Mumbai: The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), a London-based industry lobby that represents European distillers and exporters on Friday said that imports of Scotch whisky into India declined 4% to £32 million in 2008. Imports to Asian markets, including the largest in the area China, increased by at least 5% to £598 million in value. Though SWA has not cited any reasons for the fall in Indian imports this year, it had earlier alleged that a discriminatory duty on imported liquor by various state governments in India had affected the sales of imported liquors in the country significantly.
However, SWA also claimed it has made significant progress in its ongoing negotiations with Indian state governments towards a non-discriminatory duty structure.
A senior official from Maharashtra excise department said that the state excise ministry is in talks with the representatives of SWA and is progressing.
The official who did not want to be identified said that the state government is still not in a position to issue a notification regarding a change in the existing tax structure for imported liquor.
SWA had also earlier moved the matter with the government of India saying such duties were in violation of world trade agreement, and that it might be forced to approach the World Trade Organisation (WTO).