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India to lower duties on wine

Australian wine producers will gain greater access to the Indian wine market when a new law proposed by the Indian Government removes prohibitive duties from wine imports.

India imposes a basic customs duty of 100–150%, plus an additional duty of 25–150% on wines and spirits, so duties overall can range from 250–500% on each product. After pressure from the United States, which in early March requested World Trade Organisation dispute resolution settlement consultations over excessive duties on US imports, the additional duties could be removed by a new bill to be introduced into the Indian parliament as early as May.

The Indian wine market is valued at only $125 million but is expected to explode wut changes in the tastes of a growing Indian middle class.

Australian wine exports to India are worth about $1 million with two large export contracts involving Southcopr Wines, owned by Foster’s group, and Jacob’s Creek. However, links between the two markets are set to increase with the University of Adelaide joining India’s largest wine-making company, Champagne Indage, to open India’s first wine research institute in Maharashtra in 2008.

Amita Tandukar — BRW March 29–May 2 2007

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