With customs duty hike, south cement importers in a bind
The imposition of 200 per cent customs duty on all imports from Pakistan has left cement importers high and dry. The move has resulted in nearly 200 containers of cement, lying idle at the Kochi port since February.
According to trade sources, the cargo has not been cleared due to a technical issue following a Central Government order imposing additional customs duty in the wake of Pulwama attack on February 14. Acting on the Finance Ministry’s notification of February 16, the Customs authorities in Kochi have slapped 200 per cent additional duty on the cement cargo.
However, the trade is firm that the cement from Karachi had reached Indian waters before February 16 and the call for additional customs duty is not justified. The issue is not just confined to the Kochi Port alone, according to information, with importers using various other ports in the south to import cement from Pakistan finding themselves in similar straits.