Indians may get high end Swiss chocolates at cheaper rates

Indian consumers may get high-end Swiss chocolates at cheaper rates as the government is likely to reduce import duty on the product under free trade agreement with EFTA, a four-member bloc including Switzerland.

"The talks are progressing. Switzerland has asked India to reduce duty on its high-end chocolates from the current 30 per cent. The commerce ministry is looking at the issue positively," a senior government official told PTI.

India and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) are negotiating a free trade agreement and both the sides have completed 13-14 rounds of talks.

The EFTA is a grouping of four countries -- Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein.

"Reducing duties will be beneficial for Indian consumers. Today, a person coming from abroad always carry packets of Swiss or Belgian chocolates.

"So, why not give them an option to buy in India itself. I think domestic chocolate manufacturers should not have any problem in reducing the duties, at least for high-end Swiss chocolates," the official said.

India is one of the fastest growing chocolate markets in the world.

Multinationals Cadbury and Nestle claim a big chunk of domestic chocolate market which is estimated at around Rs 3,000 crore. It is growing 15 per cent a year.

Two-way trade between India and EFTA stood at USD 34.48 billion in 2012-13 as against USD 37.5 billion in 2011-12.

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