INDIA: Government pushes for 100% sugar import duty

Published: 02/01/2018, 7:55:24 AM

Apprehending import of cheaper sugar from Pakistan, the food ministry has pushed for 100% import duty on the sweetener. Currently, import duty on sugar is at 50%, according to the Times of India newspaper.

Pakistan has hiked the amount of sugar eligible for export subsidies to two million tonnes from five lakh tonnes in view of excess domestic supplies.

Sources said the proposal to hike the duty is before the commerce ministry, which is likely to take a decision soon. "At present there is no import of sugar. But Pakistan offering sugar at cheaper rate could attract importers. The proposal to hike import duty is to avoid any shipment of the sweetener. We have enough sugar to meet our demand. We may rather have to come out with export incentive," said a government official who did not wish to be named.

There are indications that the government may allow export of raw sugar under Duty Free Import Authorization (DFIA) scheme, which was withdrawn in May 2015. These two measures have become necessary to ensure that the Indian sugar mills are able to pay the sugarcane arrears of farmers. The Modi government has been successful in minimising the cane arrears in comparison to the UPA regime.