US liquor companies urge India to remove extra duties

November 3rd, 2008 - 1:44 pm ICT by IANS  

New York, Nov 3 (IANS) Welcoming the last week’s ruling of the WTO Appellate Body against India imposing extra-additional duties on import of wine and spirits, a leading liquor traders’ association has demanded that New Delhi now remove these extra taxes.”India should now eliminate the extra-additional duties, which still apply to imported spirits, wines and other products,” said Debbie Lamb, senior vice president for international issues and trade at the Distilled Spirits Council.

The Council is a national trade association representing America’s leading brands of distilled spirits.

Last week, the WTO Appellate Body had ruled in favor of a US petition which challenged India’s decision to impose additional and extra-additional duties on wine, spirits and other agricultural and manufactured products. As a result taxes as high as 550 percent were imposed on US liquor.

“The Appellate Body ruling establishes that India’s additional and ‘extra additional’ customs duties on imported spirits and wines are discriminatory and illegal under WTO rules,” Lamb said.

The WTO Appellate Body’s ruling makes it clear that there can be “no justification” for imposing such a tax on wines and spirits being imported into India from the US, Lamb said.

India in its defense had argued that the duties were permitted because they simply offset certain internal taxes like such as value-added taxes. However, the WTO Appellate Body ruled that any import charges aimed at offsetting internal taxes cannot result in a higher amount being charged on imports than on like domestic products.

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