More than five lakh pieces of Chinese unbranded mobile phones are lying unclaimed in the Mumbai Custom’s Air Cargo Complex following a hike in the Countervailing Duty (anti-subsidy duty) from 1% to 6% on mobile phones having a maximum retail price (MRP) of above Rs. 2,000, in the recent budget.
To avoid paying the extra duty or facing inquiry by underpricing the mobiles, the importers have not claimed the phones yet.
Most of the mobiles are touch screen phones. Sources in the Customs department said the consignment of Chinese unbranded mobile phones had not been cleared by importers for more than a week now. “Usually such consignments are cleared within 24 to 48 hours,” said a Customs official.
The official said the importers are reluctant to declare the MRP, as once declared, the price would remain in the records for future use and they would continue to have to pay duty at the rate of 6%. “If they declare less value, there would be an inquiry and if found to be suppressing prices to evade duty, they would be penalised and the consignment confiscated,” he said.
He added that prices for different types of phone would have to be fixed at different levels. “The fact that they are unbranded complicates the matter,” the official said, adding that if the consignment remains unclaimed for 30 days, the process for auctioning the same would begin.