Birgunj: Rice traders in Bara and Parsa industrial corridor have said the imposition of a 20 per cent customs duty on the export of rice and paddy by India would have a direct impact on the Nepali market.
Organizing a news conference here on Friday, the Birgunj Industry and Commerce Association said that as per a letter recently issued by India, it has fixed a 20 per cent customs tax rate on the export of paddy and rice. Before this, it was customs tariff-free.
The Association said that the imposition of a 20 per cent customs surcharge by India on rice and paddy export from there will hit the industries, consumers and the national economy.
Nepal Rice, Oil, Lentil Industries Association central president Dr Subodh Gupta said India’s latest decision is not fair for the industries, traders, consumers and the market in Nepal. Gupta is also the president of the Birgunj Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Another rice trader Suresh Rungta worried that the consumers would be hit hardest due to the customs tariff imposed by India on paddy and rice export.
Gupta worried that this drastic decision by India might lead to a situation in which the rice mills in Nepal will be closed and called on the government to address the problem at the earliest.
Nepal has been importing rice worth over Rs 8 billion annually from India. Nepal imported 550 thousand metric tonnes of paddy, 520 thousand metric tonnes of rice and 50 thousand metric tonnes of rice grits from India last year alone.
There are around 2,500 rice industries across the country and half of these are closed, it is said.
Even those rice industries which are operating are not operating at their full capacity due to various reasons.
The rice industries in Nepal have been producing 40 per cent rice and the rest of the demand is met from imports from India.