INDIA: States restart spirit tax bunfight
Mumbai, the largest city in India, has introduced a 200% tax on imported spirits.
The state government for Mumbai in Maharashtra imposed the tax over the weekend, ahead of the adoption of new rules allowing individual states to apply tax to imported spirits. The move drew a stinging attack from the Scotch Whisky Association. "Individual states in India must tax imported and domestic spirit drinks on a non-discriminatory basis," a spokesperson for the trade body told just-drinks today (16 July).
"We are disappointed that Maharashtra has introduced a new excise policy without waiting for federal authority to do so and we are studying the details of the new regime. Early indications are that the new policy may not be fully compatible with WTO rules - treating imported and domestic spirits differently - and we will be discussing our concerns further with EU and Indian officials."
Earlier this month, the Indian government confirmed that it has withdrawn the additional customs duty on imported spirits, wine and beer. India's taxes on imported spirits have been a major bugbear for many spirits trade bodies. The current overall tariff and tax burden on imported Scotch whisky is as high as 550%, according to the SWA.
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