Tariff commission wants zero import duty on onion
The Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Commission (BTTC) today requested the revenue authority to lift all import tariffs on onion until December 31 this year as its domestic prices spiked after India slapped 40 percent export duty on the vegetable.
In a letter to the National Board of Revenue (NBR), the BTTC said the prices of Indian onions may rise to $400-$420 a tonne from $280-$300 after the imposition of the new export duty by the Modi administration.
It said onion traders require to pay a total of 10 percent import tax, including 5 percent customs duty, to bring in the bulb and the import demand of the perishable item rises in the August-January period every year owing to the gradual depletion of the domestic variety.
The onion prices are likely to get affected by the imposition of the Indian export duty, the BTTC letter said signed by its Deputy Chief for Trade Policy Md Mahmodul Hasan.
Under these circumstances, the import tariff can be waived and the private sector along with the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) can be encouraged to bring in onions from Myanmar, Turkey and Egypt, the letter also read.
"It appears that the measures will ensure stability in the supply and prices of onion in the local market," said the BTTC.
The tariff commission said Bangladesh can meet up to 75 percent of its requirement through local production of onions and the country imports the rest, particularly from India.
Today, locally grown onion was sold at prices up to Tk 90 per kilogramme (kg) in Dhaka, which was Tk 85 on August 19 when India slapped the export duty.
Prices of imported onions grew at a faster pace over the last two days.
Consumers had to buy a kg of imported onion at as much as Tk 70 in the capital, up nearly 17 percent from Tk 60 on August 19, according to the market prices data compiled by the TCB.