Gem and jewellery industry seeks lower import duty on gold

The gem and jewellery industry has asked the government to cut import duty on gold from 10 per cent to 4-5 per cent and extend the benefits of the merchandise export from India scheme (MEIS) to the sector to offset the impact of the value added tax in Dubai to be introduced from January 2018.

''We expect our exports to stagnate at $43 billion this year because of the existing high customs duty on gold, the implementation of the goods and services tax, low global demand situation and the value added tax to be introduced by Dubai in January. Exports can increase only if the government brings down import duty and gives the industry an incentives package,'' Praveenshankar Pandya, chairman, Gems & Jewellery Export Promotion Council said at a press conference on Monday.

While the industry was earlier estimating a 10 per cent growth in exports in 2017-18 compared to the previous fiscal, Pandya said it will not happen without government intervention.

The GJEPC has already made representation to the finance ministry and the commerce ministry and is hopeful of some favourable action on the import duty front before the Union Budget for 2018-19.

Infact, the commerce ministry has been making a case for lowering of import duty on gold from 10 per cent to 2 per cent.

The GJEPC has also called for a five-year comprehensive gold policy and a single regulator for the sector. ''We want a five-year gold policy on the lines of the foreign trade policy. While all departments concerned should pitch in to formulate the policy, the regulation should be done by only one, preferably the commerce and industry ministry,'' Pandya said.

Meanwhile, commerce and industry minister Suresh Prabhu said his ministry is working on a package in consultation with the gems and jewellery industry to boost export and create jobs in this labour intensive sector.

The ministry has already asked the gems and jewellery industry to work out a proper business plan to promote growth of the sector.

"We have some time left, in another few weeks we have to finalise it as Budget will be in February, so we have to work on that," PTI quoted Prabhu as saying.