Import of arecanut in any form is allowed if the price is over Rs 251 per kilogram, the government said today.
However, the imports are banned if the price is below the threshold.
"Import of arecanut over and above CIF (cost, insurance and freight) Rs 251 per kilogram is free and import below CIF Rs 251 per kilogram is prohibited," the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said in a notification.
Karnataka is the largest producer of arecanut, followed by Kerala and Assam.
As per estimates, the production has been stagnant at around 6.5 lakh tonnes per year.
Domestic producers have time and again alleged that imports were increasing from neighbouring countries taking advantage of low import duty provided under SAFTA (South Asia Free Trade Agreement).
SAFTA was implemented in 2006 between India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Last year, the government had imposed minimum import price on arecanuts at Rs 251 per kg with an aim to safeguard domestic farmers.
The minimum import price (MIP) is the rate below which no imports are allowed.
In a separate notification, the DGFT said that imports of pepper under the Advance Authorisation Scheme by Export Oriented Units (EOUs) and units in the special economic zones (SEZs) are free and exempted from the MIP condition.
Earlier, the imports were banned under this scheme.
Under advance authorisation, duty-free import of raw material used for making a product for export purposes are allowed.
In 2017 December, concerned over a sharp drop in domestic pepper prices, the Centre imposed a minimum import price on the commodity at Rs 500 per kg to shield domestic growers.
Since most of the pepper-producing countries are in the ASEAN region, there have also been apprehensions of pepper from these countries being routed through Sri Lanka taking advantage of lower duty under SAFTA.
(This article has not been edited by Zeebiz editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)