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Growers seek relook at pepper duties under trade pacts to curb cheap imports

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Pepper growers have demanded that the government have a relook at the lower import duty structure has under pacts and ISLFTA so as to protect domestic players.

There is a concessional duty of 8 per cent for the spice under the (Free Agreement), while import of 2,500 tonnes of pepper is allowed at zero duty under the ISLFTA (Free Agreement).

On the other hand, import duty on pepper is kept higher at 52 per cent for ASEAN region and 70 per cent for and other countries.

"There are apprehensions that since most of the pepper-producing countries are in the ASEAN region, pepper from the region is being routed through taking advantage of lower duty under and ISLFTA," Consortium of Growers Organisation (CBPGO) Vishwanath K K told PTI.

This has put pressure on domestic pepper prices, which have slumped to Rs 300 per kg at present, he said and urged the government to relook at the duty structure.

A representation on this issue has been made to union ministries of agriculture, commerce and finance, he added.

South based CBPGO further said that Indian pepper is of high quality and domestic prices have always been about 40 per cent higher than Vietnamese pepper.

But domestic pepper prices have fallen below the cost of production of Rs 341 per kg at present, it said.

While the fixing of minimum import price (MIP) at Rs 500 per kg has helped contain imports to some extent, the local prices still remain lower, it added.

CBPGO represents 10 lakh indigenous growers from Karnataka, and

India's pepper output stood at 58,000 tonnes during 2017-18, while the consumption was around 72,000 tonnes, as per the growers body.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, August 08 2018. 13:50 IST