India has requested Uzbekistan to cut import duties on leather goods, engineering products and some textile items to promote trade between the countries, the commerce ministry said today. The issue was raised by Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during her meeting with Uzbekistan’s Foreign Affairs Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov and Foreign Trade Minister Elyor Ganiev here yesterday. Sitharaman requested “for reduction of import duty on leather goods and footwear in Uzbekistan from current 30 per cent to 10 per cent, which is the current most favoured nation rate in India,” the ministry said in a statement. She mentioned that India could source finished leather from Uzbekistan.
The minister also urged the Uzbek ministers to consider reducing import duty on Indian engineering exports to the central Asian nation. Besides, Uzbekistan was asked to look at reducing import tariff on fabrics and made-ups.
Sitharaman stated that existence of non-tariff barriers such as import quotas, licensing, price and foreign exchange control, complex customs and administrative procedures and harsh sanitary norms have been limiting inter-regional trade between the countries.
The Foreign Trade Minister of Uzbekistan said his government was “seriously” working to liberalise and simplify various procedures, systems and norms. He expressed hope that most of the difficulties faced by Indian exporters would get resolved shortly. Further, Sitharaman pitched for simplify procedure for granting visa to Indian businessmen and tourists. The Indian minister also suggested setting up and activation of a private industry led Joint Business Council to develop and enhance business relations at all levels.
Uzbek India Trading House has been formed here with a view to promote trade and investments. The bilateral trade between the countries stood at USD 155.76 million in 2016-17. Both the sides have aimed at taking this figure to USD 1 billion in the next three years.