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  • Cashew lobby hails import duty hike on kernels, other products

    Jun 9th, 2019

    The Cashew Export Promotion Council of India (CEPCI) has welcomed the decision to hike the import duty on cashew kernels (both wholes and brokens) and cashew other items (semi–finished cashew and other products) from 45 per cent to 70 per cent. This decision is a relief to the crisis-hit industry, which is on a revival path, said RK Bhoodes, Chairman, CEPCI. The CEPCI had asked the government to increase the minimum import price on cashew wholes from ₹400 per kg to ₹720 per kg and for broken cashews from ₹288 per kg to ₹ 680 per kg. It had also sought a hike in import duty on all cashew kernels.

    However, the government is yet to decide on the request to place roasted cashew and cashew other items (semi-finished, husk, shell etc) in the list of ‘prohibited items’.

    The request to withdraw 2.5 per cent import duty on raw cashew nut — a key demand — has also not been addressed in the Budget. The industry is dependent on imported cashew for processing and the import duty has made the domestic processing unviable, resulting in diversion of raw cashew nut from other producing countries to competing countries.

    Import surge

    There has been a surge in imports of plain and semi-finished cashew kernels as some mischievous elements declare the items wrongly and exploit the loopholes in existing laws. Large volumes of plain cashew kernels are imported under the pretext of roasted cashews which attracts zero duty under various free trade pacts. Also, bulk volumes of semi-finished kernels are imported under advance authorisation scheme and sold in the domestic market.

    The export obligations are too lenient on imports of semi–finished kernels.

    Also, huge volumes of cashew broken are regularly being imported by mixing them with cashew husk and declaring them as only husk. With these types of imports, genuine processors/exporters find it difficult to survive and the industry is almost on the verge of collapse, Bhoodes said.