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Business News/ News / India cuts import duty on berries, turkey as per deal with US
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India cuts import duty on berries, turkey as per deal with US

The US earlier said that once the agreement on duty rate cut is implemented, Washington will work with New Delhi “to notify within 10 days thereafter” a mutually agreed solution for terminating the outstanding WTO dispute.

Now, dried or frozen cranberries and blueberries will attract a 10% customs duty.Premium
Now, dried or frozen cranberries and blueberries will attract a 10% customs duty.

The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has lowered customs duty on imported blueberries, cranberries and turkey as was agreed with the US last year to end a trade dispute. The duty cuts are from 30% to 10% in some cases and to 5% in some others, showed an official order.

The US wants to improve American farmers' market access for these products and considers the most populous nation in the world a key market for them.

CBIC said the duty rate change is made in public interest. Accordingly, frozen turkey and edible offal will attract a customs duty of 5% when imported into India, down from 30% earlier and fresh, dried or frozen cranberries and blueberries will attract a 10% customs duty. Also, prepared or preserved cranberries will attract only 5% import duty, while preserved blueberries will attract 10% import duty, the order said.

India imported meat and edible offal of turkey worth $70,000, fresh cranberries and bluberries worth $20,000 and dried cranberries and blueberries worth $20,000 from the US in FY23, as per data available from the commerce ministry.

Experts said the rate cut is in line with a bilateral deal between India and the US last year aimed at resolving past disputes. On all these items, the import duty rate prior to the latest revision was 30%, explained Khushbu Trivedi, associate director- indirect tax at Nangia Andersen India, a business advisory firm. “Reduction of the duty on these niche items rarely produced in India would help the USA in penetrating the Indian market, and also in bringing the prices of these products down in India," said Trivedi, adding that the rate cut will also benefit other WTO members.

Also, CBIC reduced the import duty on certain category of cotton—not carded or combed, with staple length exceeding 32mm—to zero from 5% earlier.

On 8 September last year, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced that India and the US agreed to resolve their last outstanding dispute at the WTO regarding certain farm produce. As per this, India agreed to reduce tariffs on US products including frozen turkey, frozen duck and blueberries and cranberries in imported in various stages. 

The tariff cuts are meant to expand economic opportunities for US farm producers in a critical market and help bring more US products to customers in India, a statement from the US said then quoting Tai. Ambassador Tai also then said in a letter shared with commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal that once the agreement on duty rate cut is implemented, the US will work with India “to notify within 10 days thereafter" a mutually agreed solution for terminating the outstanding WTO dispute. 

India's imports from the US stood at $50.8 billion in FY23, showing a 17% growth from the year before, while India exported items worth $78.5 billion to the US in that year, 3% more than the exports to that market in the year before, according to data from the commerce ministry.

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Published: 20 Feb 2024, 09:10 PM IST
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