The government on Tuesday said that the removal of additional retaliatory duties on imports of US apples, walnuts and almonds will not result in any negative impact on domestic producers.
Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said that the opposition parties particularly Congress is politicizing the subject without having a complete understanding of the subject.
There is a regular duty of 50 per cent and Rs 50 per kg minimum import price on apples.
“We have just removed the retaliatory duty…the move would not have any impact on domestic apple producers. There will be no impact on prices also. Consumers will get more choices,” Goyal told reporters here.
Earlier in the day, Additional Secretary in the Department of Commerce Peeyush Kumar said the Most Favoured Nation duty of 50 per cent and 100 per cent continues to be applicable on US apples and walnuts as only additional 20 per cent duty is removed.
There is no reduction on the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) duty on apples, walnuts and almonds, which still applies to all imported products, including US-origin products, he added.
“This measure will not result in any negative impact on domestic apple, walnut and almond producers. Rather, it will result in competition in the premium market segment of apples, walnuts and almonds, thereby ensuring better quality at competitive prices for our Indian consumers,” he told reporters here.
The market share of the US apples dwindled as other countries benefited from the imposition of additional retaliatory duties on the US apple and walnut imports.
He added that the removal of additional duties will now ensure fair competition among the countries which are exporting these products to India. The clarification has come amid the opposition Congress criticising the government’s decision to reduce import duty on apples.
The Centre has reduced the import duty on the Washington apple, which will also directly affect the horticulturalists of the State, thereby causing losses to them, the Congress said.
National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Monday appealed to the Centre to reconsider its decision to remove the additional duty on apples, walnuts and almonds imported from the US, saying the government should try to make its own people happy instead of pleasing foreigners.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)