The mobile manufacturing industry has requested the government to reduce input tariffs, stating that the current regime has outlived its usefulness, and is putting India at a competitive disadvantage against its competitors.

The India Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA) has suggested that the government should consider a glide path to match input tariffs offered by the competing countries in the next two years. This will in turn help in preparing for an unsuitable decision carried by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on an ITA-1 matter which is currently under discussion.

A report presented by ICEA on the comparison tariffs across 120 HS codes showed that India had one of the most complex and cumbersome regimes with a tariff ranging from 2.5 per cent, 5 per cent, 10 per cent, 15 per cent and 20 per cent along with a variety of surcharges. They commented that tariffs charged at 2.5 per cent create nuisance and confusion leading to disputes between importers and customs authorities.

The industry body also requested that a senior-level panel of two officials, one each from the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, be created to provide accurate tariff classification for imports. The exercise was suggested to be done on a half-yearly basis to ensure there is no scope for disputes in the tariff interpretations.