Recently, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) released a notification amending Category 5B of the Special Chemicals, Organisms, Materials, Equipment and Technologies (SCOMET) list which concerns Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. This step has been taken to “simplify and liberalize the SCOMET policy for export of Drones/ UAVs”.
Under this simplification, the special focus is to simplify the process for trade and export of dual-use high-end technologies such as UAV drones. Here, dual-use technologies refer to technologies which may have dual uses: civilian and military.
Prior to the amendments made to the SCOMET policy, the export of all drones regardless of their type was regulated under Category 5B of the SCOMET list. Under the revised policy, drones that have a range equal to or less than 25 km, with a payload capacity not exceeding 25 kg (excluding software and technology), and exclusively intended for civilian use, will now be subject to a “General Authorization for Export of Drones” (GAED). This one-time general license is valid for three years. Entities with this GAED license would not be required to apply for a separate SCOMET license for the export of these drones.
Eventually, these policy changes would encourage domestic manufacturers of drones to export easily and would develop the industry further.