Tamil Nadu tipplers can now swig imported liquor

November 11th, 2008 - 6:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Nov 11 (IANS) With India losing an appeal filed by the US at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) against its customs duty regime and restrictions on liquor imports by some states, imported wine and spirits will soon flow into Tamil Nadu, an official at a state-run agency said.On the condition of anonymity, the official of the Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corp (Tasmac), the sole liquor wholesale and retail agency in Tamil Nadu, told IANS that foreign brands such as Johnnie Walker (Red and Black Label), Smirnoff Black and Gordon’s Dry Gin will be soon available at its retail outlets.

The move to allow foreign brands is the result of the US winning an appeal against India a week ago at the WTO.

Delhi-based importer Brindco has reportedly bagged the first import order.

Foreign liquor companies had complained that some Indian states like Maharashtra levy high taxes on foreign liquor imports, while those like Tamil Nadu and Kerala did not provide market access.

Maharashtra, in order to encourage its grape farmers and local wineries, charges 200 percent tax on imported foreign wines and 150 percent on wines coming from other Indian states.

A delegation from WTO has arrived in Delhi to discuss the issues relating to high taxes and market access with the Indian government.

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