India, Japan, Malaysia remove import tariffs on hundreds of items

Japan has completely removed import duties on 87% of the items traded between the country and India thanks to last week’s trade agreement, commerce secretary Rahul Khullar said. Malyasia, with which too India inked trade pacts last week, will allow freer import of India’s basmati rice, mangoes, eggs, trucks, motorcycles and cotton garments from now on, he added.

In return, India will place 17.4% of the trade items with Japan on zero duty while another 66.3% will be moved to zero duty in ten years, the commerce secretary added. Around 13% of trade items — like auto parts and agricultural products — will never be put on zero duty for Japanese imports by India, he added.

Among the goods on which duty has been fully removed for Japanese imports into India are textile items — an area in which India is already strong and competitive.

Among the items on which Japan has removed duties totally for Indian exports are sea foods, spices, fruits such as mangoes, lemons, spirits and most textile products and chemicals.

As part of the second agreement, Malayasia will be able to export its fruits, cocoa, palm oil products and synthetic textiles to India on a no-duty or low duty basis. India already has a similar agreement with Thailand, which has seen considerable spurt in imports from the country.

“To prevent any serious injury to the domestic industry, a safeguard mechanism included in the CECA to guard against any sudden surge in imports from Malaysia as a result of tariff cuts,” Khullar said.