The government today raised import duties up to 100 per cent on five products, including wheat, shelled almond, walnut, and protein concentrate, which are imported from the US and other developed nations.
Invoking “emergency powers” to increase import duties under Section 8A of the Customs Act, the Finance Ministry increased basic customs duty on walnut in shell from 30 per cent to 100 per cent.
The duty on shelled almond was hiked to Rs 100/kg from Rs 65/kg, while that on wheat, the basic customs duty has been increased to 30 per cent from 20 per cent.
Import of protein concentrate will now be subject to 40 per cent duty, up from 10 per cent. However, the duty on protein concentrate and textured protein substance has been raised to 40 per cent, from 30 per cent, according to notifications issued by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC).
The government last week had told the World Trade Organisation (WTO) that it would raise duties by up to 100 per cent on 20 products such as almonds, walnut, wheat, apple and specific motorcycles imported from the US, if Washington fails to roll back high tariffs on certain steel and aluminium items.
Deloitte India Partner M S Mani said, “the hike in Customs duties on selected items appears in continuation of similar hikes on certain other items including agricultural products. They could increase the preference for local production as imports would become more expensive”.
According to experts, bulk of wheat import by India comes from the United States and Canada and both the countries have reported record production.
On March 9, US President Donald Trump imposed heavy tariffs on imported steel and aluminium items, a move that has sparked fears of a global trade war.
Trump signed two proclamations that levied a 25 per cent tariff on steel and a 10 per cent tariff on aluminium imported from all countries, except Canada and Mexico.