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SIAM opposes import duty cut in EU FTA

With steps being taken up to resume India-EU FTA talks, automobile industry body SIAM on Tuesday asked the government not to give in to the 28-nation bloc’s demand to reduce import duties on fully-imported cars, even as German car maker Volkswagen came out in favour of such a cut. In a departure from past process, Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia had sought opinion from individual companies, including BMW, Mercedes, Volkswagen, Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra apart from meeting officials of industry bodies SIAM and ACMA. Earlier only a collective view of the industry was sought from SIAM and ACMA.

Teaotia will be leaving for Brussels to meet her European counterpart on February 22 to review the stalled negotiations. “We met Commerce Secretary as she wanted to understand the issues of automobile sector. We put forth our demand of non-inclusion of CBU imports in the talks,” SIAM Deputy Director General Sugato Sen said. SIAM has been maintaining that the reduction of customs duties on imported cars run against the spirit of ‘Make in India’ as it will hurt investment in the automobile sector, which is among the biggest contributor to India’s manufacturing sector.

When contacted, a Tata Motors spokesperson confirmed company representatives participating in the meeting and said: “We are in line with SIAM views.” 
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