Not satisfied with the reduction in import duty on raw cashew nuts from five per cent to 2.5 per cent, the Cashew Export Promotion Council of India (CEPCI) has urged the central government to roll back the cess completely, to help the Indian cashew industry compete with the international players like Vietnam.
The Government of India had considered exporters' request and reduced the import duty from five per cent to 2.5 per cent on imported raw cashew nuts in Union Budget 2017-18. The industry is not completely enthused by this budget announcement as it had expected a complete roll-back, CEPCI said.
"CEPCI has already taken up the matter of complete roll-back of import duty with the Finance Minister and Commerce Minister," said R K Bhoodes, chairman, CEPCI, at the Council's annual general meeting earlier.
According to the Council, production of raw cashew nuts in India during 2017-18 was 817,045 tonnes, up 4.8 per cent from 779,335 tonnes in 2016-17.
India's total raw cashew nut imports during 2017-18 stood at 649,050 tonnes worth Rs 88.5 billion as against 770,446 tonnes valued at Rs 88.39 billion in 2016-17. As per the Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics (DGCI&S), the unit price of imported raw cashew nut was Rs 136.35 per kg in 2017-18 as against Rs 114.73 the previous year, the CEPCI annual report says.
Major sources of imported nuts were Ivory Coast, Tanzania, Guinea Bissau, Benin, Ghana, Mozambique, Nigeria, and Senegal.
The cashew-processing industry in Kerala has also urged the central government to roll back import duty to help the sector, which is reeling under a financial crisis. The lack of modernisation and high wages are making Indian exports uncompetitive as the cost of processing is lower in other exporting countries. The import duty, coupled with these high costs, has a negative impact on the industry, say experts.
CEPCI has said that apart from these issues, its request to revise Minimum Import Price (MIP) on cashew kernels and allied products is also under process.