India Thursday announced further duty concessions on import of scores of items like toothpaste, footwear, imitation jewellery and water heaters from the neighbouring poor countries--Bhutan, Bangladesh, the Maldives and Nepal-- giving them greater access to the market.
Under the South Asia free-trade area pact, India provides duty-free market to all imports from the least developed countries (LDCs) except some 500 items in the 'negative list' which attract different levies. Of these items, further concessions upto 50 or 75 per cent were given
in October 2008 on as many as 259 goods.
By notifying the duty changes, India has now given another tranche of duty sops to imports from the neighbouring LDCs.
The items which were getting 50 per cent concession will now get 75 per cent rebate while those in the category of 75 per cent exemption would be imported duty free.
In a presentation to the WTO committee on trade and development in Geneva last week, Indian officials said India was the first developing country to offer duty-free, quota-free access to the LDCs.