New Delhi: The European Union wants India to cut import duties on wine and spirits to enable companies such as Diageo Plc and Pernod Ricard SA from increasing their market share in the world’s second-fastest growing major economy.
The EU may approach the World Trade Organization seeking a cut in Indian duty, Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel told reporters in New Delhi. India levies a 280% tax on imported wines and a 500% duty on spirits, she said.
“You have extremely high import tariffs,” Boel said. “Yesterday, we bought a very good bottle of Indian wine because we could not afford the European one.”
India imported 23.3 million euros (Rs135 crore) worth of Scotch whiskey in 2004, less than 1% of its total market, the EU says. That compares with shipments last year worth 46 million pounds (Rs394 crore) to China, where the import duty is 10%, and 370 million pounds worth to the US, the biggest export market for the liquor, the Edinburgh-based Scotch Whisky Association says.
Shares of Champagne Indage Ltd, an Indian wine maker, fell Rs8.45, or 1.4%, to Rs615 at 11:22 a.m. local time on the Bombay Stock Exchange. Shares of United Spirits Ltd, the country’s biggest spirits maker, rose 4.3% to Rs703.6.