Indian tariff reduction for least developed African nations

New Delhi, Oct 19 (IANS) India would announce another round of tariff reduction under its duty free tariff preference scheme for 49 least developed countries (LDCs), two third of which are from Africa, this month, an official said Tuesday.

The tariff cut would substantially increase exports of the LDCs to India.

‘India is committed to eliminate tariffs under this scheme in the next two years. Third round will be notified sometime this month and in the next two years it will be brought to zero,’ said Amar Sinha, joint secretary in the ministry of commerce and industry.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had announced the duty-free tariff preference scheme in 2008 to help the LDCs increase their exports.

‘The scheme covers nearly 94 percent of the products that LDCs currently export. In terms of volume it covers over 84 percent of the products,’ Sinha said at an event organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

Products exempted from duties under the duty-free tariff preference scheme include cotton, cocoa, aluminum ore, copper ore, cashew nut, cane sugar, ready-made garments, fish fillets and non-industrial diamonds.

Sinha said India has increased line of credit provided to LDCs to $7.3 billion. Major part of this aid has gone to African countries.

‘Sudan is the biggest beneficiary with $616 million aid followed by Ethiopia with $566 million. African countries have received 48 percent of the total aid,’ he added.

The line of credit is provided by Export-Import Bank of India and guaranteed by the government of India.

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