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The government must not make any changes to customs duties for at least five years to promote domestic manufacturing. The Global Trade Research Initiative (GTRI) economic research institute said as much on Wednesday in its pre-budget suggestions.
GTRI also said import tariffs on components must be continued, reverse tariff issues resolved and customs tariff blocks reduced from the existing 25 to five to avoid legal fights and confusion. He said that these suggestions will prepare India to face the challenging global economic environment.
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The institute said that countries around the world have been preparing to cope with harsh global conditions and in light of this, India should not announce any changes in (import) tariffs for five years. “Any change may prove counterproductive to the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme, the phased manufacturing schedule and manufacturing initiatives,” he said. The government should take measures such as reducing import duties only when the economic scenario is clear.
GTRI said that all electronic and complex engineering equipment consists of thousands of parts and that India can become a true manufacturer only if the parts are also made here. “But if the duty on the components is zero, they will be imported and as a result the final production in India will be just an addition,” he said. Most companies that do this work disappear once the incentives run out.
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The institute said India has more than 26 blocs of customs duties ranging from zero to 150 percent, giving rise to disputes and legal fights. He said that in the 2023-24 budget, the government should reduce the tax slabs to five.