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Reduce customs duty on chilled & frozen sea food to 10%, says ASSOCHAM
Tuesday, 31 January, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, New Delhi
The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) has urged the Centre to reduce customs duty on chilled and frozen sea food from the present level of 30 per cent to 10 per cent to bring down food inflation and satiate the high demand for seafood in India.
“Local fisheries will not get affected by imports because seafood availability in India is much lower than its demand,” highlighted the trade body in its pre-budget memorandum (indirect taxes) submitted to the Centre.
“High import duty makes it unviable to bring in a variety of seafood products available globally, which shall reduce food inflation tremendously and provide much-needed proteins to Indians at a low cost,” said D S Rawat, secretary general, ASSOCHAM.
It also suggested that the Centre reduce customs duty on chilled and frozen poultry meat (chicken) to 20 per cent for whole chicken and its parts, as it is unlikely to destabilise the Rs 40,000-crore Indian poultry industry because a majority of the Indian market prefers live poultry over frozen food.
“Though chicken is a basic non-vegetarian food, import duty on chicken products is as high as 100 per cent on its parts. As such India is not able to import chicken,” highlighted ASSOCHAM’s pre-budget recommendation.
Considering that the prices of chicken produced in India are mostly much higher than those in other parts of the world (as its cost is decided upon its production), ASSOCHAM has appealed that it should be based on international prices.
“This shall have a huge impact on food inflation,” it stated.
Factors like growing affordability, rising health consciousness, increasing consumer awareness and more women getting into jobs are likely to boost the demand for frozen chicken and seafood products.
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