No plan to raise overall import duties on foreign alcohol, says govt

Topics alcohol | Cigarettes | Budget 2020

There is no proposal to raise overall import duties on foreign alcohol, government sources said, days after news broke that the government plans to limit the purchase of alcohol at airport duty-free shops.

The commerce department has reportedly suggested to the finance ministry that the upcoming Budget prohibit purchase of cigarette cartons at duty-free shops. 

Officials say the move is to crack down on the import of non-essential items, but large-scale import duty hikes are not planned at the moment. Instead, the government is going ahead with a move to place restrictions on 371 items ranging from toys, plastic goods, sports items and furniture, after they were categorised as “non-essential”.

The latest information is expected to calm the nerves of alcohol importers who had panicked after rumors about the government planning to restrict overall alcohol sales spread.

As of now, strong alcohol, including vodka, whiskey and liqueur, among others, attract a basic customs duty of 150 per cent along with other charges, while beer has a customs duty of 100 per cent. Import of alcohol has grown over the past couple of years.

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel