Nayanima Basu reports that our Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma has made a huge offer to cut customs duty on wines and spirits to 40% with the new entry price per bottle fixed to $3.7 for wine and $5.5 for whisky.
Business Standardquotes a senior commerce department official to say, "This is the best we could offer at this time. It is a make-or-break situation now. We have told them clearly what it is and we cannot go below this. We have to follow the TERC (Trade and Economic Relations Committee) mandate".
Subhash Arora of delWine feels that the drastic reduction will have deleterious effect on local industry. However, the availablity of quality wine for cheaper price might attract more wine drinkers and could also help local producers to raise the standard.
A boost in consumption in that way could become a boon local producers as well on the long term. Nayanima Basu writes that, Anand Sharma and his counterpart are expected to meet again by end of this month to conclude FTA.
Arora sees the funny side of FTA story wondering how business standard jumped to publish stories without a solid announcement ahead of Times of India. An EU representative revealed to Arora that the talks are going on frantically and it is not fair on either side to leak information as things are changing continously.
Could it be another jock from Business Standard just like prevous Times of India stories
With the election just around the corner, it is very unlikely for the UPA goverment to rush into sealing the deal. Hope for the best.