Patel agreeable to import duty cuts on luxury cars from EU

Last Updated: Mon, Nov 26, 2012 13:20 hrs

New Delhi, Nov 26 (IANS) Heavy Industries Minister Praful Patel Monday said his ministry is agreeable to cutting duty on luxury cars imported from Europe as part of the proposed India−European Union free trade agreement.

The readiness to accept duty cuts was in the interest of Indian small car exports to Europe, the minister said.

"The India−EU FTA has to be concluded at some future date... of course, it cannot be open ended," Patel told media persons here on the sidelines of the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers' (SIAM) summit on diesel technology.

"We also export a lot of smaller vehicles to the EU and we would like to continue to do that and increase that volume," he said.

Patel had earlier said he was opposed to reducing import duties in cars from Europe.

The Indian automobile industry has been opposing duty relaxations on import of cars from Europe on the ground that it would affect investments and job creation in the sector.

"We also need to arrive at some kind of mutually agreeable formula, where EU's concerns on larger vehicles can be addressed," Patel said.

"We are also a huge exporter of small vehicles into the EU. That fact also has to be kept in mind, otherwise we should also not be in a situation, where we discourage the exports of our products, smaller vehicles including, into the EU," Patel said.

In the current annual budget, basic customs duty was hiked to 75 percent from 60 percent for imported vehicles costing more than $40,000 and with engine capacity of over 3,000cc for petrol vehicles and 2,500cc for diesel vehicles.

On the possible quantum of duty concession on automobile imports from Europe, Patel said the government had not yet decided yet on figures.

"Between the negotiators, commerce ministry and us, we held couple of rounds of meetings, and we will reiterate our stand in the discussions, but at the same time let us see what is the proposal coming from the other side and then we will take a final call," the minister said.

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