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India's silver import UPSC NOTE

 

  • Almost all of India’s silver imports are now being handled by a few private players bringing the white metal from Dubai through the GIFT City exchange, which could cause significant revenue losses for the exchequer over time.

  • A trade research body has sought a probe into the relationships between export and import firms to identify and address any potential conflicts of interest, while warning that this silver market trend could extend to gold, platinum, and diamonds, further disrupting traditional import practices and market dynamics.

  • India’s imports of gold and silver from the UAE had jumped 210% in 2023-24 to $10.7 billion. Total silver imports stood at $5.4 billion

  • Earlier attempts by some banks to import silver from the UAE through other ports were questioned for not meeting rules of origin of the India-UAE free trade deal, think tank Global Trade Research Initiative (GTRI) flagged in a report.

  • The key concern is how the imports cleared through GIFT City meet the rules of origin requirements specified in the India-UAE CEPA [Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement] when importers from other ports fail to meet these

  • India levies a 15% import duty on silver and only allows institutions nominated by the RBI and the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) to import the precious metal. 

  • However, the GIFT City exchange does not limit imports to RBI/DGFT-nominated agencies, registers private traders, and has found no rules of origin issues as flagged by customs elsewhere

  • As the tariff becomes zero over the next eight years, all silver imports will likely come from the UAE, resulting in a revenue loss of ₹6,700 crore. 

  • This trade is driven solely by the tariff arbitrage offered by India

  • The key concern is how imports cleared through GIFT City meet the rules of origin requirements specified in the India-UAE FTA when importers from other ports fail to meet these. 

  • This is strange as the Dubai-based suppliers may be the same in both cases. 

  • There is apprehension that imports from GIFT City might violate rules of origin conditions


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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: India's silver import UPSC NOTE
India's silver import UPSC NOTE
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