Reduce customs duty on chilled & frozen sea food and poultry to 10% & 20% respectively: ASSOCHAM plea

Apex industry body ASSOCHAM has urged the Union Government to reduce Customs duty on chilled and frozen sea food from present level of 30 per cent to 10 per cent to bring down food inflation and satiate high demand for sea food in India.

“Local fisheries will not get affected by imports because sea food availability in India is much lower than its demand,” highlighted ASSOCHAM in its pre-budget memorandum (indirect taxes) submitted to the Centre.

“High import duty makes it unviable to bring-in a variety of sea food products available globally which shall reduce food inflation tremendously and provide much-needed proteins to Indians at cheap cost,” said Mr D.S. Rawat, secretary general of ASSOCHAM.

The chamber has also suggested the Union Government to reduce customs duty on chilled and frozen poultry meat (chicken) to 20 per cent for whole chicken and that in parts as it is unlikely to destabilise the Rs 40,000 crore Indian poultry industry because majority of Indian market prefers live poultry over frozen food.

“Though chicken is a basic non-vegetarian food, but import duty on chicken products is as high as 100 per cent on its parts as such India is not able to import chicken,” highlighted the ASSOCHAM pre-budget recommendation.

Considering that prices of chicken produced in India are mostly much higher than that in rest of the world as its cost is decided upon its production, ASSOCHAM has appealed that it should be based on international prices.

“This shall have huge impact on food inflation,” it said.

Factors like growing affordability, rising health consciousness, increasing consumer awareness and with more women getting into jobs are together likely to boost demand for frozen chicken and sea food products.

Friday, January 27, 2017

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