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GJEPC urges Indian government to cut import duties on raw materials

15 december 2020
Image credit: GJEPC

The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) has urged the Finance Minister to reduce import duties on diamonds and precious metals in the forthcoming Budget 2022 to be presented early next year. According to GJEPC, this was a key area that would help in strengthening the ongoing revival of exports from the sector.
The following have been put before the Indian government by the Indian industry:
a) The effective levies on imports stand at 7.5% for cut and polished diamonds and 12.5% for gold, silver and platinum are obstacles for further expansion of local units manufacturing for export purposes.
b) The duty structure for diamonds which was raised from the then prevailing 2.5% to 5% in February 2018 and then 7.5% in September that year, was much higher than the rates in other key centres such as Antwerp and Israel, impacting global competitiveness of the Indian industry
c) Regarding the Online Equalisation Levy of 2% on e-commerce imports introduced by the government recently, GJEPC has urged the FM to exempt international B2B diamond auctions from this tax. Though these auctions are conducted through an online interface, it should be clarified that they should not attract this levy as they are mainly a raw material for exports. In the absence of official clarity, large miners are amending contracts with their regular Indian clients to cover this levy, while many others are barring Indian firms from taking part in B2B spot auctions.
d) The industry has also urged the government to remove the 0.5% Basic Customs duty on import of rough coloured gemstones, pointing out that converting these rough goods into polished gemstones gives an 8-10% yield, rendering stones manufactured in India 5% costlier in the world markets.
e) GJEPC also called for an amendment to the tax provisions to allow the direct sale of rough diamonds in the Special Notified Zone (SNZ) in Mumbai through the introduction of a turnover linked tax similar to that levied in other global centres.

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor in Chief of the Asian Bureau, Rough&Polished