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US Cautiously Welcomes Indian Withdrawal Of Additional Alcohol Duties

by Glen Shapiro, LawAndTax-News.com, New York

11 July 2007


The United States has cautiously welcomed a decision by the Indian authorities to remove an additional customs duty imposed on imports of wine and distilled spirits.

On top of its basic customs duties, India imposes an “additional duty” and an “extra additional duty” on imports of wine and distilled spirits, resulting in aggregated duties on these imports that range from approximately 150-550%.

Under its WTO commitments, however, India agreed that its tariffs on wine and spirits would not exceed 150%.

Earlier this year, the United States requested World Trade Organization dispute settlement consultations with India over the customs duties.

The European Commission had also requested WTO dispute settlement consultations on India’s duties on wine and distilled spirits.

Commenting on the the Indian government's July 3 announcement of the withdrawal of its “additional duty” on beer, wine and distilled spirits, as well as an increase in the basic customs tariff on wine from 100% to 150%, US Trade Representative, Susan Schwab announced that:

"We are studying India’s recent announcement that it has withdrawn the additional duty on imports of alcoholic beverages. Withdrawal of this duty would be a positive step in addressing U.S. concerns. What we are seeking is a level playing field, consistent with India’s WTO commitments.”


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