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Farooq Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti slam Centre’s move to reduce tariff on US apples
Srinagar: Political leaders in Jammu and Kashmir including former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti have registered a strong protest against the central government’s decision to reduce the tariff on apples imported from the United States.
In June, the US and India agreed to terminate six outstanding disputes at the World Trade Organization. Also, India agreed to reduce tariffs on certain US products, including chickpeas, lentils, almonds, walnuts, apples, boric acid, and diagnostic reagents, a United States Trade Representative statement said on Friday.
An additional 20 per cent duty was imposed on US apples in 2019 in response to US measure to increase tariffs on certain steel and aluminum products. There is no reduction on the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) duty on apples which is still applicable on all imported apples including those from the US at 50 per cent.
National Conference (NC) leader Farooq Abdullah slammed the Centre’s move on tariffs concerning apples and said it did not think about the impact it would have on Jammu and Kashmir’s economy.
“To appease the US, they want to finish the local growers. I appeal to the Government of India to not take a step that would increase the poverty that is already here and we get stuck in another crisis...If they don't make it easy for the people, we will take to the street and protest,” he said.
PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti also slammed the move removal of additional tariff on apples.
“There is no shortage (of apples). Himachal and here (Jammu and Kashmir) have ample good-quality apples. Why do they (the government) still want to import apples?” she said, adding that the ‘Make in India’ of the government was a “joke”.
CPI(M) leader MY Tarigami also slammed the Centre.
“The import duty levied on American apples…has been drastically reduced and our marketplace has been handed over... Where would our apple growers go now?” he asked.