Centre urged not to reduce customs duty on UK imports
Amid reports of the UK mounting pressure on the Indian government for massive tariff concessions on imports of Scotch whiskey
New Delhi: Amid reports of the UK mounting pressure on the Indian government for massive tariff concessions on imports of Scotch whiskey in the free trade agreement negotiations, the Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverage Companies (CIABC) has strongly objected to any plans to slash the Basic Customs Duty (BCD).
The CIABC has said that since the imports are already dominating the Indian market, any reduction in the BCD will make matters worse and squeeze Indian products totally out. "The balance of trade in alcoholic beverages is highly skewed in favour of the UK and any reduction in BCD will further worsen it," said CIABC Director General Vinod Giri.
The CIABC has been part of various recent meetings that the Ministry of Commerce has been organising with various stakeholders before the trade talks with the UK.
"India exports just Rs 5 crore worth of alcoholic beverages annually to UK against an import of Rs 1,300 crore. Exports to the UK constitute only 0.2 per cent of India's total exports of alcoholic beverages whereas imports from UK are 24 per cent of India's total import of alcoholic beverages," Giri said.
To support its argument, the CIABC has said that in premium segment of liquor (products costing above Rs 1,000 per 750 ml in Delhi) fully imported products and products imported in bulk and just bottled in India account for a whopping 98 per cent of the sales while a miniscule 2 per cent sale comprises genuine Indian products.