign trade activities of the units in the zones. For Example: Noida Export
       Processing Zone (NEPZ), Uttar Pradesh (India)

      Free Zone (FZ) – These are the zones in countries mainly like the UAE. Such
       zones give total exemption from all taxes and duties levied on profits to the units
       existing in them, besides other financial benefits and incentives. For Example:
       Dubai – Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZ), Dubai (United Arab Emirates)

      Special Economic Zone (SEZ) – These are an extension of the EPZ scheme with
       added benefits and fewer bureaucratic hassles. But these zones do not restrict
       themselves to export promotion only. They provide all facilities and infrastructure
       necessary for the development of the industries in the region. They are normally
       huge in size and hence are suitable for mass-production of commodities, which
       can be sold domestically, as well as internationally. For Example: Shenzhen
       Special Economic Zone (Shenzhen SEZ), China

             What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

The same zones are also referred to as Free Economic Zones (FEZ) in the Kyrgyz
Republic and as Free Trade Zones in many other Asian countries. Essentially, the core
concept of all these zones is the same; i.e. to treat the designated zone as a foreign
territory for the purposes of customs procedures and to also give them certain added
incentives and infrastructure facilities, which are not available to ordinary units operating
within the country.

      1.1   A permanent solution for corruption: Special Governance Zone

  In the 9th International Anti-Corruption Conference in South Africa held from 10-
  15 December 1999, Shang Jin Wei, Advisor to the World Bank submitted an
  action plan for the establishment of a new concept; the concept of SGZs (Special
  Governance Zones).

  It advocates establishing a special governance zone (SGZ) within a country as an
  entry point for an eventual nation-wide anti-corruption program. A SGZ is an
  enclave within which comprehensive reforms can take place. It is geographically
  limited so that any unpredictable negative consequences can be contained.

  According to the plan, reform measures can easily be explored and fine-tuned
  within small manageable zones before trying their implementation nationwide.
  Once successful, its experience can serve as a model for the rest of the country.
  The World Bank (and other international institutions) can play an important role
  especially at the initial stage of the program.

  The SGZ idea reflects a fundamental belief that the quality of public governance
  in many developing and transition economies can be significantly improved and
  corruption can be drastically reduced. The proposal is designed to achieve
  several objectives: to start the reform program within an area small enough to
  contain unpredictable consequences, to experiment and fine-tune various
  components of the anti-corruption program in practice, and by the power of
  example, to build momentum to implement a nation-wide governance-improving

  There are a few basic principles for successfully operating a SGZ. First, whenever
  possible, a fair market mechanism should be used to allocate resources, to
  produce and/or procure public goods, to cut red tape, and to reduce the need for
  permits and licenses. This would limit the opportunities for government officials
  to take bribes (and to be offered bribes). The reward for civil servants to deliver
  quality service and not to take bribes should be raised. At the same time, the
  penalty for civil servants for poor performance and for taking bribes should also
  be raised and fairly applied.

             What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

                Genesis of Chinese Special Economic Zones

Chinese Economic Reforms

Historically, China has adopted an inward-looking strategy to its economic development.
Successive Chinese governments thought that the economy could grow purely through
self-reliance. However, there are always limitations to what a country can do by itself, for
example limitations in raw materials, natural resources, technology, etc. These can hold
back the growth of an economy and certainly China's economic growth lagged far behind
much of the rest of the world up to the 1970's.

By contrast, countries like the USA were achieving significant economic growth in this
period because they were practising foreign trade policies, which facilitated free trade.
Any shortages in the domestic economy, for example oil in the USA or Japan, wheat in
the Soviet Union or cars in India could be compensated for by imports. Foreign trade,
then, could help to aid economic growth.

The export trade is also vital. Not only can exports be a means of paying for imports, but
they also help to earn foreign exchange. Since 1979, the Chinese government has
recognised the importance of exports as a means of fostering economic growth. Economic
policies and special incentive programmes have been introduced to increase exports.

Establishment of SEZs
When it decided to reform the national economic setup in 1978, the Chinese government
embarked on a policy of opening to the outside world in a planned way and step-by-step.
A decision was made in 1978 to permit direct foreign investment in several small "special
economic zones" along the coast. Shenzhen, Zhuhai and Shantou in Guangdong Province
and Xiamen in Fujian Province, and the entire province of Hainan were, under this policy,
the first five Special Economic Zones to be established.

The aims of the establishment of the SEZs were to earn foreign exchange, to enhance
employment, to attract foreign investment and to accelerate the introduction of

               What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

technology and management expertise. The five SEZs established were Shenzhen,
Zhuhai, Shantou in Guangdong province, Xiamen in Fujian province and Hainan Island.
In order to attract foreign investors and develop foreign trade, the five SEZs offered
similar packages of favourable incentives to foreign firms. One of the most attractive
points of these packages was that income tax was fixed at the rate of 15 per cent, lower
than that in other parts of China. Other advantages given were tax exemptions, land use
rights, and banking and finance privileges, which were available to firms operating
outside the SEZs.

China lacked the legal infrastructure and knowledge of international practices to make
this prospect attractive for many foreign businesses, however. In later years steps were
taken to expand the number of areas that could accept foreign investment with a
minimum of red tape, and related efforts were made to develop the legal and other
infrastructures necessary to make this work well.

Many other non-financial advantages were provided inside the SEZs. Firms were
provided relatively free-market environments with minimal government intervention.
This means that private and joint-venture enterprises were free to hire their own workers.
They were also free to set wages to reflect market conditions. Bonuses could be awarded
to workers for outstanding performance.

The common threads of these reforms are the search for efficiency and an assumption that
management of the economy by large governmental bureaucracies is unlikely to produce
this result.

Primarily geared to exporting processed goods, the five special economic zones are
foreign-oriented areas, which integrate science and industry with trade, and benefit from
preferential policies and special managerial systems. They have summed up their rich
experiences in absorbing foreign investment and developing foreign trade for China to
open up to the international market. In recent years, the special economic zones have led

              What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

the country in establishing new systems, upgrading industries and opening wider to the
outside world, serving as national models. In 1999, Shenzhen’s new-and high-tech
industry became one with best prospects, and the output value of new-and high-teach
products reached 81.98 billion Yuan, making up 40.5 percent of the city’s total industrial
output value and coming out in front in the country.

China has so far created 124 export-processing zones. Some 18 million were employed
in firms with foreign investment alone, and many millions more in Chinese-owned zone
enterprises. Shenzhen has become a window of the country to the outside world and a
platform for reform measures, along with Xiamen, Zhuhai and Shantou.

Open Coastal Cities
In the period between 1984-
85, China further opened 14
coastal   cities    and    three
coastal regions to foreign
investment.   All     of   these
places provide tax treatment
and other advantages for the
foreign investor. Laws on
contracts, patents, and other        2.1 China's '99 Kunming World Horticultural expo
matters of concern to foreign       was opened on April 30. This picture shows a scene
                                               built by Shandong Province.
businesses were also passed
in an effort to attract international capital to aid China’s development. The largely
bureaucratic nature of China’s economy, however, poses inherent problems for foreign
firms that want to operate in the Chinese environment, and thus the policies to attract
foreign capital have had to evolve continually in the direction of presenting more
incentives for the foreigner to invest in China.
Since 1992, the State Council has opened a number of border cities, and in addition,
opened all the capital cities of inland provinces and autonomous regions. In addition, 15
free trade zones, 32 state-level economic and technological development zones, and 53
new- and high-tech industrial development zones have been established in large and

            What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

medium-sized cities. As a result, a multi-level, multi-channel, omni-directional and
diversified pattern of opening, integrating coastal areas with riverine, border and inland
areas has been formed in China. As these open areas adopt different preferential policies,
they play the dual roles of ‘Windows’ (in developing the foreign-oriented economy,
generating foreign exchanges through exporting products and importing advanced
technologies) and of ‘Radiators’ (in accelerating inland economic development).

All these efforts of the Chinese government were fruitful and resulted in the success of
the concept of Special Economic Zones (SEZs). The most prominent amongst the
Chinese SEZs is the Shenzhen SEZ. The growth of SEZs in China has been explained

           2.3 China's Special Economic Zones gear up for WTO, future

    In recent years, the Chinese SEZs have been focusing on improving the
    overall economic quality and on developing high-tech industries and other
    economies with special features. Compared with other parts of China, the SEZs
    still hold an edge in utilizing domestic and overseas resources and markets and
    in adapting themselves to international common practices to boost economic
    development. Experts say that improving overall economic performance is a
    necessary choice for the SEZs, as China will face fiercer competition after its
    entry into the World Trade Organization. It is the only way for them to realize

    To hit the goal, analysts say, the SEZs should give national treatment to
    overseas investors for more funding while making efforts to open up overseas
    markets for their own companies products. By changing the past practice of
    offering preferential policies to overseas investors in certain fields, the SEZs have
    lifted all restrictions for them. According to officials, the expansion of reform in
    the SEZs will focus on systematic innovations, including adjustments in the
    ownership structure, and transformation of functions of government departments
    in accordance with international common practices.
with the example of Shenzhen SEZ in the following Chapter.

             What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

                    ‘Window to the World’ – Shenzhen SEZ

Shenzhen – The Village
Only twenty years ago, Shenzhen was a small fishing village located in China's southern
province of Guangdong. Today, after two decades of rapid economic expansion, the city
enjoys the highest income per-capita among the 35 major Chinese cities at US$ 225 per
month. At close to US$ 3,000 per year the income per capita is approximately four times
the national average. This coastal city, which shares a border with Hong Kong, has
become one of China's most prosperous cities averaging an economic growth rate of 34
percent between 1980 and 1998. Now that China is being accepted into the World Trade
Organization, Shenzhen may be the quintessential model for the central government to
follow when taking its nation, gripped in authoritarian rule, and preparing it to operate in
an increasingly open market environment.

Formation of the SEZ
The city of Shenzhen was founded in 1979 and a year later was established as China's
first special economic zone (SEZ) by Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping. The special
economic zones were implemented by the Communist government as a virtual laboratory
for experimentation with a free market economy. The SEZs operate under an entirely
different economic premise than that of the mainland, specifically, with an emphasis on
exporting and creating an attractive environment for foreign direct investment through
favorable tax incentives.

Influence of Hong Kong
When the SEZ was first established, the majority of the new businesses that settled in
Shenzhen were Hong Kong-based enterprises drawn to the zone to take advantage of,
among many other things, the abundance of cheap labor and the customs-free industrial

             What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

environment. Since this time, the economic border between Shenzhen and Hong Kong
has grown increasingly vague. Hong Kong dollars flow freely in Shenzhen and many
residents of Hong Kong invest in the Shenzhen stock exchange.

The cultural border has eroded over the years as well. With the proximity that
Shenzhen enjoys to Hong Kong, the population is able to pick-up Hong Kong
based radio and television signals. Those in Shenzhen who speak Cantonese can
receive news and other content that is restricted on the mainland. Residents of
Shenzhen are therefore, able to perceive world events from a more objective
point of view than the one presented by the communist government's news
outlets. Currently, there are a dozen or more crossing venues between Hong
Kong and Shenzhen either by land or by sea. According to the Shenzhen
Municipal Foreign Investment Bureau, at the end of 1998 Hong Kong was
engaged in 1,078 projects in Shenzhen accounting for over 78 percent of the
total projects undertaken. Remarkably, Taiwan was the second leading project
forum with 119 or 8.5 percent of the total projects.

Troubled Times
Even with its unprecedented track record for growth, things have at times been less than
perfect for Shenzhen. In 1980, Shenzhen's appeal as a SEZ made it an attractive area for
entrepreneurs and fortune hunters, but by 1992, seventeen hundred special economic
zones had been established. Over time Shenzhen was not as unique as it had once been.
Fortunately, in that same year Shenzhen was the first Chinese city to be given legislative
authority in the way of a Municipal People's Congress. To a small degree this gave the
city a level of control over local policy which was not seen anywhere else.

Additionally, the few years leading up to the return of Hong Kong to China can be
described as a time of over exuberant expectation. The extraordinarily hot Shenzhen stock
market in 1996 goes a long way in illustrating this point. The people of Shenzhen were
under the impression that when Hong Kong rejoined China in the middle of 1997, Hong
Kong residents would spill into the city buying up property as well as goods and services
from companies listed on the Shenzhen stock exchange. Investors, including small

             What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

individual investors who laid out their modest savings, began pouring money into the
stock exchange. When the time finally came for Hong Kong to reunite with the mainland,
the conclusion was anticlimactic. Many of the anticipated benefits simply did not occur,
and while some experienced asset appreciation others lost their entire savings.

Going Hi-Tech
Technologically, Shenzhen did not mature as fast as some had originally anticipated.
Recently, that trend has changed. The goal of making Shenzhen one of China's most
prevalent high-tech centers is definitely being realized. The combination of favorable
economic policy, coupled with a highly
educated work force, explains the progress
being made in Shenzhen's high technology
industries. In 1998 nearly a third of all
Chinese individuals holding a doctorate
degree resided in Shenzhen. Additionally,
10 percent of all residents are estimated to
be college graduates while less than half of
one percent of the national population has
                                                    2.2 An exhibition being held in
obtained a college degree. In 1998 Shenzhen         Shenzhen SEZ to showcase new
was responsible for approximately half of           technologies
China's information technology output, and the Internet industry is now beginning to gain
international exposure. Overseas investors, such as IDG and Pacific Venture Capital Co.,
are starting to channel money into the Shenzhen Internet industry.

According to a release from the Xinhua News Agency in mid-March of this year,
Shenzhen has 180,000 Internet users in the city and over 40 companies offering
Internet related services. Furthermore, an estimated 70 percent of these
Internet users are said to be using e-commerce to buy goods. Additionally, an
impressive list of multinational IT corporations that are increasingly being

             What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

drawn to Shenzhen including Microsoft, IBM, Lucent Technologies, Compaq and
Intel to name a few.

Future Growth
To believe that Shenzhen can maintain this level of sustained growth forever would be
irrational. As the cost of labour grows higher and other areas of China begin to adopt
more market-oriented policies, businesses will ultimately begin migrating to other parts of
this vast nation. This assumption is supported by the shear size of China and the
magnitude of natural, as, well as human resources that have remained untapped for so
many years. The only question remaining is at what speed will the central
government allow this to occur.

The wealth will inevitably begin to spread, but that does not mean Shenzhen
will fade into China's background. The wealth generated in this city over the
last twenty years has given rise to a burgeoning service sector and is home to
one of China's two stock markets. The city has become a regional financial
center. At the end of 1999 there were 100 financial institutions operating in
Shenzhen employing an estimated 30,000 professionals. According to the
Shenzhen Municipal Foreign Investment Bureau, at the end of 1999 there were
736 projects involving foreign direct investment in excess of US$ 10 million per
project, 109 projects involving amounts in excess of US$ 30 million per project
and 18 projects currently underway involving over US$ 100 million per project.

Transportation Issues
A major dilemma that China, as well as its trading partners face, is how to
effectively access and deliver goods and services to a large percentage of the
population that is geographically isolated from the major economic hubs in
China. Shenzhen is very important in this respect. Over the years, the city has
developed an advanced infrastructure that is now well poised to assist in
alleviating the burden that this problem presents. The city possesses 8 harbors
and 12 cargo docks and is home to the Huangtian International Airport, which is
the fourth largest airport in China. Additionally, both the Beijing-Canton

           What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

Railway and the Beijing Kowloon Railway converge in Shenzhen. Take the fact
that Shenzhen already has the infrastructure in place to be considered a
regional distribution center, and its continuous advancement in both the
financial and technology sectors, one can see that as China enters the WTO and
the global economy, it will look to Shenzhen as a road map for the future.

Already, 48 of the world's 500 top enterprises have taken root in Shenzhen.
Coupled with the rapid development of its export-oriented economy, the city
achieved an export volume worth US$26.4 billion in 1998, amounting to one-
seventh of China's total, topping the list of China's big and medium -sized
cities for six consecutive years. Output value of the city's high and new
technology products was worth 65.52 billion Yuan (US$7.89        billion) in 1998,
making up 35.4 per cent of the city's total industrial output.

The International Architecture Association awarded Shenzhen this year,
marking the first urban planning award in China and Asia. Shenzhen's
educational, scientific and cultural undertakings have also achieved one success
after another.

Computer hardware, software and phone-related products made up 70 per cent
of the city's total high-tech exports. Asian markets receive 60 per cent of these
goods. North America gets 26 per cent and Europe gets about 10 per cent. And
31 per cent of Shenzhen's high-tech exports were from State-owned
enterprises. Wholly foreign-funded enterprises shipped out 30 per cent, and
joint ventures made 28 per cent of the exports.

Shenzhen has become one of the world's most important manufacturing bases
for high and new technology, namely electronics. City's encouragement of local
enterprises to update technology and protect their intellectual property rights
has sharpened Shenzhen's competitive edge.

             What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

Future of Shenzhen – Next 5 Years

The guideline and goal for the next 5 years is to follow Deng Xiaoping's theory on
building socialism society of Chinese characteristics; take "hold on to the opportunity,
deepen the economic reform, open up further, promote development, and keep stability of
the society" as the guideline. Focus on establishing market economy and mechanism,
optimize economic structure, made the city functional better, build new and high
technology industrial development zone, regional information center, trading center,
distribution center, and turn Shenzhen into a modern, international city.

In more detail, Shenzhen is going to:

   1. Expedite the major projects of infrastructure construction. Infrastructure
       construction is what a city based upon to exist and develop. In the coming five
       years, in order to improve Shenzhen's investment environment, five networks are
       to be built: public transit network, water supply network, flood preventive
       network, power supply network, telecommunication network.

   2. Widen the range of structural adjustment of industry; enhance the quality of
       economic growth and economic efficiency. Increase the input and establish
       production base to support leading industries. Encourage the merge of production
       and capital. Adjust organizational structure; strengthen equity management,
       quality assurance, and financial management. Put emphasis on making use of up
       to date technology. Introduce new agricultural technology, increase value add and
       economic efficiency on agricultural products.

   3. Develop the service industry vigorously, perfecting the functionality as an
       international city. Developed service industry symbolizes a modern international
       city. We are to speed up the development of the service industry, and turn
       Shenzhen into a financial center, information center, trading center and
       distribution center.

             What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

Construction of the Regional Financial Centre
Invite more global banks and financial institutions to open office in Shenzhen; Develop
offshore business of domestic banks; broaden the coverage and internationalization of our
security industry, increase the radiation power of Shenzhen's financial institutions.

Construction of Regional Information Centre
As a hub of domestic and international market, Shenzhen boasts the unique
advantage in developing information industry. We are going to strengthen the
corporation with world's leading information service organizations, exploit
information sources in conjunction with these organizations to form a wide
connecting, highly efficient information network.

                2.3 China's Special Economic Zones gear up for WTO, future

  In recent years, the Chinese SEZs have been focusing on improving the overall economic
  quality and on developing high-tech industries and other economies with special features.
  Compared with other parts of China, the SEZs still hold an edge in utilizing domestic and
  overseas resources and markets and in adapting themselves to international common
  practices to boost economic development. Experts say that improving overall economic
  performance is a necessary choice for the SEZs, as China will face fiercer competition after
  its entry into the World Trade Organization. It is the only way for them to realize

  To hit the goal, analysts say, the SEZs should give national treatment to overseas investors
  for more funding while making efforts to open up overseas markets for their own
  companies products. By changing the past practice of offering preferential policies to
  overseas investors in certain fields, the SEZs have lifted all restrictions for them. According
  to officials, the expansion of reform in the SEZs will focus on systematic innovations,
  including adjustments in the ownership structure, and transformation of functions of
  government departments in accordance with international common practices.

             What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

                    Impact of SEZs on Chinese Economy

The favourable impact of the SEZs on the economy of China is fivefold:

      They attract foreign investment
      They help the growth of the export industry
      They earn foreign exchange
      They provide employment opportunities
      They help the indigenous economy improve its level of technology

These points are discussed below in detail:

       1. Foreign Investment – The preferential treaties of the SEZ's have attracted
foreign investors to invest a huge amount of money in China. For instance, Hainan and
Xiamen have attracted investments mostly from Taiwan. By June 1987, a total foreign
investment of $2.12 billion had been made in the five zones, amounting to one quarter of
the total foreign investment in China during this period. The most marked success was
registered in Shenzhen. By the end of 1986, it accounted for $1.4 billion through more
than 4000 economic cooperation agreements. One significant factor is that the investment
has not been confined to the export industry, but has permeated other sectors such as
infrastructure construction, commerce, tourism and real estate.

       2. Growth of Exports – As all five SEZs are coastal cities, they are convenient for
ocean transport routes and help to promote the export industry. Preferential policies have
encouraged foreigners to set up export- oriented factories in the territories. From 1985 to
1987, an annual average real growth rate of 83% was recorded for exports from the five
zones. Shenzhen's exports, for example, grew at an average rate of 70% during this
period. At the same time the proportion of the SEZs' industrial products that went to
export had risen to 53% by 1987.

               What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

        3. Foreign Exchange – The establishment of the SEZs has opened a way for China
to increase its trade with foreign countries. They not only enhance trading activities such
as foreign investment and tourism but also help China to earn foreign exchange through
these activities.

        4. Employment Opportunities – Since the beginning of the open-door policy,
small-scale private businesses have been allowed to coexist with state enterprises. This
has increased employment opportunities for local people and raised the level of economic
activity. Also, many state workers sense that going into business on their own may
provide greater income potential. They generally adopt an attitude commonly known in
China as "I Bu Zho Er Bu Shu", which, loosely translated, means ‘refusing to work and
refusing to relax’. Many prefer to work for joint-venture firms for higher wages. So the
average income in SEZs now ranks as the highest in China.

        5. Improvement in Technology – In theory advanced technology and know-how
will also flow into the country as a result of foreign investment. In turn, with increasing
exports the force of international competition may bring greater pressure on Chinese
firms to adopt more efficient work practices. It is perhaps questionable how much benefit
the wider Chinese economy has reaped from these investments. The technology, patents
and know-how remain firmly the property of, and are controlled by the parent companies.
It may however be the case that in the long run the work culture and practices adopted by
foreign companies could have some wash-back effect over wider economic practices in
the country.

In conclusion, the establishment of the SEZs has helped to increase the export trade,
which in turn has helped to improve the Chinese economy. Preferential treaties have been
offered in the five SEZs to attract foreign investment. A large amount of foreign
investment has occurred not only in the export trade, but also in infrastructure
construction, commerce and tourism. Foreign companies have been encouraged to set up
factories in the territories and the export industry has grown. Jobs opportunities have been
provided for locals as factories need labour and the average income of the people has
increased. In addition, advanced foreign technology has been brought in with the inflow

            What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

of foreign investment. All these factors have contributed to the growth of the Chinese
economy. It remains to be seen if these quantitative advances, in which the SEZs have
played an important role, are matched by commensurate advances in the quality of life for
the majority of Chinese people.

        3.1 Not all roses - Unwanted byproducts of SEZ developments

  About 27 million people, 90 per cent of whom are women, work in export
  processing zones worldwide, often earning low wages in poor working conditions,
  the International Labour Organisation (ILO) said. The United Nations agency also
  said that the industrial zones, which import and process materials before
  exporting them again, were huge employment generators but often lacked
  meaningful links with the domestic economies around them

                                  Vietnamese example

  The rapid socio-economic development in southern Vietnam’s Dong Nai Province
  recently has been attributed to its successful Industrial Zones (IZs), which have
  resulted in impressive job generation and export figures. More than 80,000 jobs
  have been generated by the IZs over the past five years and more than US$2.7
  billion in export revenues has been earned by enterprises operating within them.
  Total revenues for the IZs during that period topped $4.7 billion, contributing
  $176 million to the State budget, nearly $1 billion in export receipts Throughout
  the country most of the projects in the IZs focus on sectors that is expected to
  provide quick returns on capital such as motorbike and electronics assembly and
  other industrial consumer goods. Little attention has been paid by investors, to
  key industrial sectors such as engineering, electronics and chemical production
  and food processing. Furthermore, nearly 80 percent of foreign-invested projects
  use obsolete     machinery     and    equipment,   resulting   in    products  of
  low competitiveness aimed at domestic consumers, Another problem was that
  the occupancy rate of the IZs remains low with only some 41 percent of the total
  land area let to investors at present.

             What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

Current Scenario

WHILE celebrating the 20th anniversary of China's four earliest Special Economic Zones
(SEZs) on August 26, the cities of Shenzhen, Xiamen, Zhuhai and Shantou, and Hainan
Province mapped out development blueprints for the new century. Analysts believe that
by setting the goals for modernization, the SEZs are still leading other parts of the country
in development as they were 20 years ago.

Two decades ago, local authorities in Shenzhen, encouraged and supported by senior
Chinese leaders including Deng Xiaoping, were determined to blaze a trail for China's
reform and opening-up drive. Shenzhen has then become a window of the country to the
outside world and a platform for reform measures, along with Xiamen, Zhuhai and

To ensure successful reform and opening up in the SEZs, China introduced a wide range
of special preferential policies. As the opening-up drive swept other parts of the country,
the preferential policies were applied to more regions. The saying that special economic
zones are no longer special prevails in the country. However, the SEZs have not lost their
vitality. And observers say that the SEZs still shoulder a historical mission today.

In recent years, the SEZs have been focusing on improving the overall economic quality
and on developing high-tech industries and other economies with special features.
Compared with other parts of China, the SEZs still hold an edge in utilizing domestic and
overseas resources and markets and in adapting themselves to international practices to
boost economic development.

While fully expanding economic co-operation with multinationals, Shenzhen is tightening
ties with Hong Kong, and Xiamen and Hainan with Taiwan. In Shantou, efforts have been
made to attract overseas Chinese, one of the major channels of overseas investment to the
Chinese mainland.

Experts say that improving overall economic performance is a necessary choice for the

             What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

SEZs, as China will face fiercer competition after its entry into the World Trade
Organization. It is the only way for them to realize modernization. To hit the goal,
analysts say, the SEZs should give national treatment to overseas investors for more
funding while making efforts to open up overseas markets for their own companies'

By changing the past practice of offering preferential policies to overseas investors in
certain fields, the SEZs have lifted all restrictions for them. According to officials, the
expansion of reform in the SEZs will focus on systematic innovations, including
adjustments in the ownership structure, and transformation of functions of government
departments in accordance with international practices.

The government should also simplify procedures to make it easier to get businesses up
and running and give a bigger role to the market, while improving services, experts say.
At the same time, efforts must be made to improve the social security system and the
financing system, and have intermediary organs operating according to standards.

The forthcoming 50 years will be an important historical period in China's drive to realize
modernization and make the Chinese nation's long-cherished dream of building a
powerful China come true. Experts are confident that Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Shantou,
Xiamen, and Hainan will set the pace in China's drive toward modernization.

             What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

                    Beginning of Economic Zones in India

The policies of Liberalisation, privatization and globalisation (LPG) that were introduced
in 1991 removed the highly complex system of controls prevailing in post-independent
India. Now, in the new market scenario, it became very important to become competitive
in terms of price, but also quality, time, service, etc. India has always paid more attention
to its exports, because they earn revenue. To increase them, the idea of Export Promotion
Zones (EPZ) was conceived. These were areas where import substitution was not
followed and all inputs for any manufacturing process were allowed to be imported
freely. Such zones were established to promote trade and to develop a specific industry by
providing it with the entire infrastructure it needs.

Evolving Concept
This initial concept was called EPZ (Export Processing Zone) and was introduced first in
Kandla, Gujarat. The Indian manufacturer was nowhere in terms of international
standards of either quality or price. So, to make him globally competitive, the government
had to provide some incentives to him. Most of these incentives could be used by almost
every producer everywhere. But, there were special incentives which, when given, could
result in a very low cost of production for the manufacturer and there was a risk then that
the goods could then end up being sold in the domestic market instead of being exported.
So, the government established special zones where people could come in, establish their
factories, procure (buy domestically or import) whatever they would require for
production, produce locally and then export these goods. For such a situation, there
needed to be precise control over every importer and all his actions, which could lead to
any harm to national interest. To prevent all this, EPZs were established, which were
land-locked areas, under constant surveillance by the customs authorities and security
personnel of the zone. These zones would regulate all the material coming into and going
out of the zone and thus, keep a check on the manufacturers’ actions.

EPZs worldwide
Thus, EPZs were set up with the aim of boosting export-oriented investment and for
eliminating the constraints imposed by India’s trade and industrial policies. As a concept,

            What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

EPZ dates back to 1962. Some of the first EPZs were founded in Puerto Rico in 1962,
Mexico (1964), Kandla (1965), Taiwan (1966), South Korea (1971), Philippines and
Malaysia (1972). The EPZ set up in Mauritius is not based on geographical and locational
advantages but is more a functional concept.

Most of these countries have had a good and fulfilling experience by setting up EPZs.
EPZs have helped promote an export-oriented industrialization strategy with increasing
value-additions in domestic production. Studies have shown that countries where EPZs
function have had excellent performances on the trade front.

Of the 850 EPZs worldwide, a large number of them operate in developing countries. The
world over, it has been observed that processing exports have outperformed others. In
fact, most Asian and Latin American countries have excelled in trade only due to the
processing trade.

The Government of India had established seven EPZs over a period of time. These were:

1. Kandla Free Trade Zone (KAFTZ), Kandla, Gujarat – 1965;
2. Santa Cruz Electronic Export Processing Zone (SEEPZ), S. Cruz, Maharashtra –
3. Cochin Export Processing Zone (CEPZ), Cochin, Kerala;
4. Falta Export Processing Zone (FEPZ), Falta, West Bengal – 1984;
5. Madras Export Processing Zone (MEPZ), Madras, Tamil Nadu;
6. Noida Export Processing Zone (NEPZ), Noida, Uttar Pradesh – 1985;
7. Visakhapatnam Export Processing Zone (VEPZ), Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.

Kandla was the only Free Trade Zone in India and was the first zone to be established in

While the Santa Cruz Electronics Export Processing Zone (SEEPZ) was meant
exclusively for the exports of electronics and gems and jewellery, all other zones were
multi-product zones. 100% foreign equity was welcome in EOUs and EPZs.

What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

                           What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

                                    Shortcomings & Problems of EPZs

According to an Audit Report conducted on EPZs and FTZs in 1999, SEEPZ earned only
US$ 1.25 bn. net foreign exchange in the past 8 years.

The reasons for this were attributed to the following causes:
                     Failure to elicit full commitment from people as they stay far away from their
                      place of work.
                     Insufficient comprehensive and well-knitted internal and backup infrastructure.
                     High dependence on outside infrastructure created and maintained by different
                      agencies lacking co-ordination. The result: under achievement of actual potential.
                     Limited possibility of improving connecting infrastructure to enhance the
                      performance of existing EPZ/FTZ.

                                        Share of EPZ units in Total Exports

                      160000                                            4.5%
                      140000                                            4.0%
                                                                               EPZs share in Total

   Rupees in Crores


                                                                        2.5%                         Total Exports
                                                                        2.0%                         EPZ Share
                      40000                                             1.0%
                      20000                                             0.5%
                           0                                            0.0%
                                95-96      96-97   97-98        98-99

 5.1 The above graph shows that the EPZs never really contributed a
 substantial amount in the national exports. Also, the share of EPZ unit
 exports in total exports was more or less at the same ratio over the 3 years
 from 96-97 to 98-99.

            What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

For example:
On 12th March 1994, a memorandum was submitted to Shri Zafar Saifullah, Cabinet
Secretary, Government of India regarding the problems of EPZs and EOUs. The
Development Commissioner, SEEPZ, Santacruz Electronics Export Manufacturers’
Association (SEEMA), and the SEEPZ Gems & Jewellery Manufacturers’ Association,
SEEPZ submitted this memorandum in association with the Federation of Indian Export
Processing Zones Industries Association.

The main problems highlighted in this report were:
          Inconsistencies in government regulations – The Import Trade Control and
           Exchange Control Regulations have changed over time to benefit EPZ units,
           but the customs regulations were still governed by the notification issued at
           the time of formation of the zones. This resulted in a situation wherein certain
           activities permitted by the EXIM policy could not be undertaken, as the same
           were not permitted by the customs regulations.
          Customs working & procedures – The units in the zone were allowed to work
           7 days a week to maximize exports, but the Customs department worked only
           5 days a week, resulting in the units having to wait for 2 days to get clearance
           for their activities. Also, there was still a lot of red-tapism left while dealing
           with issues like returning of export goods, return of rejected components, de-
           bonding of capital equipment, waste disposal
          Modes of transportation – Courier was not recognised as an approved mode of
           transportation and hence any goods received by courier had to be notified and
           duty had to be paid on them.

Also, there were problems with the formation of Trade Unions, multiplicity of bonds, fax
copies not accepted by customs, hassles in sub-contracting, DTA sales regulations, etc.
These, and many other such trivial matters were barriers in the proper working of the
units in the zones. Over a period of time, some of these hassles were done away with. But

              What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

there was never a situation when the units in the zones were really satisfied with the

The experience of Export Processing Zones (EPZs), which were duty-free enclaves, has
not been up to expectations. Even with flexibility to sell 50 per cent of exports in DTA at
concessional rates of duties, most EPZ units have failed. The eight EPZs together
contributed barely 3.7 per cent of the country’s total exports.

In fact, other than Santacruz Electronic EPZ, the other seven EPZs together contributed to
only about 1.41 per cent of the country’s exports. There is a very strong view in the
revenue department that the dismal performance of the EPZ units does not justify the
revenue sacrifice or revenue leakage inherent in the schemes. In their eyes, the EPZs have

These shortcomings were responsible for the recent makeover of these EPZs into SEZs.
The transition process is covered in the next Chapter.

    5.2 Customs probe Bharat Shah's export units for diamond smuggling
  In January 2001, SEEPZ customs conducted a stock taking of two units from Jan
  31, 2000. B V Star and B V Jewels (both owned by Bharat Shah) were probed for
  suspected diamond smuggling. The following was found:

       Diamonds worth 26.29 cr (73730 cts) of B V Jewels were found short,
    allegedly were smuggled out of SEEPZ. Customs duty demanded, therefore, is
    Rs 12.54 cr
       B V Jewels had also suppressed the facts of disposal of capital goods
    worth Rs 58.34 lakh to one SB &T International Ltd, SEEPZ, without permission
    of customs. The customs duty foregone was Rs 39.31 lakh. That is how the
    total duty demanded is Rs 12.94 cr
       Suresh Mehta, a partner in both companies, had shown possession of 23
    diamonds of 27.42 cts, valued at Rs 39.63 lakh, for which he could not show
    legal import documents.
       B V Jewels exported diamonds worth Rs 27 cr studded in jewellery,
    between 1998 and Feb 2000, but could not show how they had procured these.
       Further, another unaccounted lot of diamonds of B V Jewels weighing
    10631.39 cts and valued at Rs 4.03 cr, were found without corresponding
    documents to show legal possession.
       In the case of B V Star, which had no production since 1997, customs
    duty of Rs 2.57 cr is demanded because of shortage of 8604.5 gms of gold and

        What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

844.16 cts of diamonds revealed in the stock taking.

             What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

                                   Change to SEZs

EXIM Policy changes

Realising the failures and shortcomings of the EPZ Scheme in India, the Commerce
Ministry decided to improve the existing situation. The changes and fine-tuning done in
the existing EPZs was to no avail and was not yielding the required results. An Indian
delegation headed by the then Director-General of Foreign Trade, Mr. N.L. Lakhanpal
visited UAE and saw the Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZ), Dubai and Fujairah Free Zone
(FFZ) there. This was the birth of the idea of having similar zones in India.

Toying with the idea of Free Trade Zones / Free Zones
After the delegation came back, it submitted a report on the findings of the visit. The
report recommended that the Development Commissioners of each zone (in India) should
be vested with all the authority regarding their respective zones, thus making them the
ultimate local authority on all issues, as is the case in UAE. Also, like their UAE
counterparts, the Indian DCs should be required to prepare a Business Guide. The report
also stated that the Free Zones in UAE accounted for all duty-free raw material, ensuring
it was used for export. Even in the case of DTA, they would ensure that it was after
payment of full customs duty on the value of the finished goods. The commerce ministry
then decided to convert all existing EPZs into FTZs with SEEPZ, Noida and Kandla
being converted that year, and the rest to follow.

Reducing role of Customs
According to the proposed policy, the role of customs was to reduce and the new zones
would be exempt from all customs department rules and regulations from July 1, 1999.
After the proposed conversion of the units to FTZs, the role of the customs department
officials was to be confined to working outside the units, giving them total operational
flexibility, as proposed in the revised export and import policy (1997-2002). The FTZs
would have been outside the customs ambit with checks only at the entry and exit points
by customs officers.

               What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

Under the new scheme, FTZs would be permitted to sell 50 per cent of their production in
the DTA, subject to payment full customs duties. This means the remaining half alone
needed to be exported. But, according to ministry officials, for their own survival, the
units would have to find markets for their entire production, as DTA sale will prove rather

The Indian labour laws ere to apply to FTZs though the commerce ministry's ultimate
objective is to make these inapplicable. The practice the world over is to exempt FTZs
from the purview of labour laws.

Arrival of SEZs
The plans for the FTZs got shelved eventually. Mr. Murasoli Maran, the Minister for
Commerce & Industry, suggested the setting up of Special Economic Zones in India,
similar to the ones in China. This decision to set up SEZs was the highlight of the EXIM

The decision was commendable, but it did not take into account several things. The initial
proposed SEZ Scheme was not a major improvement over the existing EPZ Scheme at
that time. Basically, almost all the features of the original SEZ Scheme already existed in
the form of incentives available to EPZ units. The major advantage for SEZ units was
that they had to now achieve only positive net foreign exchange earning as a
percentage of exports (NFEP), where as EOU/EPZ units with investment of less than
Rs 5 crore in plant and machinery had to achieve minimum stipulated NFEP.

Inadequate extra facilities over EPZs
The relaxation for SEZ units was significant but not sufficient enough to sway the
decision of the entrepreneurs in favour of setting up units in SEZ. The major advantage
for EOU/EPZ units was that they could sell upto 50 per cent of their exports in the DTA
at half the rates of customs duties, whereas SEZ manufactures could sell in DTA only on
payment of full duties. DTA sale was a very important option for EOU/EPZ/SEZ units, as
the international markets are not always booming or lucrative.

             What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

Trading units in SEZ/EPZ were not allowed to sell in DTA. Ideally, so long as the trading
unit paid full import duties on DTA sales, there should have been no restrictions.

Unmet expectations
The commerce minister had announced that the EPZ at SEEPZ, Kandla, Cochin and
Viskhapatnam would be converted to SEZ. The transitional arrangements for existing
EPZ units who did not want to opt for SEZ scheme was that they had to convert into EOU
or de-bond. In either case, they had to move out of EPZ, which was difficult for existing

The industry felt that the government needed to make SEZs an attractive destination for
entrepreneurs. The most oft-repeated request was that the government should treat SEZ as
foreign territory for all purposes. There was also a feeling that the supplies from DTA to
SEZ must be treated as physical exports and that all the customs notifications should
apply to sales from SEZ to DTA as they apply to physical imports.

The existing EPZs were converted to SEZs and activated on 1st November 2000. Also,
proposals for the establishment of new SEZs were cleared. This was followed by some
notifications being issued which made the necessary changes in the SEZ Scheme. The
most prominent among them was the declaration of SEZs as foreign territory. The
Finance Ministry declared the area under the SEZs as `foreign territory' for the purpose of
duties and taxes. This means that goods supplied to the SEZ from the Domestic Tariff
Area (DTA) will be treated as `deemed' exports and goods brought from the SEZ to the
DTA will be treated as `imported' goods. Thus, was evolved, the present concept of SEZs
in India.

             What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

Present SEZ Concept

The facilities available to SEZ units are as follows:

Customs related:

      No license required for import.
      Exemption from custom duty on import of capital goods, raw materials,
       consumables etc.
      Exemption from Central Excise Duty on procurement of capital goods, raw
       materials etc. from the domestic market.
      Exemption from Custom/Excise duty on import/domestic procurement of goods
       for setting up of units in the Zone
      Supplies from DTA to SEZ will be treated as deemed exports.
      Reimbursement of Central Sale Tax (CST) on inter-State purchases.
      Reimbursement of duty paid on Furnace oil as per Drawback rate notified by
      SEZ units have to be a net foreign exchange earner. No pre-determined foreign
       exchange earning or minimum performance requirement.
      Access to domestic market.
      Simplified Custom procedure.
      Trading activity for exports permitted.
      Fast track clearance of imports and exports.
      Job working/sub-contracting facilities for exports, including for jewellery units.
      Facility to subcontract part of production abroad
      In-house Custom clearance.
      Ready infrastructure.
      Duty free goods to be utilized within the approval period of 5 years.
      Performance of units to be monitored by a committee consisting of Development
       Commissioner and Customs.

               What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

      No separate documentation required under Customs and EXIM Policy.
      Export defective goods etc. without GR waiver

Investment related:

      100% FDI permissible for units in SEZs in manufacturing sector barring few
      No Cap on foreign investment for SSI reserved items.
      Exemption from industrial licensing requirement for items reserved for SSI sector.

Foreign exchange related:

      Profits allowed to be repatriated freely without any dividend-balancing
      100% of foreign exchange earnings can be retained in EEFC account.
      External commercial borrowing shall be subject to usual procedure.
      Facility to realize and repatriate Export proceeds within 12 months.

Tax related:

      Attractive tax holiday upto 2010 as per Section 10A of the Income Tax Act.

Labour Laws:

The labour laws of the land will apply to all units inside the Zone. However, the
respective State Governments may declare units within the SEZ as public utilities and
may delegate the powers of the Labour Commissioner to the Development Commissioner
of the SEZ.

Role of State Governments
State Governments will have a very important role to play in the establishment of SEZ.
Representative of the State Government, who is a member of the Inter-Ministerial
Committee on private SEZ, is consulted while considering the proposal. Before

                What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

recommending any proposals to the Ministry of Commerce & Industry (Department of
Commerce), the States must satisfy themselves that they are in a position to supply basic
inputs like water, electricity, etc.

Terms and Conditions for establishment

       Only units approved under SEZ scheme would be permitted to be located in SEZ.
       The SEZ units shall abide by local laws, rules, regulations or bye-laws in regard to
        area planning, sewerage disposal, pollution control and the like. They shall also
        comply with industrial and labour laws as may be locally applicable.
       The SEZ should have an area preferably of 1000 hectares.
       Such SEZ shall make security arrangement to fulfill all the requirements of the
        laws, rules and procedure applicable to such SEZ.
       Wherever the SEZs are landlocked, an Inland Container Depot (ICD) will be an
        integral part of SEZs.

The main differences between the EPZ and SEZ Schemes are:

       No minimum Export Performance (EP) or Net Foreign Exchange earnings as
        Percentage of exports (NFEP) is needed in an SEZ, as for EPZ units.
       Monitoring of performance of SEZ units by a Committee headed by Development
        Commissioner and consisting of Customs.
       Duty to be recovered in case of failure to achieve positive NFEP under Custom
        Act in proportion to shortfall unlike in EPZ.
       Unlimited DTA sales on full duty. For EPZ, only 50% of exports
       No linkage with positive NFEP for domestic sale for SEZ units. In EPZ sales are
        subject to achievement of NFEP.
       Duty free material to be utilized over five years unlike in EPZ where it is one
       Subcontracting facility available to SEZ jewellery units, which is not available to
        EPZ units.
       All imports on self-certification, unlike in EPZ, where attestation of Development
        Commissioner is required for import of Capital Goods.

            What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

      No routine examinations by Customs of export and import cargo in SEZ.
      100% FDI through Automatic Route available to manufacturing SEZ units. In
       EPZ, FIPB approval required.
      Procedural simplification for operations like record keeping, inter-unit transfer,
       subcontracting, disposal of obsolete material, waste and scrap.
      Other facilities like tax holiday, retention of 70% of export earnings in EEFC
       Account, etc. are common for both EPZ and SEZ.

Salient features and schemes of an SEZ in India

      Units set up in SEZs which will operate under a single purpose bond, can import
       or procure goods from the DTA duty-free for manufacture of goods and services,
       trading, production, processing, assembling etc and exports thereof.

      Goods can be sold in the DTA only if the unit achieves the Net Foreign exchange
       Earning as a Percentage of exports (NFEP) annually and cumulatively as specified
       in the EXIM Policy. A trading unit has to achieve a turnover of $1 million in five
       years. Penal action can be taken on default.

      DTA sales are, however, banned for goods that have been imported both as scrap
       as well as for repair. Trading units in the SEZs also cannot sell goods in the DTA.

      SEZ units can import and export through port, airport, land customs station, ICD,
       CFS, courier mode and post parcel. Software development units can import and
       export through data communication and telecommunication links.

      The norms for procurement of goods from domestic sources by SEZ units will be
       the same as those laid down for the EPZ units. In respect of imported and
       domestically procured cargo, goods will be assessed on the basis of documents
       provided by the units and there will be no physical examination. However,
       customs authorities may examine such cargo when there is specific information
       regarding clandestine removal.

         What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

   Exports will be permitted on the basis of self-certification by the units and there
    will be no routine examination of the consignment by the SEZ custom authorities.
    At the gateway port, the SEZ cargo will be subject to the examination procedure
    as per instructions in force.

   SEZ units will have to maintain financial year-wise accounts of all forex inflow
    by way of exports and other receipts; all forex outflow on account of payment of
    dividend, royalty, fees etc and sale in the DTA. Units can also undertake job work
    for the DTA without payment of duty. Provisions have also been made for
    temporary removal of goods into the DTA and to other SEZ, STP, and EOU
    zones. Inter-unit transfer of goods amongst SEZs will not be subject to customs
    scrutiny. Duty remission will be available on destruction of goods within the
    SEZs. Units have also been permitted to dispose obsolete goods on payment of the
    applicable customs duties.

   In case of imports, the Bill of Entry with specially stamped endorsement as "SEZ
    Cargo" is filed with the Assistant Commissioner/Deputy Commissioner of
    Customs in the SEZ for assessment. For procurement of goods from domestic
    sources by SEZ units, CT-3 certificates are issued to the units and against such
    CT-3; the goods including capital goods are procured from DTA without payment
    of duty. In both cases, i.e. both in respect of imported and domestically procured
    cargo, the goods are assessed on the basis of documents furnished by the units.
    Goods are not examined physically and ‘out-of-charge’ is given after verifying the
    marks and numbers on the packages only.

   When the import consignments are required to be transshipped to a SEZ located at
    a station away from the place of import, the same is allowed under normal transit
    procedure. The unit files the Bill of Entry with the Assistant Commissioner/
    Deputy Commissioner of Customs in-charge of the SEZ on the basis of the transit

         What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

   In case of exports, the Shipping Bill along with relevant documents is filed with
    the Customs authorities in the Zone. As in the case of imports, the SEZ export
    cargo is not examined in routine and export is allowed on the basis of self-
    certification by the units. The units, after self-examination of the consignments,
    are required to submit the shipping bills to the Assistant Commissioner/Deputy
    Commissioner of Customs for "let export" order. After obtaining the "let export"
    endorsement on the shipping bill, the consignment is taken to the gateway port for
    export. At the gateway port also, the SEZ export consignment is not examined in
    routine. However, whether at the Zone or at gateway port or during transit of such
    cargo, the Customs authorities can examine the consignments when there is a
    specific information/intelligence. For this purpose, the orders of the Assistant
    Commissioner/Deputy Commissioner of Customs are required to be obtained.

   Sub-contracting:     The SEZ units are allowed to sub-contract part of the
    production process abroad. Approval for sub-contracting abroad is accorded by
    the Board of Approval. The goods sent for job-work abroad are to be returned to
    the unit for final processing/manufacturing before exports. The unit is required to
    execute a suitable bond for sub-contracting 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.
    The SEZ units are also 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 SEZ units and export documents are made in the name of the DTA
    unit. On export of such goods manufactured by SEZ unit 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.
    The SEZ units are allowed to remove the moulds, jigs, tool, fixtures, tackles,
    instruments, hangers, patterns and drawings without payment of duty to the
    premises of the sub-contractors subject to the condition that such goods are
    brought back to the unit on completion of the job work within the period specified
    in this behalf.

         What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

   Gem and Jewellery units in SEZ:
    Generally speaking, sub-contracting is not allowed to gem and jewellery units.
    However, the gem and jewellery units in SEZ are allowed to take out
    gold/silver/platinum for sub-contracting subject to the condition that goods,
    finished or semi-finished, including studded jewellery, containing quantity and
    purity equal to the gold/silver/platinum so taken out are brought back to the Zone
    within 30 days. It is to be noted that diamonds, precious or semi-precious stones
    are not allowed to be taken out for sub-contracting. The gem and jewellery units
    are also allowed to receive plain gold/silver/platinum jewellery from DTA in
    exchange of gold/silver/platinum of equal quantity and purity. These units are,
    however, not eligible for any wastage or manufacturing loss against the jewellery
    received from DTA after processing or against exchange of gold/silver/platinum.
    The DTA units undertaking job work or supplying jewellery against exchange of
    gold/silver/platinum are not entitled to deemed export benefits. The gem and
    jewellery units are also allowed to sub-contract part of the production or
    production process through other units in the same SEZ subject to records being
    maintained by both the supplying and the receiving units.

    Further, the gem and jewellery units in SEZ are allowed certain other facilities as
    mentioned below:

    (i) Taking out the items of gem and jewellery into DTA temporarily without
    payment of duty for the purpose of display and return thereafter;

    (ii) Personal carriage of gold/silver/platinum jewellery or precious or semi-
    precious stones or beads and articles as samples up to 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;

         What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

    (iv) Removal of parts & tools of machine temporarily without payment of duty for
    the purpose of repair and return thereof.

    (v) Taking out gem and jewellery manufactured in the SEZ to the retail outlets or
    showrooms set up in the departure lounge at international airports for sale to a
    tourist, as defined in the Baggage Rules, 1998, leaving India.

    (vi) Sale of gem and jewellery manufactured in the SEZ to a foreign-bound
    passenger and transferring the same 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.

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

    For availing of the above mentioned facilities, prior permission of Assistant

    Commissioner / Deputy Commissioner is required.

    In case of gem & jewellery units, 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 Zone 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.

   Inter-Unit Transfer:
    Inter unit transfer of goods amongst units in a SEZ does not require any prior
    permission, but the supplying and receiving units are required to maintain proper
    accounts of the transaction

         What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

   Duty Remission on Destruction of Goods:
    A provision has been made in the notifications that duty would not be levied on
    capital goods, raw materials, components, waste or scrap etc. if these goods were
    destroyed in the presence of the Customs authorities. This provision, however,
    does not apply to gold, silver, platinum, diamond, precious stones and semi-
    precious stones. The officers supervising destruction are required to ensure that
    goods are destroyed fully rendering them unfit for further use and give certificate
    to that effect. After destruction of capital goods, raw materials, components, waste
    or scrap etc., if the remains have scrap value, the unit in DTA on payment of duty
    applicable to scrap can clear the same

   DTA Sale:
    The facility of DTA sale is available to the SEZ units. Under the Scheme, finished
    goods including by-products and services and waste/scrap/remnants/rejects etc.
    can be sold in the DTA on payment of applicable duty and in accordance with the
    Export-Import Policy in force. However, where such finished goods (including
    rejects, waste and scrap materials) are not excisable, duty equal in amount to that
    leviable on the inputs imported/indigenously procured under the notifications and
    used for the purpose of manufacture of such finished goods, which would have
    been paid but for the exemption under the said notifications, is payable at the time
    of clearance of such finished goods. In case of service sector SEZ units, the
    rendering of services in DTA is allowed subject to the condition that the unit has
    achieved the positive NFE, cumulatively, as specified in the Policy. This would
    mean that service units would not be eligible for making DTA sale if the NFE is
    not positive cumulatively at any point of time. Further, if any of such services are
    taxable under provisions of Chapter V of Finance Act, 1994, then rendering of
    such services in DTA would require payment of service tax as per the provisions
    of Finance Act, 1994.
    Levy of Central Excise Duty on Goods Produced or Manufactured by SEZ Units

    and Cleared into Domestic Tariff Area:

         What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

    In terms of section 3 of the Central Excise Act, 1944, the excise duty leviable on
    goods manufactured in an SEZ unit and cleared into Domestic Tariff Area is an
    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 duty is worked out
    exactly in the same manner as applicable to imported goods.

   Maintenance of Accounts:
    A SEZ unit is required to maintain proper account in the format convenient to it

    and financial year-wise, of all foreign exchange inflow by way of exports and

    other receipts, all foreign exchange out flow on account of imports, payment of

    dividend, royalty, fees etc., consumption and utilisation of the materials and sale

    in the DTA. The units are required to submit regularly quarterly statement to the

    Development Commissioner and the Customs in this regard in the format

    prescribed at Appendix 16H of the Hand Book of Procedures.

   Monitoring of activities of SEZ units:
    All activities of the SEZ unit, unless otherwise specified, are through self-
    certification procedure and are monitored by a Committee comprising
    Development Commissioner and Customs. The Development Commissioner in
    charge of the Zone heads the Committee. The Committee is also required to see
    that wastage / manufacturing loss on gold/ silver/platinum jewellery and articles
    are within the overall percentage prescribed in Appendix-41 of the Handbook
    (Vol-1). In case of higher wastage/manufacturing loss, the Committee is required
    to satisfy itself of the reasonableness of the same.

   Penal action in case of default:
    The Customs officials posted in SEZs are not supposed to visit the units for
    verification of records or even otherwise in routine. However, in case of specific
    information/intelligence which, prima facie, show that there is fraud, collusion,
    mis-declaration, suppression of information etc having a bearing on the export

             What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

      performance of the unit or where there is specific information regarding
      clandestine/unauthorized removal of goods into DTA etc, the Customs officials
      can visit the units for verification of records, goods etc. so as to initiate
      proceedings under Customs Act, 1962. The Assistant Commissioner/Deputy
      Commissioner may keep a watch on the export performance of the units and in the
      event of non-achievement of positive NFE within the stipulated period; action can
      be taken against the units for recovery of the duty and interest. So far as utilization
      of imported/indigenously procured goods is concerned, the same may be utilized
      within the period of five years. In case of failure to utilize the imported /
      indigenously procured goods within the period of five years, the unit is liable to
      pay duty on the said unutilized goods along with the interest at the rate of 24% per
      annum from the date of importation or procurement of the said unutilized goods
      till the date of payment of such duty.

 SEZ is an evolving Scheme and more features would be added as required.

                           6.1 Structure & Role of Trade Unions in China
A study of Chinese trade unions will be interesting. Comparison with Indian labour laws almost
certainly makes it clear that Indian SEZs will not enjoy same level of labour cooperation that their
Chinese counterparts enjoy.

Chinese trade unions are organized on a broad industrial basis. Membership is open to those who rely
on wages for the whole or a large part of their income – a qualification that excludes most agricultural
workers. In theory, membership is not compulsory, but in view of the unions' role in the distribution of
social benefits; the economic pressure to join is considerable. The lowest unit is the Enterprise Union
Committee. Individual trade unions also operate at the provincial level, and there are trade union
councils that coordinate all union activities within a particular area and operate at county, municipal,
and provincial levels. At the top of the movement is the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, which
discharges its functions through a number of regional federations.

In theory, the appropriate trade union organizations are consulted on the level of wages as well as on
wage differentials, but in practice their role in these and similar matters is insignificant. They do not
engage in collective bargaining – not at all surprising, since their principal duties include assisting the
party and promoting production. In fulfilling these tasks, they have a role in enforcing labour
discipline. From the point of view of the membership, the most important activities concern the social
and welfare services. Thus, it is the unions that look after industrial safety; organize social and cultural
activities; provide services such as clinics, rest and holiday homes, hostels, libraries, and clubs; and
administer old-age pensions, workers' insurance, disability benefits, and other welfare schemes.

             What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

                                      SEEPZ SEZ

SEEPZ (Santacruz Electronics Export Processing Zone) was formed in 1974 exclusively
for electronics. SEEPZ was established on land leased by the Government of India
(Ministry of Commerce) from MIDC for a period of 99 years. MIDC, in turn had taken
this land on lease from the Maharashtra Government. MIDC and the Government of India
together developed the basic infrastructure needed for such an EPZ to exist. The
Government of India did all the funding and MIDC cleared the land, laid the roads,
provided adequate water supply and arranged for an uninterruptible power supply source.
Thus, SEEPZ was finally established basically for the electronic industry as government
had identified it as a strategic sector and wanted rapid growth in it. In 1988-89, seeing the
potential of the Gem & Jewellery industry, this industry was also made a part of SEEPZ.

Infrastructure Facilities at SEEPZ

The Philosophy while landscaping SEEPZ was to have Mother Nature live in harmony
with industrial manufacturing and technology. All set in a sophisticated infrastructure
catering to all basic needs of industry.

Inexpensive Factory Space or Land
At SEEPZ, plots are given on lease for a period of 30 years, at rates
fixed from time to time. The initial rates were Rs. 10/- per sq.
metre per annum for an SDF plot. Entrepreneurs can construct
their own buildings on these plots. For this purpose the SEEPZ
administration will obtain all necessary permissions and clearances.
Also, Standard Design Factories (SDFs) are available on a 5-year
renewable lease basis at the rate of Rs. 650 per sq. metre per annum
plus Municipal Taxes (10%). When an entrepreneur begins production in the very first
year of obtaining the SDF shed, he is entitled to a concession of 50% of the lease rent in
the first year, 40% in the second year and 25% in the third year. Again the space allotted

             What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

to an entrepreneur inside the SDF shed is based on his export projections. All internal
partitions, air conditioning, electrical wiring, etc. are to be carried out by the entrepreneur.

Uninterrupted Power
The generating stations of western Maharashtra ensure uninterrupted supply of power at
                  the rate of Rs. 4.74 per unit. SEEPZ is exempt from the payment of
                  taxes on the purchase of power or on its sale. The units are also allowed
                  to generate and/or sell their own power without any obligation to pay

Abundant Water
The Zone has an assured supply of 4.55 million litres of water a
day at the rate of Rs. 21 for every 1000 litres.

Hi-Tech Communication Facilities
                           The most important facility that lures software enterprises to
                           SEEPZ is the hi-tech 64KB/128KB/256KB line, that enables
                           these companies to communicate and videoconference over the
                           satellite to any of the branches around the world. A telephone /
                           telex connection is given to SEEPZ units on priority basis.

Adequate Warehousing and Forwarding Facilities
A large warehouse called an Inland Container Depot (ICD) is
situated within SEEPZ for storing at very nominal rates. This
is the central warehouse for all the units inside SEEPZ. Also
Clearing & Forwarding facilities are available here.

             What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

In-Zone Custom Clearances
SEEPZ has its own ports of entry with a fully dedicated customs wing similar to that at
the Mumbai Port. Since this customs wing is solely for the clearances within SEEPZ, the
                                            procedures    for   clearing   incoming       and
                                            outgoing consignments are simple and very
                                            fast. Also, there is no need for the same to be
                                            carried out either at the airport or the docks.
                                            This facility at SEEPZ is provided specially
                                            keeping in mind the delay and trouble that
                                            occurs to the exporter while obtaining
                                            clearances. This speedy and efficient system
is available to all the units within SEEPZ at no extra cost. The number of pending cases
with this Customs department is also less, as they have to cater only to the EPZ units.

Miscellaneous Facilities
      3 Industrial Canteens
      Exclusive Restaurant
      Gymnasium
      Convention Centre
      Communications Centre
      Optical fiber telephone exchange with a
       capacity of 4000 lines installed within the
       Zone Complex
      Foreign Post Office
      Crèche for working women’s children
      4 Banks – State Bank of India, Bank of
       India, Punjab National Bank, Central Bank of India
      Nominated agencies like MMTC and banks authorized by RBI for supply of
       precious metals

         What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

   Clearing Agencies – M/s Air freight Pvt. Ltd., M/s Lee and Muirhead, M/s
    Tulsidas Khimji Pvt. Ltd

              What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

SEEPZ & Development

The proximity of available spares, components and raw materials affords Zone units the
advantages of lower freight costs and lower inventory levels. The feedback necessary for
effective quality control on supplies will be quicker, easier and simpler, as the supplier
will be almost next-door.
A Regional Testing Centre of the Department of Electronics (ERTL) located just outside
SEEPZ provides facilities for meeting the evaluation needs of manufacturers and
designers of electronic products.

Due to the huge workforce in SEEPZ and lack of residential areas nearby, the employees
need to be transported everyday to large distances. The transport industry has developed
to a huge extent in this area because of this need.

Development of the land
With the establishment of SEEPZ, the surrounding area has increased in land value. There
has been an increase in demand for residential housing near SEEPZ. There have also been
a number of ancillary industries springing up to serve the needs of the SEEPZ
Many fast food joints, small shops and industries near MIDC, communication centers,
banks, etc. have developed in this previously underdeveloped area.
A residential colony has been constructed for the SEEPZ authority near SEEPZ. There is
access to many more regions due to the presence of a Bus Stop exactly at the
entrance/exit gate of SEEPZ.

             What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

General Information on SEEPZ

According to the Annual Report of SEEPZ for the year 1999-2000:

      The Government of India has so far invested Rs. 47 crores on the development of
      Employment in SEEPZ in 1999-2000 stands at 42,000 employees, up from 24,000
       in 1995-96.
      Number of operational units increased from 156 to 223 during the same period.
      At present, there are 7 Standard Design Factories (SDFs), 3 Gem & Jewellery
       Complex Buildings and 14 self-built factories.
      Total built-up area is 2,65,151 sq. mtrs.
      During 1999-2000, SEEPZ registered 26.34% growth.

Growth of Electronics Industry (India &
SEEPZ): 1990-94

The electronics industry has always played a
significant role in India’s exports. In recognition
of the catalytic role electronics plays in global
development, the industry has been accorded the
status of a priority area in the new industrial
policy. A significant move was made with the
establishment of an Export Processing Zone
exclusively for electronics at SEEPZ (Santacruz
Electronics Export Processing Zone), Mumbai
in 1974.



                                                      7.1 Comparison of electronics exports of
                                                      SEEPZ and India( 2001)

           What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

Growth of Gems & Jewellery Industry (India & SEEPZ): 1990-94

                                            Another industry that has recorded a
                                            significant growth in recent years is the
                                            gem and jewellery industry. In fact India
                                            has established its place on the world map
                                            along with such centres as Antwerp and
                                            Tel   Aviv    for   gem   and   jewellery
                                            processing and exports. To catalyze
                                            growth of this sector, the Government
                                            along with the apex trade bodies, has set
                                            up a number of        training institutes
                                            specialising in imparting the requisite
                                            skills for gem and jewellery processing
                                            and manufacture. In fact, a special gem
                                            and jewellery complex was set up in

                                            1987-88 inside SEEPZ, entirely dedicated
                                            to exports.

 7.2 Comparison of gems & jewellery
 exports of SEEPZ and India (1999-

           What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

Latest Happenings at SEEPZ

     SEEPZ is full in terms of capacity, when taking FSI into account. But, the
      Government of Maharashtra has granted double the existing FSI in respect of
      space utilized for software activity. Accordingly, an IT Tower with a built-up area
      of 3 lakh sq. ft. is being constructed besides the lake to accommodate IT units.
     Maharashtra Government had earlier agreed in principle to transfer 11 hectares of
      land adjoining SEEPZ for further development of the Zone. Now, due to the
      doubling of the FSI, there is no need for the additional space according to it.
     Plans for an expansion through SEEPZ ++ are underway.
     Beautification of the Zone was carried out recently in association with some of the
      Zone units.
     Facility of 24 Hrs. ATM in SEEPZ Service Centre by VYSYA Bank Ltd.
     The newly constructed SDF VII has been bought over by a company for further
     An ambulance is stationed at SEEPZ for 24 Hrs. Service.
     There are proposals to improve the physical and telecommunication infrastructure.
     Administrative Improvements:
     Strengthening of computerization with additional Hardware & Software Packages.
     Training and familiarization of staff with the use of computers.
     Computerizing basic work in various sections.
     Rationalisation of work allocation amongst officers.
     Promotional Measures:
     SEEPZ web site is being renewed
     Preparation of SEEPZ brochure
     Visit of Foreign Delegations:
     Visited Vietnamese Presidents
     Chinese Delegation

               What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

                                       Navi Mumbai -
                                    City of the 21st Century


Navi Mumbai is a modern township spread over an area of around 350 sq. km., and been
planned, designed and developed by CIDCO. CIDCO has developed high-quality
infrastructure facilities in the Navi Mumbai area including housing complexes, industrial
infrastructure, business districts, road & railway linkages, educational and recreational
facilities, etc.

The township has been developed as a series of nodes with high-quality housing
infrastructure available at most nodes. Further, social infrastructure for the township has
also been developed in terms of hospitals (2200 beds capacity), gardens (175 nos.),
community centres (20 nos.) and over 80 playgrounds. Other infrastructure like fire
stations, police stations, etc. is also in place.

Navi Mumbai is well connected to Mumbai both by
wide roads and mass rapid rail systems. Travel time
from Mumbai's central business district at south
Mumbai varies from 45 minutes (water transport) to 60
minutes (road/rail transport). India's busiest domestic
and      international    airport     Chatrapati     Shivaji
International Airport - is just 90 minute drive from Navi

The township is also well connected to other parts of
the state through railway and road networks. In terms of
rail infrastructure, Navi Mumbai has six rail corridors and an independent mainline rail
terminal connecting the city directly to other parts of the country. Several national and
state highways pass through the township. India's first expressway - the Mumbai-Pune
Expressway as well as the Konkan Railway, that connects Central India to North
Karnataka and Goa, passes through Navi Mumbai. These linkages enable ready access to
other industrial areas in Pune, Thane, Vapi, Nagothane, Kalyan, Bhiwandi, Nashik,

            What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

Dombivili, Ambernath, Rasayani and others. In terms of sea linkages, Navi Mumbai has
access to one of India's largest seaports - JNPT that lies within the boundary of Navi

In addition to the existing infrastructure, several new projects are on the anvil. These
include a proposed new international airport, which is to be located at Navi Mumbai
(estimated project cost around USD 2 billion). The airport has already been approved by
the State Government and is in advanced stages with respect to Central Government
approval. Other proposals include the proposed sea-link between Mumbai and Navi
Mumbai which will land in the SEZ (estimated project cost around USD 1.5 billion).

The development of these planned facilities is likely to be accelerated on account of
demand generated due to the SEZ Project as well as fiscal incentives offered by the State

The township has adequate power and water facilities. The total installed power
generation capacity in Navi Mumbai is around 960 MVA with a planned capacity of over
1500 MVA by 2010. There is adequate water supply for the region as well. CIDCO has
developed its own dams in the area - with an existing capacity of 150 MLD and a planned
capacity of around 465 MLD by 2005.

In terms of living standards, Navi Mumbai scores over Mumbai on account of the low
level pollution, de congested residential areas and high proportion of open spaces and
green belts. In comparison to Mumbai, the township has significantly lower living costs,
owing mainly to the optimal land and infrastructure costs.

Currently, Navi Mumbai has a population of around 1.2 million people, which is
projected to reach 2 million by 2008.

NMSEZ is spread over an area of approximately 4,377 hectares (around 44 square
kilometres), and comprises of four zones, Dronagiri, Kalamboli, Ulwe and the regional
park zone (RPZ) of 1,850 ha. In addition, 300 hectares of land adjacent to the port is
proposed to be contributed by JNPT. CIDCO has already acquired the land in the zones of
Dronagiri, Kalamboli and Ulwe. Land in the RPZ area has not been acquired.

             What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

NMSEZ is the only new SEZ in India where the land (except the RPZ area) is in
possession of the project sponsor. This significantly reduces the possiblity of any
regulatory delays on account of land transfer and improves time to market for the SEZ.

Certain zones in the SEZ area like Dronagiri and Kalamboli have been partially
developed. The existing development includes basic infrastructure such as access roads,
master water supply and sewerage network, and a few commercial and residential
complexes. However, no development has commenced in the Ulwe zone. The RPZ is
proposed as a green belt and no industrial activity is envisaged in this zone. This zone
could be utilised for recreational activities and proposed infrastructure in the zone
includes a club house, golf course and other recreational facilities amenities.

             What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

NMSE-Best positioned SEZ in India
An analysis of NMSEZ's strengths and the available opportunities brings out the
attractiveness of NMSEZ as an investment destination for potential tenants and investors.
The analysis has been conducted by the Ernst & Young led consortium on the basis of
factor considerations (availability of raw material, labour, infrastructure, policy
incentives, and competition from international and local SEZs, etc.


Proximity to international and domestic transportation infrastructure.

    JNPT, which is adjacent to NMSEZ, is India's largest and most modern seaport
       providing necessary linkages to the international markets. Further, the SEZ is in
       proximity to Mumbai Port, which is also a major port in the country.
    Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport at Sahar, is 60/90 minute away. Further,
       the second Mumbai International Airport is planned to be set up by 2010, which
       will give a boost to air-cargo-linked industries.
    Well-connected road and rail linkages - National Highways (NH3, 4, 8, 9 & 17)
       link the area to the rest of the country.
    Water transport, linking south Mumbai to NMSEZ is expected to boost
       accessibility to the area.

With convenient rail, sea, road and air linkages, NMSEZ is best placed to create a world-
class trans-shipment hub in Navi Mumbai. This would divert a lot of existing traffic from
Mumbai and nearby areas to the SEZ, increasing avenues to earn additional revenues

Proximity to Mumbai and Navi Mumbai

    Proximity to international and domestic transportation infrastructure
    Jawaharlal Nehru Port, which is adjacent to NMSEZ, is an efficient container port
       providing necessary linkages to the international markets. Further, the SEZ is in
       proximity to Mumbai Port, the largest port facility in the country.

             What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

    Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport at Sahar, is 60/90 minute away. Further,
      the Navi Mumbai International Airport is expected to be set up by 2007-08, which
      will give a boost to air-cargo-linked industries
    Well-connected road and rail linkages - National Highways (NH3, 4, 8, 9 & 17)
      link the area to the rest of the country.
    Water transport, linking south Mumbai to NMSEZ is expected to boost
      accessibility to the area.
   With convenient rail, sea, road and air linkages, NMSEZ is best placed to create a
   world-class trans-shipment hub in Navi Mumbai. This would divert a lot of existing
   traffic from Mumbai and nearby areas to the SEZ, increasing avenues to earn
   additional revenues

Proximity to Mumbai and Navi Mumbai
    Access to trading centres - Mumbai is a regional and national trading centre for
      many products (e.g. gems and jewellery
    Access to cheap and skilled manpower- Navi Mumbai is located on the Pune-
      Mumbai-Thane knowledge corridor, and has access to skilled manpower from
      reputed national and international educational institutes including engineering and
      technical colleges, management institutes, etc. Further labour costs in the region
      are significantly lower than those in other developed countries, thereby providing
      outsourcing opportunities
    Access to social infrastructure - CIDCO has developed the residential areas in
      Navi Mumbai and Belapur region. These residential units are ready for occupation
    Access to huge urban markets - Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Pune, with a
      population base of approximately 15 million are within the catchment area of the
    Access to finance - NMSEZ's proximity to Mumbai, the commercial centre and
      financial capital of the country, will provide unlimited access to capital, for the
      units located in NMSEZ.

             What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

Infrastructure availability

        The Navi Mumbai region has adequate power generation capacity
        Water from CIDCO's own dams is available in plenty
        Internal infrastructure such as water supply pipelines and internal roads, etc.,
           has already been developed within Dronagiri zone
Existence of international and national transport infrastructure along with the significant
internal infrastructure that is already developed provides a head-start to NMSEZ as
compared to other local SEZs

             What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

CIDCO as co-promoter

CIDCO is a premier town planning & development agency in India, and has established
itself as an excellent infrastructure provider over the years. CIDCO has been instrumental
in the development of Navi Mumbai. CIDCO is a special planning authority for a number
of other urban areas in Maharashtra.

Due to its long-standing experience in township development and the success of the Navi
Mumbai township project, CIDCO has been invited by several other Indian states to
provide consultancy services on city/township development.

Due to its expertise in town planning as well as its success in Navi Mumbai, GoI has
appointed CIDCO as the nodal agency for the planning, development and marketing of

CIDCO's presence as a co-promoter to the project would provide NMSEZ with an
existing administrative setup that would help implement the project effectively, as well as
provide easy access to a quasi-government body that would facilitate the interaction
between NMSEZ and the GoM.

Proximity to other industrial areas

Proximity to well-developed industrial areas such as Ambernath, Belapur, Dombivli,
Kalyan, Nasik, Nagothane, Pune, Thane, Taloja, etc., provide excellent linkages with
support industries and suppliers of intermediates, to the units that would come up within


    Climatic conditions are favourable in Maharashtra for growing fruits, vegetables,
       flowers which ensure abundant supply to agro-based industries
    Maharashtra's long coastline of 720 km and river length of 3200 km could be
       leveraged to boost the exports of marine products

           What’s Special About Special Economic Zones


    Industrial units in India are increasingly looking out for industrial estates and
      integrated facilities, where infrastructure facilities are on par with international
    There is an increasing trend among unorganized sectors to move to integrated
      facilities in order to get cluster and common infrastructure benefits. Such
      industries include Gems & Jewellery, Biotech, Information Technology, toys and
      leather. These sectors can reap the benefits of clustering. NMSEZ will be catering
      to the specific needs by building specialized enclaves for these sectors
    There is an increasing trend worldwide for developing trans-shipment facilities in
      order to achieve transportation efficiencies. JNPT has the potential and is also
      being positioned as a trans-shipment port. Given NMSEZ's access to airports, road
      & rail networks as well as JNPT, there is significant opportunity for NMSEZ to
      position itself as a transshipment hub
    Several infrastructure facilities like the airport project, sea-link project, water
      transport terminals, extension of railway network, etc., are planned to be
      developed in order to cement NMSEZ's position as a leading industrial township

            What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

Administration of SEZ

The overall administrative responsibility for the SEZ shall vest with the designated DC of
the SEZ. The DC shall function as a quasigovernment body, and shall perform all the
functions as laid down in the Handbook of Procedures, Vol. 1. As per the SEZ policy,
powers of several state & central government departments, including the Labour
Commissioner, Pollution Control Board and many others shall vest with the DC, thus
making the DC the single, point authority for the SEZ. The SPV management will work
in close coordination with the DC.

                                     Combined board

        FIPB                                                               Ministry
                                      Exception                              of

                       Exception                     SEZ policy
                                                     & EXIM
   State                                                                      Ministry
  Governm                                                      FEM              Of
    ent              Labor                                      A             Finance
                     Laws                                      Rules

                                       SPV Board



             What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

                             Upcoming SEZs in India

With the announcement of the previous two successive EXIM Policies favouring the
establishment of SEZs, most of the states have decided to be a part of the SEZ revolution.
The details of the major SEZs and their stages of completion are given below:

Positra SEZ – Gujarat

This is the most hyped SEZ project in India these days. The location is the Port of Positra
(near Pipavav in Jamnagar), Gujarat and the expected area covered will be around 200
square kilometres. Those involved in developing the island city-state of Singapore will
undertake the designing; master planning and detailed engineering of Positra SEZ.

Project Description
The project is considered to be the first of its kind in the world, as similar SEZs across the
world including the ones in China, Hong Kong or Mauritius are owned and run by the
respective governments. The Indian project is expected to become operational in three

In the first phase, to be completed by 2003 at a cost of Rs 40 billion, the central business
district covering 40 square km will be set up alongside the roads, railways and airport.
The second phase will cover construction of the seaport and jetties, while in the third
phase entertainment facilities and development of the outer periphery of the zone for
chemical industries would be undertaken. All the companies and services inside the zone
will have to adhere to a minimum Euro II standards-these are environmental norms for
industries which are located in coastal areas.

The unique value proposition of PSEZ, according to its promoters, is a powerful IT
infrastructure, complete with an in-zone optic fibre cable backbone and data storage
centres. The SEZ is positioned as world’s first digitised economic zone. The whole idea is
to build a global class and globally competitive infrastructure to give a tough competition

            What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

to other SEZs in this part of the world such as Shenzen, Shintou, Tinjiang, Jebel Ali and

The Gujarat Positra Port Infrastructure Ltd (GPPIL) equity pie has already been carved up
between the SKIL (54 per cent), the Gujarat Government (11 per cent), the Jurong Town
Corporation and the Sumitomo Corporation (10 per cent each) and three FIIs (5 per cent

As per original projections, the equity was to the tune of Rs 1,272 crore while long-term
debt was marked at Rs 3,180 crore. The remaining Rs 1,200 crore was to be raised
through ’lease deposits' from those units who planned to set up shop at the SEZ.

The total investment in the economic zone plus the project cost (which is direct
investment) is pegged at $2 billion or around Rs 9,200 crore.

Latest Developments
THE Rs 5,652-crore Positra SEZ, being put up by the Gujarat Positra Port Infrastructure
Ltd (GPPIL) is now faced with the task of relocating its jetty site to Okha, 20-odd km
away from the originally mooted site at Positra. The cost overruns may be to the tune of
Rs 500 crore as the GPPIL will now be forced to undertake construction of a breakwater,
a 3-4 km-long trestle to the offshore jetty site and considerable amount of dredging at

              What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

Nangunery SEZ – Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu is going to house the country’s first greenfield Special Economic Zone
(SEZ). The SEZ will be set up at Nangunery and be developed by the state government
and the Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TNIDC) in collaboration with
some     private   companies,   the   main   promoter    being    Advanced     Technologies
Manufacturing and Assembly City (ATMAC). The SEZ will be totally pollution-free and
geared to attract hi-tech investments to boost exports. Besides the industrial area, the
Nangunery SEZ will include a golf course, modern recreation centres including movie
halls and multi-cuisine restaurants, battery-operated buses, upmarket schools, glitzy retail
arcades and a hi-tech hospital. It will target big software companies including the US-
based Intel, Sun Microsystems and Cisco, among others.

Atchutapuram-Rambili SEZ – Andhra Pradesh

The exact site for this zone has not yet been finalized. In fact, KPMG Consulting has been
hired to recommend the location and cost of the SEZ. The consultant was appointed to
help the state government in selection of site, outlining the role of the state government in
the project and also in suggesting policy changes required to be effected in the present
laws. The initial investment for the proposed special economic zone in Andhra Pradesh
has been pegged at Rs 1,860 crore. The zone is proposed to be located on the east coast in
Atchutapuram-Rambili area. While part of the base infrastructure is likely to be provided
by the government, the project has been will be implemented entirely through private

Hassan SEZ - Karnataka

KARNATAKA plans to set up special economic zone with an area of 2,000 acres at
Hassan. As per the plan, the state government is to provide infrastructure and the union
government would take care of excise, customs and taxation. The Centre has cleared the
proposal. Hence, the Infrastructure Development Corporation of Karnataka (IDecK) has

             What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

been asked to give a detailed project report (DPR) on the proposed Special Economic
Zone (SEZ) at Hassan.

Mundhra SEZ – Gujarat

After the earthquake, the government has announced special tax incentives for investors
in Gujarat. It is to avail of these benefits that the Adani group proposes to develop the
Mundra port as a special economic zone at a cost of Rs 500 crore. The Gujarat
government will shortly request the Central government to sanction this project proposal.
Once the Mundra SEZ proposal is approved by the Center, the state government will
acquire the necessary land and hand it over to Adani for developing industrial parks with
complete infrastructure facilities. The Mundra SEZ will accommodate only exporting

Gopalpur SEZ – Orissa

Tatas have finally got a permission to set up a SEZ in Gopalpur after their plan to set up a
10-mn steel plant did not materialize. The proposed SEZ will be built on the 3,500-acre
land that Tata Iron and Steel Company had originally purchased to set up the steel plant.
The group has already spent Rs1.5bn to buy land for the steel project and to rehabilitate
the displaced owners. The Orissa state government has granted the proposal to build SEZ
after its move to develop Gopalpur, the only deep-water port in eastern India.

It has been reported that Adani Exports, part of the Rs.35 bn Adani Group, has already
signed an agreement with the state government for the development of the port. This
would be a build-own-operate-transfer scheme for a concession period of 30 years.

Tatas reportedly came up with the idea after the Orissa government started developing the
Gopalpur port which can easily cater to big cape-size vessels over 120,000 tonnes. It
would help any industry that wants to focus on volumes, as they would need such big

             What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

cape-size vessels to enjoy the freight advantage. Tisco plans to develop the SEZ with
infrastructure facilities and then lease it out to potential investors.

Other SEZs

       Punjab is assessing the viability of setting up a Special Economic Zone (SEZ).
        The likely choice of location is Ludhiana or any other suitable place the industry
        may suggest.
       Goa has decided to ask Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to study various aspects
        of its proposal to set up a special economic zone (SEZ) in the port town of
        Mormugao in south Goa. The state government was exploring the possibility of
        having tourism and hospitality sectors along with industrial growth as the main
        focus of the SEZ.

List of SEZs approved for establishment (8.1)

         Name of the SEZ                            Name of Promoter
                               Gujarat Positra Port Infrastructure Limited,
        Positra SEZ
                               Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation,
        Nanguneri SEZ
        Bhadohi SEZ            Secretary, Small Scale Industries & Export
        Kanpur SEZ             Promotion, Govt. of UP, Lucknow
                               Principal Secretary (Industries), Govt. of AP,
        Kakinada SEZ
        Paradeep SEZ           Secretary (Industries), Govt. of Orissa,
        Gopalpur, SEZ          Bhubhaneshwar
                               Principal Secretary, Commerce and Industries Dept,
        Kulpi SEZ
                               Govt. of West Bengal, Kolkota
                               Principal Secretary, Commerce and Industries Dept,
        Indore SEZ
                               Govt. of Madhya Pradesh, Bhopal

               What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

                             Current development on SEZs
After suffering ceaseless bashing from the skeptics for years, special economic zones
(SEZs) have finally caught the fancy of India’s Inc. Investment worth Rs 10000 crore
have been lined up for the next three years and SEZs fever has caught all categories
including private sector companies. PSUs, state government and foreign investors. From
MNCs like Nokia and Hewlett Packard, to domestics giants like Reliance Energy, Wipro,
Reliance Industries and Mahindra, states like Jharkhand, and PSUs like MMTC and
Cochin Port Trust are busy finalizing ambitious investment plans, Commerce and
industry minister Kamal Nath. Had quoted that the investment are flowing in industries,
like telecom, IT, software, auto ancillaries, gems, and jewellery, textiles, handicrafts and

Private sector‘s Busy BEE queue in development of SEZs
      Reliance Energy has acquired 1000 hectares in Ghaziabad for multi-product SEZ
      IT major Wipro has committed an investment of Rs 1710 crores in seven
       locations. Wipro’s SEZ are to be located in Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune, Bangalore,
       West Bengal and Noida (UP). The biggest SEZ investment of the IT major is
       earmarked for Chennai at Rs 450 Crore.
      HP is investing Rs 3000 crore in an IT SEZ in Bangalore.
      Nokia is pumping in Rs 675 crore in Sriperumbudur near Chennai for telecom
       equipments well as services.
      Reliance industries has committed Rs 5000 crore for a petro product SEZ at
       Jamnagar in Gujarat
      Mahindra has lined up Rs 300 crore in separate projects in Tamil Nadu
      Cochin Port Trust has obtained permission from the government to invest Rs 800
       crore in a port based SEZ which will be located close to Puthuvypeeen or
       Vailarpadam in Kerela .
      Maharashtra Airport Development Company has sought permission for a 1300
       hectare SEZs in Nagpur.
And many more SEZ have been lined up to be opened in the country

            What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

State Government investments in SEZs
      State Government of Jharkhanad is planning to invest Rs 1156 crore in 1200
       hectare facility in Ranchi.
      Haryana State Industrial Development Corporation has obtained approval of
       investing Rs 2000 crore in Gurgoan
      UP State Industrial Development Corporation is planning an investment of Rs
       2100 crore in Kanpur
      AP State Industrial Development Corporation has obtained a permission to invest
       Rs 2000 crore in Visa State Industrial Development Corporation khapatnam
      As many as 55 SEZs have been approved so far and more application are coming

PSUs (Public Sector Units) Investment in development of SEZs
      MMTC (Mineral and Metal Trade Corporations) Is setting up a warehouse SEZ at
       Haldia in West Bengal.
      ONGC is working with Gujarat State Industrial Development Corporation for
       multi-purpose SEZ at Dahej at a cost of Rs 294 crore
      Delhi Metro Has been allowed to set up a Rs 170 crore SEZ at Shastri Park in

                  Exports from Special Economic Zone
                                     2003-2004(Rs. in          2004-2005(Rs. in
  Zone                                   crores)                        crores)
  Kandla SEZ                                   1018.82                 1060.14
  SEEPZ-SEZ                                    7832.81                 8298.59
  Noida SEZ                                    1534.17                     4266
  Madras SEZ                                   1037.96                 1376.91
  Cochin SEZ                                     298.91                 462.99
  Falta SEZ                                      825.34                 569.15
  Visakhapatnam SEZ                              435.67                 579.27
  Surat SEZ                                       869.9                1539.72
  Jaipur SEZ                                                               5.27
  Indore SEZ                                                              55.02
  Manikanchan SEZ                                                         95.54
  Total                                          13853.58                18309

             What’s Special About Special Economic Zones


Importance of a SEZ

SEZs attract foreign investment resulting in the fusion of advanced technology, thereby
improving standards of quality and efficiency in products offered in the export market.
High employment and technology tranferthrough the FDI

SEZs continue to be efficient vehicle for increased exports. It can bring a double digit
growth. With its preferential fiscal policies it helps to create jobs and reduce regional

Migration of capital labor and technology across geographical boundaries would reduce
disparity at all levels and lift the economy to higher levels of growth.

Analysis of the SEZ Scheme in India

The decision of the Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Mr. Murasoli Maran to
set up Special Economic Zones in India based on the successful Chinese models to attract
foreign investment and boost exports is a move in the right direction. . But the objectives
of this move will be met only if certain essential conditions are met. Simply designating
certain areas won’t do the trick. The success of the SEZs hasn’t come merely from
wishing it. The following fundamental factors can be identified as influencing China’s
success, and it is these that India should bear in mind when working out the plans for its

Community Support
The Chinese SEZs have enjoyed support from the Chinese communities in Hong Kong,
Taiwan, and elsewhere. In fact, nearly 70 per cent of all foreign investment in Shenzhen
is from Hong Kong just as most investments in Zhuhai are from Taiwan. This provided
the bedrock on which Shenzhen was able to build and the early momentum that made its
task of attracting other foreign investors easier.

             What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

India’s proposed SEZs would need a similar initial push, and that could come only from
the vast expanse of Indians worldwide. India should try and reach out to the successful
industrialist families abroad. This community has not been given the importance it
deserves, and as such has been ignored till now. There are many successful patriotic
Indians who want to do their bit for the country. When such alumni can donate huge
funds to institutes like IIT, they would surely be interested in any such venture, which
would help develop their nation.

Strategic Location & Linked Growth
Almost all the Chinese SEZs and ETDZs are located in, around, or not too far from
provincial capitals, economic strongholds, or transport hubs. In fact, the entire initial
bunch of 14 ETDZs that China established in 1984 involved existing coastal cities, such
as Dalian, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. Being close, the zones and the cities
nourished one another and created an irresistible dynamism for growth.

The lesson here is simple: SEZs won’t succeed if they remain isolated enclaves out in the
boondocks, simply as collections of factory buildings and sheds. The best example is the
Navi Mumbai SEZ which is strategically located. Navi Mumbai is well connected to
Mumbai both by wide roads and mass rapid rail systems. Travel time from Mumbai's
central business district at south Mumbai varies from 45 minutes (water transport) to 60
minutes (road/rail transport). India's busiest domestic and international airport Chatrapati
Shivaji International Airport - is just 90 minute drive from Navi Mumbai.

Scale & Magnitude
A very important factor in the success of China is the scale and magnitude of special
economic zones. The five largest such zones in China – Shenzen, Zhuhai, Santou, Ziamen
and Hainan – exported $ 26 billion in 1994, almost 22 per cent of the total exports.

The Indian Commerce Minister said “Taking the size into consideration, I propose to
consider them (Positra of 880 hectares and Nangunery SEZ of 1012 hectares) as our
country's two first Special Economic Zones''. He further said: “We expect that the

             What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

minimum size of the Special Economic Zone shall be 400-500 hectares or more''. (One
square km consists of 100 hectares).

It would serve little purpose if such tiny areas were being considered for the
establishment of SEZs in India. The first four SEZs set up in China in 1980 had areas as
follows: Shenzen with 328 sq kms; Zhuhai with 121 sq kms; Shantou with 234 sq kms;
and Xiamen with 131 sq kms. China subsequently set up two more SEZs – Pudong with
518 sq kms and Hainan (a whole island and a province) with 34,000 sq kms. India cannot
even dream of replicating the Chinese success if it goes in for very tiny SEZs.

The proposal to allow tiny SEZs in India would perhaps imply that the concept of the
Chinese SEZs has not been understood. While the small EPZs operating in India, ranging
from 40 hectares to 300 hectares, are meant only for export-manufacturing, the Chinese
SEZs permit foreign investments in a whole range of economic activities – hence the
appellation ‘Economic’ Zone - such as industrial production, agriculture, commerce,
tourism, housing, etc.

This would obviously imply that one should look at SEZ size similar to a taluka/district or
even a province. The SEZ concept envisages multi-sectoral foreign investments bringing
about all-round regional development while promoting foreign capital inflow, export
production, technology transfer and employment generation.

A large chunk of Raigarh district (Maharashtra) forming the hinterland to the Nhava-
Sheva Port (Mumbai) could make an ideal SEZ. Also, the whole of Goa (3702 sq kms)
can be another ideal SEZ. We should look at the landmass where foreign corporates
would be attracted to come and invest in exporting industries as well as in hotels, resorts,
agriculture, telecommunications, power-generation, etc. Recently companies like
Reliance Energy and Mahindera and Mahindera are acquiring more 1000 hectares of land
to develop SEZs.

In India, as per norms prescribed for SEZs, the area has to be around 1,000 to 2,000 acres.
Naturally advantage went to states like Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu etc. Now the

             What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

government is considering reducing the size of SEZ to benefit more states. If this is the
way location and sizes of SEZs are going to be decided in India, we should be ready for
another potential failure in the government’s string of export promotion measures.

Considering all the implications of size on the success of an SEZ, this factor has to be
given due consideration and all decisions related to it have to be based on objective facts
and figures, and not otherwise.

Legal Autonomy & Labour Laws
The Chinese SEZs have their own legislature and can enact their own laws and
regulations, including labour laws. The SEZs are marked by decentralised administration.
The SEZs are administered by PASEZ (the Provincial Administration of Special
Economic Zones). This effectively ensures the involvement of the provincial
administration in the management of the SEZs.

There are also some special provisions for industrial relations applicable to the industries
and other ventures in the Chinese SEZs. Foreign companies in the Chinese EPZs enjoy
tremendous flexibility in terms of labour laws. Employment is contractual, the wages –
subject to a minimum between 120 per cent and 150 per cent higher than state enterprise
wages – are fixed by the companies themselves, and retrenchment is permitted. These
apart, the governor of the SEZs in China has enormous powers, including the right to
approve projects involving investments up to $ 30 million, and grant concessions and
incentives to foreign players.

However, in India, the EPZ management has been vastly Centre-driven. Despite the
freedom from import and export licensing as well as tariffs, our EPZ enterprises have
been having a difficult experience with the customs administration. The Central
government should invest customs responsibility and powers in the development
commissioners manning the SEZs if unnecessary red tape and harassment to the zone-
exporters have to be minimized.

             What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

Additionally, India has a large labour force and if we were to move over to capital-
intensive industries there will be more unemployment. But the need of the hour is to
accelerate growth, which can come only if we reverse our operating stance from that of a
labour-intensive industry to that of a capital-intensive industry.

In India, the only ray of hope for units in SEZs is that the Development Commissioner of
the zone (who is appointed by the Commerce Ministry) will double up as the Labour
Commissioner. This is expected to minimize the time taken to settle labour disputes.
That's small comfort, given the country's rigid labour laws.

The issue of simplification of labour laws for SEZs was left unanswered by Mr. Maran in
the EXIM Policy. Without this authority for independent economic management, SEZs
will remain a cripple, always depending on provincial or federal support and, therefore,
ever susceptible to political influences.

Infrastructure and Facilities
Every nation requires a good infrastructure to for a consistent growth and development. It
is said that when United Nation of America became independent the first thing which
they developed was their infrastructure. China is ahead i.e. is growing fast then India
because it has first-class infrastructure in place. Recently one of the important agenda in
India’s planner is to develop its infrastructure and progress in the construction of the
SEZs is one of the ways towards it. As SEZ does not concentrates only on developing
industrial estates but endeavors in the development of township.

All Chinese SEZs and EDTZs have superior logistic support and transport and
communication links. A major contributor to China’s success is its investment in the
infrastructure. The Chinese government has spent $ 3 billion in the infrastructure alone in
Pudong & it is committed to spending 744 billion in infrastructure in 1995-2004. As
opposed to this, a paltry few billions were proposed to be spent on infrastructure in India,
in the Union Budget of 1999-2000. In fact, a major part of China’s post-open door
infrastructure spending has gone into creating, strengthening, and expanding these links

               What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

to bring the zones closer to ports, airports, and railheads as well as to major cities across
the country.

Moving over to Dubai, the Jebel Ali Free Trade Zone, famous for its state-of-the-art
technology and logistics, has fuelled economic growth of Dubai. The FTZ contributes
almost a quarter of all outbound trade from the United Arab Emirates.

Structuring India’s SEZs along the lines of overseas SEZ models can be risky. For, the
ground conditions are vastly different in India. So, India should take care to ensure free
flow of financial and fiscal concessions in these Indian SEZs. For instance, in Jebel Ali
Free Trade Zone there is an uninhibited free flow of capital and profits. There are no
currency restrictions there, nor is there any corporate or personal income tax. The Sharjah
Airport’s International Free Zone has the biggest air cargo hub in West Asia and Africa.
Apart from no import restrictions, this FTZ allows 100 per cent ownership and
repatriation of funds.

India has a complicated market structure and if it wants to set up SEZs like those in the
rest of the world, it will have to put in place the logistics of market structure and
functioning. SEZs function independent of the rest of the market and differ in their
market policies. These zones should in fact function in an environment free from complex
and irksome regulations and high tariff rates.

To facilitate such wrinkle-free functioning of SEZs, the Indian government will have to
integrate the various departments involved such as customs, sales tax, environment and
pollution control. Such integration is possible only if a forward-thinking foolproof policy
is put in place and no tinkering is done thereafter. Without such a logistical framework,
just setting up SEZs will not work.

Eventually, nothing pleases an investor more than developed infrastructure and a working
environment that’s free of bureaucratic hassles.

             What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

Government Attitude

The attitude of the Chinese government has been marked by strong determination and
commitment when it comes to liberalizing, even though it is in selective areas. There have
been no half-hearted steps in any direction. There has also been no lagging behind, when
it comes to taking steps to ensure success of its endeavors. This is evident especially from
the proactive measures taken by the government in matters related to SEZs.

Even India has had a series of EPZs in the past. But today, they have lost their relevance
and are in no way better off despite all the policy announcements and liberalisation
measures. They have become non-operative blocks. All this is because, In India, there is
little convergence of objectives and strategies between the union and state governments.
As such, policies are short-lived and lack long-term vision. There is dilly-dallying in
implementation of policies. With a change of government at the centre, there is a change
in stance and perception of policies resulting in a lot of confusion among the exporters.
There is then no initiative on their part to increase volumes.

India has good economic advisers but sadly enough their policies only gather dust. A Free
Trade port was to be set up in Tuticorin, Goa and Andaman Nicobar islands according to
a suggestion. Ten years have passed and the policy-makers have forgotten the issue.

China used a different exchange rate system in the initial years to kick-start investments.
A unified exchange rate was introduced only in 1994. A recommendation to do the same
thing was given in the Raunaq Singh Committee Report (1985) that recommends a
different exchange rate, or currency, for SEZs (following the argument that an
undervalued currency would boost exports). The Indian government was not even willing
to consider this recommendation for reasons unknown.

SEZ was created to set up a special enclave where companies could have incentives and
infrastructure to focus on exports and avoid the reams of red tape they usually face.
Instead, the New Act could end up merely providing a new and lucrative tax shelter for

             What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

corporate India, with little impact on export growth. And the government could lose
valuable tax revenue in the process.

Let us discuss the provision of the New Act

                              The New ACT 2005

        Exporters will continue to get corporate tax exemptions well beyond
         2009—100% for 5 years, 50 % for the next five years after that on the
         profits ploughed back for investment
        If the units are relocated to an SEZ exporters can claim capital gains
         tax exemption; such units will be eligible for tax breaks even if they
         aren’t really fresh capacities
        No limit on sales from an SEZ unit within India, though the exporter has
         to pay custom duty. All imports into the SEZ are duty-free
        SEZ units can raise funds from the international market through
         external commercial borrowings of up to $ 500 million a year.
        100% foreign direct investment allowed for SEZ manufacturing units
        Units can invest or make business payments overseas out of export
         earnings with few restrictions.
        Banks which set up off shore banking units in the SEZs can get
         income tax exemptions for that operation for 10 years

According to Ardhana Agarwal an associate professor at the department of business
economics in Delhi University who has researched the impact of SEZ is of the opinon
that in India , companies who shift to an SEZ purely take advantage of tax benefits, And
when the tax benefits expire they shift out.

             What’s Special About Special Economic Zones

In past Indian companies have been making such use of indirect tax holidays given by
various states like Himachal Pradesh or union territory like Silvassa for years. Once a
company uses up the sales or excise tax benefits in one states it simply shutsthe unit and
shifts it to another state where it can get those benefit all over again

Experts are skeptical about whether the Act will actually promote exports. For instance,
Nokia which is setting up a plant in Sriperumbuerur SEZ for manufacturing handsets and
telecom equipments , has no plans of exporting from there as now.

But the act provides no concession on the labor laws, which is fully be applied in the

The Indian government always takes a very short-term view and caught in its fiscal mess
has no better option but to stall the project. With too many windows in the administrative
setup, complications are bound to arise and misunderstandings will take place. Unless and
until an overall liberal framework is designed to look into monetary, trade, fiscal,
taxation, tariff and labour policies, all other efforts will go waste.

To sum up SEZ will be the launch pad for future economic growth and have come to