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Building Atmanirbhar Bharat: Licences likely for furniture, toys and sports gear imports

NEW DELHI: Imports of furniture, toys and sports goods are likely to require licences soon, a measure the government hopes will reduce imports and encourage domestic production, said people with knowledge of the matter. India has already imposed licensing requirements for tyres and colour TV imports, a big percentage of which comes from China.

The government may also raise import duties for certain products to their bound rates to make imports costlier. Bound tariffs are the ceiling rates specified at the WTO beyond which countries cannot raise duties.

The government has decided to license these imports after finding that higher duties have been ineffective in reducing the amount of goods coming into India, even as they raise costs for domestic industry, officials said. The licence requirements serve as non-tariff barriers that discourage imports. Cheap imported goods have been finding their way into the country through the misuse of free trade agreement route, officials said.

"Non-duty actions like import curbs are one of the main actions available to the government as many of these are coming at low duty and which cannot be controlled through increased tariffs," said an official.

The products for which import restrictions are being considered are part of the 20 industrial sectors in which India has a manufacturing advantage and can attract investments, as identified by the government.

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