Govt to rationalise luxury items import tariff

Written by Agencies | New Delhi, March 28: | Updated: Mar 28 2008, 17:24pm hrs
In a move aimed at checking the revenue loss stemming from Indian shoppers purchasing luxury brands abroad, the government on Friday said it could rationalize import duties.

"India has high tariffs and we recognise that if you go abroad and buy, then it is a revenue loss for India. So we are working on both duties and countervailing duties," Union Commerce Minister Kamal Nath said in New Delhi at the Mint-Hindustan Times Luxury conference.

He said, the Commerce Ministry has already started the work and has forwarded proposal to the Finance Ministry for duty cut.

"We will continue to urge the finance minister for some rationalisation and if he does that then I do see some reforms," Nath said.

He also said there was a need to differentiate high and low end products so that differential tariffs could be applied.

Commenting on high tariff that India imposes on imported wines and spirits, the minister said it was done to protect the country's interest and also to counter 'discrimination" on Indian whiskey.

"The government has chosen not to reduce tax on imported wines and spirits because of discrimination against selling Indian whisky in Europe on the basis that it was made from molasses and not malt," he said.

Admitting that this issue was being sorted out at the WTO, the minister said: "Discussions are on and I am sure we will find a way out."