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BW Businessworld

Minimum Import Price On Areca Nuts Hiked

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The Department of Commerce has decided to raise the minimum import price (MIP) on Areca nuts due to excessive imports. It has been raised to Rs 162 per kilogram from Rs 110 per kilogram. This will be applied with immediate effect starting June 3, 2015.
Areca nuts are imported from countries like Myanmar and Indonesia under SAFTA free trade agreement under which low import duty is charged.
South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) is an association of 8 South Asian countries including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Nepal and Maldives.  It involves agreement on tariff concession and many other commercial and economic aspects of the region.
Areca nuts are used with betel leaves. It is mostly available in dry and fresh forms and is most commonly used in the Indian sub-continent.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has also warned against the sub standard quality of areca nuts entering the Indian markets which will hamper the local and indigenous varieties of nuts. It will badly affect the market and people associated in this sector. The importers have been asked to strictly stick to the quality norms of the nuts.
The custom officials have also been asked to take extra vigil of the consignment reaching from these SAFTA nations especially Myanmar and Indonesia. Traders citing the low import duty indulged in importing the low quality areca nuts thus de-stabilising the economy.  And in order to curb this practice Government of India has decided to increase minimum import price on Areca nuts.