东亚论坛:印度需要振兴经济特区
2016-03-15 17:00:26
东亚论坛:印度需要振兴经济特区(2016.03.15)

  提要:出现于2000年的经济特区对印度就业和投资及出口增长做出了重要贡献。然而,由于《经济特区法》引发争议,害怕失去选民支持的印度政府取消了经济特区享有的税收优惠待遇,从而使得经济特区的发展一落千丈。鉴于经济特区具有推动经济加速增长和促进产业结构多元化的潜力,印度需要振兴经济特区,充分利用经济特区来推行《印度制造》和《国有投资制造区》计划。

  (外脑精华·北京)印度经济特区的发展与受挫

  印度于2000年4月颁布的经济特区政策是印度政府在促进工业领域私人投资方面推出的史上最重要的单项举措。

  这并非印度首次力图发展其经济特区。印度首波出口区兴建浪潮始于1965年,因收效甚微,于2000年结束。而这次的前景更好。现行政策针对经济特区开发中的私人投资并且提供了以往的各项计划中不曾提供的一些具有吸引力的优惠措施和特殊待遇。

  那些早期的计划也没有得到任何立法框架的支持。印度于2005年首次颁布了一项特别法案--《经济特区法》。由于其提供了信心、稳定性和正确的激励机制,该法案引起了投资者的浓厚兴趣。

  但是,《经济特区法》很快就因相关的征地、税收优惠和其他社会经济问题而引发争议。这场辩论导致印度爆发全国性反经济特区抗议活动。遭受广泛批评似乎令印度政策制定者们措手不及,而且印度政府似乎也出现了意见分歧。

  由于害怕失去民众的选票,印度政府开始稀释投资者的利益并且收回对投资者提供的优惠待遇。不过,截至2012年3月,印度新获批的经济特区数量已激增至589个,其中389个经济特区已经获得核准通知。

  但印度政府于2012年取消对投资者提供的最低替代税和免缴股息分配税等税收优惠政策,这令印度经济特区的发展遭受重创。到2015年12月31日,印度获批和通告的经济特区数量分别降至412个和329个。2012年7月至2015年1月期间,印度经济特区被收回的土地面积超过1.5万公顷。

  印度应重振经济特区建设

  当下,全世界的企业都在日趋复杂的全球价值链中组织生产和贸易活动,并在全球范围内寻找成本最低的生产地点;鉴于此,经济特区就成为各国利用这些机遇的平台。

  经济特区是印度之类的发展中国家解决基础设施不足、程序复杂、手续繁琐及其他限制性政策等通病带来的结构性和制度性瓶颈的战略要地。经济特区提供了一个良好的投资环境来吸引离岸外包和外包活动。

  重振制造业是当前印度面临的最严峻发展挑战之一。促使印度企业进入和融入全球价值链有助于帮助创造印度需要的产业活力。

  那么,印度经济特区的实际表现如何呢?尽管政策不稳而且2008年爆发全球经济衰退,印度经济特区的数量激增,并且极大地推动了印度整体就业和投资水平的提高。

  在2006年2月,印度经济特区的就业人口总数和投资总额分别为13.47万人和8.88亿美元。到了2015年1月,印度经济特区的就业总人数超过了150万人,投资总额达到了惊人的540亿美元。经济特区出口额在印度出口总额(包括服务出口)中的占比从2005-2006年期间的约3%升至2012-2013年期间的19.5%。

  虽然印度60%的经济特区是IT产业区,但近乎85%的经济特区土地用于生产。印度经济特区在积极推动生物技术、可再生能源、航空、电子和运动鞋鞥新兴产业的发展。经济特区也是印度工程和制药工业发展的一个主要推手。

  但是,不确定性确实令印度经济特区的发展遭受重创。印度经济特区的实际投资和就业人数较最初的预测值分别低出59%和92%。取消最低替代税和免缴股息分配税优惠政策使得印度经济特区的投资步伐,进一步放缓,而且印度经济特区的出口额在印度出口总额中的占比在2013-2014年期间降至17%。

  从这次经历中可以吸取哪些教训呢?首先。经济特区具有推动经济加速增长和促进产业结构多元化的潜力。但特区政策必须旨在解决对经济增长主要障碍的那些制度性问题,而且需要得到一个透明的法律框架的支持。

  其次,税收优惠措施显得至关重要。税收优惠措施可以成为鼓励私人投资的有效工具。

  第三,需要做出强有力的政治承诺。这必须辅以强烈对制度性知识、政策实验、制度建设、对经济特区战略的信仰、对经济特区取得成功的必要充分必要条件的认知以及对愿景和目标的清晰度的高度关注。

  那么,该如何重振经济特区呢?

  最重要的是通过让经济特区重新享有原来的税收优惠政策以及给经济特区推出历史舞台敲定一个明确的时间表来树立投资者的信心。在未来,对《经济特区法》进行的任何改动都应以议会批准通过相关修正案形式来进行。

  必须通过合理和具有针对性的税收优惠措施来促进具有战略重要性的产业的发展。开始享受免税的年份应是项目正式投产的年份,而不是项目获批的年份,尤其是对技术密集型行业和高风险行业。在缴纳曾被免除的税赋后,必须进一步放宽对经济特区内企业所产产品在国内市场销售方面的限制。

  经济特区计划还应该与《印度制造》计划和《国有投资制造区》计划相辅相成。《印度制造》计划和《国有投资制造区》计划已被大肆宣扬,但这两项计划仍未充分利用。

  经济特区有望成为印度一个主要的增长引擎。印度政府应该尽快采取行动来振兴经济特区,否则印度的经济特性将成为另一个错失的增长机会。

  

  英文原文:Special Economic Zones in India: growth engines or missed opportunity?

India’s Special Economic Zones (SEZ) policy, announced in April 2000, has been the single most important initiative ever taken by the Indian government to promote private investment in industrial activity.

It is not the first time that India has tried to develop its SEZs. The first wave of export zones started in 1965 and ended in 2000 with little success. The prospects are better this time. The current policy targets private investment in SEZ development and offers several lucrative incentives and features that were not available in previous initiatives.

These early initiatives were also not supported by any legislative framework. Special legislation, the SEZ Act, was enacted for the first time in 2005. The Act evoked immense interest among investors as it provided confidence, stability and the correct incentives.

But, the Act was soon caught up in controversies related to land acquisition, tax incentives and other socio-economic issues. The debate led to anti-SEZ protests throughout the country. Policymakers appeared unprepared to respond to the widespread criticism, and the government seemed to be a house divided.

Fearing the loss of popular votes, the government started diluting the benefits and rolling back the incentives for investors. Still, by March 2012, the number of newly approved SEZs had swelled to 589, with 389 of these already notified.

But the government dealt a significant blow to SEZs in 2012 when it rolled back key tax incentives, including the minimum alternate tax (MAT) and dividend distribution tax (DDT), offered to investors. By 31 December 2015, the numbers of approved and notified SEZs declined to 412 and 329 respectively. More than 15000 hectares of SEZ land was de-notified between July 2012 and January 2015.

The Ministry of Commerce, which had conceived and implemented the scheme, also seems to have moved on. Instead, the Ministry is now promoting the concept of national investment and manufacturing zones (NIMZs).

All of this begs the question as to why India needs SEZs in the first place. In the contemporary world, where global firms are organising their production and trade in increasingly complex global value chains and scout the globe for the least cost locations, SEZs provide a platform for countries to reap the benefits of these opportunities.

SEZs are strategic locations which address structural and institutional bottlenecks arising from infrastructural deficiencies, procedural complexities, bureaucratic hassles and other restrictive policies common in developing countries like India. They offer an enabling investment climate to attract both offshoring and outsourcing activities.

Reviving manufacturing is one of the biggest development challenges that India faces today. The entry and integration of its firms into global value chains can help create the industrial dynamism that India needs.

So how have SEZs actually performed in India? Despite unstable policies and the global economic downturn post 2008, the number of SEZs swelled and gave a big push to employment and investment at the aggregate level.

In February 2006, total employment and investment in SEZs stood at 134,704 and US$888 million respectively. In January 2015, total employment was over 1.5 million while investment was a staggering US$54 billion. The share of SEZs in total exports (including service exports) increased from around 3 per cent in 2005–06 to 19.5 per cent in 2012–13.

Even though 60 per cent of zones are in the IT sector, almost 85 per cent of SEZ land is used in manufacturing. SEZs have been instrumental in promoting new industries such as biotechnology, renewable energy, aviation, electronics and sports shoes. They have also given a major thrust to the engineering and pharmaceutical industries.

Still, uncertainties did take their toll. Actual investment and employment have fallen short of initial projections by 59 per cent and 92 per cent respectively. The winding up of MAT and DDT tax incentives has further slowed down investment and SEZs share in total exports declined to 17 per cent in 2013-14.

What lessons can be learned from this experience? First, SEZs have the potential to accelerate economic growth and diversify the industrial structure. But SEZ policy must be designed to address institutional challenges that pose major obstacles to growth, and it needs to be supported by a transparent legal framework.

Second, tax incentives matter. They can be effective instruments in encouraging private investment.

Finally, strong political commitment is necessary. This must be accompanied by an intense focus on institutional learnings, policy experimentation, institution building and belief in the SEZ strategy, as well as knowledge of the necessary and sufficient conditions for the success of SEZs, and clarity about the vision and objectives.

So what can be done to revive SEZs?

The most important thing is to build investor confidence by restoring the original tax benefits to SEZs with a clear timeline outlining when they will be phased out. In future, any change in the Act should be introduced through amendments passed by the parliament.

Tax incentives must be rationalised and tailored to promote industries of strategic importance. The first year of production should be used as the first year of tax exemptions, rather than the first year after the project is approved, particularly for technology-intensive and risky industries. Firms producing in SEZs must further be allowed to sell in domestic markets, after paying the taxes that they had been exempted from.

The SEZ program should also be integrated with the 'Make in India' initiative and NIMZs. There has been significant hype generated around MIIM and NIMZs, but SEZs remain an underutilised plank in these two initiatives.

SEZs have the potential to be a major growth engine for India. The government should act fast to revive them otherwise SEZs will become another missed growth opportunity.

Aradhna Aggarwal is Professor in Indian Studies at Asia Research Centre, Department of International Economics and Management, Copenhagen Business School.

来源:东亚论坛,作者:Aradhna Aggarwal
作者:Aradhna

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