India asks Uzbekistan to cut duties on leather, fabrics, ease visa norms

NEW DELHI: In a bid to strengthen bilateral ties with Uzbekistan, India has requested the Central Asian country to reduce duties on a number of products, simplify customs procedures and ease visa norms.

Commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman raised these issues with Uzbekistan’s Foreign Affairs Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov and Foreign Trade Minister Elyor Ganiev here on Wednesday.

India requested “for reduction of import duty on leather goods and footwear in Uzbekistan from current 30% to 10%, which is the current most favoured nation rate in India,” the ministry said in a statement.

She mentioned that India could source finished leather from Uzbekistan.

The minister also urged the Uzbek ministers to consider reducing import duty on Indian engineering exports to the central Asian nation.

She also asked Uzbekistan to look at reducing import tariff on fabrics and made-ups.

The bilateral trade between the countries was $155.76 million in 2016-17.

Sitharaman stated that existence of non-tariff barriers such as import quotas, licensing, price and foreign exchange control, complex customs and administrative procedures and harsh sanitary norms have been limiting inter-regional trade between the countries.

New Delhi also asked Uzbekistan to ease business and tourist visa norms and suggested setting up and activation of a private industry led Joint Business Council to develop and enhance business relations at all levels.

Uzbek India Trading House has been formed here with a view to promote trade and investments.

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