Budget 2019: Higher Import Duties On Cashew Kernels To Benefit Industry
Cashews move through chutes in preparation for packaging at a processing facility. (Photographer: Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg)

Budget 2019: Higher Import Duties On Cashew Kernels To Benefit Industry

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The government hiked import duty on cashew kernels to 70 percent from the current 45 percent, a move which exporters body Cashew Export Promotion Council of India hailed saying it will help revive the crisis-hit industry.

As per the budget 2019-20 document, the customs duty on both plain and broken cashew kernels will be raised.

However, the council’s request for hike in import duty and placing roasted cashew under prohibited items is yet to be decided, the council’s Chairman RK Bhoodes said. Also, the request to withdraw 2.5 percent import duty on raw cashew nut which was much awaited by the industry isn’t seen addressed in the budget, he said.

The council also demanded the government to put a complete ban on the import of roasted cashew, semi-finished cashews and husk, and to roll back the import duty on raw cashew nuts.

Also read: Budget 2019: Petrol, Diesel To Be Costlier; Tax On Super-Rich, Gold Imports

According to the council, the industry is heavily dependent on imported cashew and the import duty has made the domestic processing unviable resulting in diversion of raw cashew nut from other producing countries to our competing countries.

Apart from that, there has been a surge in imports of plain and also semi-finished cashew kernels into the country by “mis-declarations and making use of loopholes in the existing laws”, it said.

Large volume of plain cashew kernels are imported under the pretext of roasted cashews which attracts zero duty under various free-trade agreements. Also, bulk volumes of semi-finished kernels are imported under advance authorisation scheme and sold in the domestic market, it said.

Besides, huge volumes of broken cashew kernels are regularly imported by mixing them with cashew husk and declaring them as husk alone, the council said. “With these types of imports, genuine processors or exporters find it difficult to survive and the industry is almost at the verge of a total collapse,” Bhoodes said.

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