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'Excise duty on foreign liquor against WTO norm'

Our Regional Bureau  |  Hyderabad 

Sunil Mehdiratta, secretary-general of International Spirits and Wine Association of India (ISWAI), in a press release issued here today, alleged that the is violating the by levying excise duty on imported foreign liquor.
"In the absence of a separate tax structure for foreign liquor (BIO- bottled in origin), the same taxes applicable for liquor products manufactured in India are levied on BIO products too. However, according to WTO regulations, since BIO brands like Chivas Regal, Johnnie Walker are manufactured outside India, excise duty cannot be levied on these products," he said.
According to the press release, the existing tax structure which is applicable in addition to Federal import duties creates a discriminatory tax environment against foreign brands in Andhra Pradesh and the end pricing of foreign liquor becomes prohibitive.
For example, 750 ml of premium products like Johnnie Walker costs Rs 6,000 in the state as compared to Rs 2,550 in Delhi, the ISWAI representative said.
He further stated that as a result of prohibitive retail price, consumers are resorting to grey market and unknowingly to spurious liquor.
He urged the state government to urgently announce a separate tax structure for foreign liquor.

First Published: Sat, May 07 2005. 00:00 IST