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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Govt negotiating cap on duty free vanaspati import

NEW DELHI: The government today said it is negotiating with Sri Lanka a deal to operationalise a cap on the duty free import of vanaspati from the island nation.

Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath in his meeting with visiting Sri Lankan Minister of Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion Sarath Amunugama expressed the hope that the negotiations on the issue would be concluded soon.

While India has put a Tariff Rate Quota (TRQ) on vanaspati import from Sri Lanka, its operationalisation is yet to begin. In the TRQ arrangement, a limit is put on the quantity of duty free import that a country allows under the bilateral trade agreement.

India and Sri Lanka have a free trade agreement which was said to be misused for dumping of vansapti manufactured in the neighbouring country to the detriment of Indian producers.

India has also given a TRQ of three million pieces of garments to Sri Lanka without any condition of sourcing of fabrics and port-restrictions. Further cooperation between the two nations include bilateral cooperation agreement on product, quality, certification and testing that has been signed between Sri Lankan Standards Institute and Bureau of Indian Standards, an official release said.

Trade between the two countries increased from 1,497 million dollars in 2004-05 to 2,590 million dollars in 2005-06 and is valued at 2,462.28 million dollars in 2006-07.

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