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No immediate plan to cut gold import duty: Sitharaman

Says govt to unveil foreign trade policy soon

Agencies  |  New Delhi 

Nirmala Sitharaman
Nirmala Sitharaman

Trade Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today said the government is not considering an immediate gold import duty cut despite the current account deficit coming down.

"I cannot say that gold smuggling has increased because of hike in import duty. CAD has come down, but there is no thought to lower the import duty immediately," she said.

Government had raised the import duty on the yellow metal last year to 10% to limit overseas purchases by the second-biggest bullion consumer and help trim the bloated current account deficit. However, a dramatic improvement in the deficit had raised market expectations of a duty cut.

The foreign trade policy will also be unveiled very soon, she added.

The Commerce Ministry is scheduled to announce the new five-year Foreign Trade Policy (2014-19) as it seeks to boost manufacturing and exports, among other things.

Sitharaman said India will ask China to set up manufacturing units for exports as it seeks to restore economic momentum and create jobs. Chinese President Xi Jinping is to visit India this month.

On WTO's trade pact, Sitharam was hopeful that WTO members will understand India's position on public stockholding of food grains.

The government is also mulling dual usage of SEZ land to help developers earn faster returns. Decisions on modification of MAT and dividend distribution tax is on the cards to encourage SEZs, said Sitharaman.

The government has decided not to impose anti-dumping duty on imports of solar panels, she informed.

First Published: Wed, September 10 2014. 14:44 IST