The government is likely to cut import tariffs on
wines and spirits in view of the demand from major trading
partners such as the EU and the US who have approached
the dispute settlement body at the World Trade Organisation
wants to avoid that the matter goes to the WTO's dispute
settlement body. I hope a solution could be found as
the matter is being discussed at the highest level,"
commerce and industry minister Kamal Nath said after
meeting EU agriculture commissioner Mariann Fischer
US has, meanwhile, approached the WTO against India
over the high customs duty it imposes on import of wine
and distilled spirits.
have raised this issue with the government of India
on several occasions over a number of years. We hope
the matter can be successfully resolved in WTO consultations,"
US trade representative Susan C Schwab said.
however, said it wants the issue to be resolved before
the matter goes to the dispute settlement mechanism
at the multi-lateral body.
the US had moved the WTO with a complaint against India,
the EU had already filed a complaint and is threatening
to press for a dispute settlement panel to begin litigations,
Kamal Nath said.
wines and spirits are taxed at rates ranging from 264
per cent to 550 per cent in the country
however, said that while the US and the EU were free
to complain to the WTO, discussions were on with the
governments and a solution would be found.
also told Boel about discrimination being faced by Indian
whiskey makers in European markets. Boel pointed out
that Indian whiskey couldn't be sold in Europe as whiskey
since it is made from molasses and not grain.
had committed that its tariffs on wines and spirits
would not exceed 150 per cent while it imposes an 'additional
duty' and an 'extra additional duty' on top of the basic
customs duty on imports of wine and distilled spirits,
resulting in aggregated duties on these imports ranging
from approximately 150 to 550 per cent.
WTO rules, parties that do not resolve an issue through
consultations may refer the matter to a WTO disputes
its fast-growing middle class, India could be an important
export market for American wines and distilled spirits
if not for these layers of duties," Schwab said.
cases where wine and distilled spirits may enter India
under special duty-free rules, such as for airport duty
free and use in luxury hotels, US exports of these products
to India have gone up by 350 per cent and 200 per cent
respectively between 2000 and 2005.
because of the high duties imposed on the vast majority
of American wines and spirits, total exports to India