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  • ‘Illegal cashew kernel imports a big worry’

    Mar 7th, 2019

    The Cashew Export Promotion Council of India (CEPCI) has raised serious concerns over rising illegal import of cashew kernels, saying this has hit the crisis-ridden domestic industry. CEPCI pointed out that large scale imports of low-quality, plain cashew kernels from competing countries such as Vietnam, Mozambique and Ivory Coast have led to closure of several cashew factories that provides gainful employment to more than 10 lakh workers, majority of them are women.

    According to R.K.Bhoodes, Chairman, CEPCI, plain cashew kernels that falls under chapter 8 of the customs tariff is levied a basic customs duty of 45 per cent. Also, the minimum import prices of ₹288/kg for broken grades and ₹400/kg for whole cashew are fixed and 45 per cent of the same is levied as the basic customs duty for imports .

    However, roasted cashew kernels and further value-added cashew products which comes under chapter 20 of the customs tariff under various Free Trade Agreements have been fully exempted from payment of basic customs duty. Misusing these provisions, he pointed out, several importers ship large volumes of plain cashew kernels (mostly brokens), which are inferior in quality vis-a-vis Indian products. Since these countries do not have a domestic market, they sell it in the Indian market at throw-away prices.

    As such low-quality and low-priced broken kernels are dumped in the domestic market evading customs duty, genuine processors are finding difficulties in selling their products. This has not only impacted prices in the domestic market but making domestic processing unviable as well. Further, re-exporting of low-quality whole kernels of other countries with Indian label has tarnished the brand of Indian kernels. Exports of imported unpeeled cashew kernels can also avail of 5 per cent export incentive as applicable to fully processed cashew in India. “This is a big blow to the efforts of the CEPCI to promote Indian cashew as a brand,” Bhoodes said. CEPCI also demanded that the import of cashew kernels (including the 12 categories of mis-declarations) should be subject to 100 per cent inspection by the Customs for sampling and testing. Fraudulent importers should be blacklisted and Cofeposa should be invoked against repeated importers.