Setback for Himachal’s apple growers, Centre refuses to hike import duty on apple

SHIMLA- Demanding increase in import duty on apples, growers in the state said large-scale import of apples has had an adverse effect on their business. As of now, the apple business in the state is estimated at around Rs 3,500 crore. However, the Union government declined saying import duty cannot be increased further.

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, president, fruits, vegetables and flower growers association, Harish Chauhan said Himachal is one of the major apple producing states in India and the fruit should be included as a special product to enhance import duty.

In response, the Union ministry of commerce and industry made it clear that import duty in India is already at its maximum (50%). According to the ministry, the ongoing Doha round of negotiations accords benefits to ‘special products’ and if apples are included in the category, growers would stand to gain.

Last year in July, Union health minister JP Nadda requested the Union minister of state for commerce Nirmala Sitaraman to include apple in the special products category and increase tariff on imported apple within the framework of WTO rules. He said this would protect domestic apple growers facing competition from China.

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