If the industry comes up with some items on which duties can be brought down without hurting the local industry, we will be happy to look at it, commerce and industry minister Kamal Nath said. Defending the high tariff on imports of goods like leather and textile products, the minister said it was to ensure that cheap imports from countries like China does not flood the local market.
He also said that the duty on high value goods can be brought down on the lines of a model which would be adopted in the case of wines and spirits. Nath said, We recognise that duties on wines is high. We are looking at lowering tariffs. We are in the advanced of negotiations and the issue will be addressed.
Though the European Union had registered a complaint against India regarding high tariffs on wines and spirits, Nath said the issue would be sorted out through dialogue. He also demanded that the EU accept imports of Indian whiskey. Currently, the EU does not recognise Indian whiskey as it is made of molasses. As per the definition of World Customs Organisation, only spirits made from grain can be called whiskey.
Nath said the government had received 26 proposals since permitting FDI in single brand retail last year, adding that out of these 12 have been granted approval, three were rejected and the remaining 11 proposals were still under consideration.
The minister also asked international luxury brands to help catapult Indian brands to global stage.
Meanwhile, French trade minister Christine Lagarde said that her country was ready to share expertise regarding registration of Indian designs to in turn help Indian designers obtain maximum value.