SIAM urges government not to accept EU proposal for duty-free imports of CBUs

Automobile industry lobby Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) has urged the government not to succumb to pressures from the European Union on the question of reducing or eliminating duties on imported cars.

In an interaction with commerce secretary Rita Teaotia, representatives from SIAM and other domestic Indian carmakers urged the government not to include the import of completely built units (CBUs) in the forthcoming India-EU FTA talks.

Teaotia is expected to hold talks with her EU counterparts in Brussels later this month on the free trade agreement, known as Bilateral trade and investment agreement between India and the 28-nation EU. Two-way trade between the two adds up to almost $100 billion.

The pact aims to reduce or significantly eliminate tariffs on goods. However, the domestic auto industry is lobbying against including import of CBUs under the agreement. But many European carmakers, who have a presence in India, are naturally not opposed to the move.

While in the past, the government had interacted mainly with SIAM as a representative of the automobile industry in India, this time it also met individually with representatives from both the domestic and international carmakers.

According to Sugato Sen, deputy director-general, SIAM, the industry lobby urged the government not to include import of CBUs in the talks. By allowing duty-free import of CBUs, it would defeat the spirit of the government's 'Make in India' initiative.