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PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
New Delhi, 17 September
The government today increased the import duty on gold and silver jewellery to 15 per cent from 10 per cent to protect the domestic industry, although it would make ornaments more expensive for consumers.
“To protect the interests of small artisans, the customs duty on articles of jewellery and of goldsmiths' or silversmiths' wares and parts thereof is being increased from 10 per cent to 15 per cent,” an official statement said.
It said an import duty differential between jewellery and the primary metal is needed to protect millions of artisans who depend on the labour-intensive industry after the duty on gold was increased in stages to 10 per cent on 13 August.
In the absence of any duty differential, it said: “There is an apprehension that Indian jewellery makers would not be able to compete with cheaper imports, particularly when majority of the imported jewellery is machine-made as compared to handmade jewellery in India.”
The differential was 8 per cent in the case of gold jewellery and 4 per cent for silver jewellery in January 2012, when the government previously revised the levy on gold jewellery.
Gold jewellery imported during 2012-13 stood at $5.04 billion. In the April-June quarter of the current financial year, it was USD 112 million. India imports the maximum jewellery from Thailand.
Reaction: Welcoming the government's decision to hike import duty on gold and silver ornament to 15 per cent, domestic jewellery makers and exporters today said the move will protect the domestic artisans and boost exports.
“Higher import duty on gold and silver jewellery will protect the interest of domestic jewellery manufacturers and will encourage exports as well,” Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council chairman Vipul Shah said.
Domestic jewellerymakers have been affected with rise in import of gold jewellery in recent time due to marginal difference in customs duty between raw gold and gold jewellery, Mr Shah said.