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Agri-Biz & Commodities - Spices & Condiments


Spices Board initiates action against clove importer

G.K. Nair

Kochi , Aug. 6

THE Spices Board has initiated action against a Delhi-based company for violating the Exim policy provisions by importing spices under advance licence scheme for exporting.

As per the Exim policy provisions, "any manufacturer, who desires to process clove oil/cassia oleoresin/masala should obtain a manufacturing capacity certificate (after assessing the processing facilities) from the Spices Board for import of these under the Advance License Scheme," Mr S. Kannan, Director (Marketing), told Business Line.

He said the company had not applied for the required manufacturing capacity certificate and also it was confirmed that the firm had not registered with the Spices Board, which "is a statutory requirement for effecting any shipment of spices and spice products." The company was reported to have imported cloves/ cassia under advance license scheme for exporting masala/clove oil/ cassia oleoresin, he said.

The Board had already taken up the issue with the DGFT, New Delhi and the Customs authorities at all the ports in the country.

Earlier, it had come to the notice of the authorities when the Kochi Customs had detained a consignment of 24 tonnes of cloves imported from Pakistan by a Bangalore-based company suspecting its country of origin and sought clarifications from the Spices Board.

The Board then took up this issue with the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and the Indian Embassy in Islamabad and sought their clarificationWhile the Chamber remained silent on the issue, the Embassy responded saying clove was not grown in Pakistan.

The samples from the consignment received from the Customs were tested in the Board's laboratory and it was found out to of inferior quality.

Import of spices from SAARC countries attract nil duty while from other countries it is 70 per cent.

This high duty rate is encouraging the importers to route their imports through SAARC countries to evade the 70 per cent duty, market sources said.

The Delhi-based company is alleged to have imported 303 tonnes of cloves and 206 tonnes of steam cloves through the Kochi port during March 15 to June 29, 2004 under Advance License scheme.

The value of 103 tonne of cloves imported through this port between June 22-29, assessed as per bills of entry comes to around Rs 1.39 crore.

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