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Press Trust Of India
Hyderabad, February 13, 2014
Scotch whisky prices in India are likely come down after successful conclusion of free trade agreement with European Union, a top official of Scotitsh investment and trade promotion agency SDI said in Thursday.

The current 150% of import duty on Scotch whisky may come down to 40% once the FTA (free trade agreement) talks are concluded successfully, Rooma Kumar Bussi, Country Manager, India, Scottish Development International (SDI) said.

"There is an EU-India FTA that is being negotiated. And the negotiation on the import duty on whisky is part of that. So, I understand that those discussions are still going on. Once they are concluded then we expect that there would be some change (in the import duty on Scotch whisky)."

"Currently, about 150% import duty is laid on Scotch whisky. And then we have state taxes as well," Bussi said.

According to statistics published by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), India imported nearly 16.5 million litres of Scotch whisky worth nearly GBP 62 million (Rs 560 crore) in 2012.

A delegation of SWA that visited India in 2011 had said that a steep custom duty forced many consumers to go to grey market. The situation also led to loss of revenue for businesses as well as government, it had added.

"If introduced, the FTA would reduce the tariff with the aim of bringing it into line with other markets, such as China where the levy is 10% or Brazil where it is 20%," the SWA had opined.

"Whisky constitutes one of the major export items for Scotland and UK also. So, it is an important item for us. It is part of the EU FTA. People say it will be 10% to 40% (reduced duty). It will be difficult to say now as the negotiations are still going on," Bussi added.

She said a team of Scottish business delegation will be participating in BioAsia-2014 which will kick start on February 17 in Hyderabad.