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Govt adds more items under SAPTA duty concession list

K.R. Srivats

New Delhi , Feb. 28

THE Government has expanded the list of items that can be imported from the other six signatories to the SAARC Preferential Trade Agreement (SAPTA) at preferential import duties.

Besides India, the other signatories to SAPTA are Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Tariff concessions have also been deepened on certain items that already enjoy preferential import tariffs for imports into India from these six SAARC member countries. The Government has now pegged the tariff concession on salt (including table salt and denatured salt) at 25 per cent of the applied rate of customs duty.

Cotton yarn, lamps and light fittings, safety glass, float glass, glass shells for making picture tubes, printing ink, writing ink, hand made paper, cartons, boxes of paper and paperboards, registers, notebooks, exercise books, polishes for footwear are among the new items that can be imported into India from March 1 at a preferential tariff under SAPTA.

Informed sources said that the import duty concession has been pegged at 10 per cent of the applied rate of customs duty for these items. Concessional duty benefits have been offered also on imports of tiles, marble blocks, shower baths, wash basins and other sanitary fittings.

While such tariff concessions are aimed at enhancing intra-SAARC trade, some trade experts pointed out this may result in relocation of some of the industries to the neighbouring countries.

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