India imports 30,271 tonnes of areca in eight months.

According to the Lok Sabha reply, India imported 30,271 tonnes of arecanut worth ₹118.45 billion in the first eight months of the 2023-24 season. Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anupriya Patel to a question about arecanut import said the Central Board of Indirect Taxes (CBIC) and State Commercial Taxes Departments of Customs Field and Administration of Revenue (DRI). Continuously monitor the illegal transportation of arecanut to India through air, sea and land ports and take appropriate action as per the provisions of law to prevent importation through various fraudulent methods. According to the response, India imported 30,271 tonnes of arecanut worth ₹ 118.45 billion during the period April 2023 to November 2023-24. India imported 73,983 tonnes worth ₹258.19 billion in 2022-23.

Illegal Import

In certain cases of areca nuts being smuggled into India illegally through airports using domestic supplies, 14,188 tonnes of areca nuts valued at 0.56 lakh were seized by the Customs field teams. 0.52 million in 2021-22. The CBIC through its field formations and DRI will strictly monitor the areas where arecanut is illegal and take appropriate action as per the provisions of the Customs Act, 1962. Measures have been taken to curb the illegal importation of areca nuts and to protect the interests of domestic areca growers. These include strict adherence to Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) Quality norms before accepting import consignments.

Verification of areca nut rules of origin through customs fields to ensure that nut grown in non-SAARC countries is not imported through neighboring countries through import tax exemptions under trade agreements. Arecanut imports into the country are limited by a 100 percent import tax. According to the minister, the government has also revised the minimum import price (MIP) to curb imports and thus prevent substandard products from entering the Indian market and destabilizing domestic prices. Therefore, import of areca nuts is prohibited if the CIF (Cost, Insurance and Freight) value is less than ₹ 351/kg. However, the MIP conditions are not applicable to imports from 100% export-oriented units and Special Economic Zones (SEZ) provided that intra-trade zone sales are not permitted.

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