India likely to lower import duties in budget


New Delhi : India’s upcoming budget for 2008-09 may see some tweaking in the import duty structure, a top official of the Commerce and Industry Ministry said Saturday here.

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“Import duties need to be cut in certain areas such as raw material and inverted duties. We cannot reduce everything. Inverted duties have to be addressed at this time as lot of trade agreements are coming,” the official said.

“The inverted duty structure has to be dealt with now and we are looking at addressing it seriously,” the source said.

The Indian industry has also been pressing for a considerable reduction in the import duties for a long time now.

The import duty reduction as a result of various bilateral agreements has adversely affected sectors such as textiles.

Other sectors like chemicals, electronics, auto components, tyres and electrical equipment have also been affected due to various bilateral trade agreements signed by India.

The inverted duty structure impacts the domestic industry adversely as it has to pay a higher price for the raw material in terms of duty, the finished product on the other hand lands at lower duty and costs less.

The government had in 2006 set up a committee under Anwar-ul Hoda to examine the inverted duty structure. Even though, the committee’s report was submitted before budget last year, its recommendations were not implemented.