Is a duty cut for international wine and spirits in India any nearer?

Is a duty cut for international wine and spirits in India any nearer?

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has calmed reports that Indian authorities have offered to cut the duty on international wine and spirits from 150% to 40%.

A report by Indian daily Business Standard today (17 June) claimed that the country's Commerce and Industry Minister, Anand Sharma, made the offer to the trade commissioner for the European Union, Karel de Gucht, during the latest round of talks between India and the EU over a free trade agreement. Discussions have been ongoing for the better part of five years, with no deal struck and no end in sight.

The EU, however, is pushing for a 30% duty limit on wine and spirit from the bloc, Business Standard claimed.

When contacted by just-drinks today, a spokesperson for the SWA, which has been pushing for a duty cut on behalf of its members, said no such development has been confirmed.

“One of the outcomes we are looking for from the EU-India free trade agreement is a reduction in the 150% tariff,” the spokes person said. “Discussions are on-going, and we are hopeful they will complete this year.

“We are looking for an end tariff comparable to other major markets such as China (10%) and Brazil (20%),” the spokesperson continued, adding that she “has not heard of any new developments on this”.

Any FTA between the two sides will cover over 95% of tariff lines, according to a representative of the Indian authorities.