The Tamil Nadu Cashew Processors and Exporters Association (TNCPEA) has urged the Union Government to withdraw the recent notification exempting export-oriented units and processing units operating from Special Economic Zones (SEZs) from the Minimum Import Price (MIP) norm.
In a memorandum presented to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, the secretary of the Association M. Ramakrishnan said the domestic market will be flooded with products from competing countries which may finally lead to the closure of cashew processing units in the country. Already, the domestic industry is facing a subdued demand and the MIP notification will further hit the market, he said.
“The current notification will enable SEZ units to import kernels at much lower prices than the Indian prices and export them at relatively lower prices even after value-addition under the Indian label. A genuine exporter from India cannot compete with such SEZ exports. If the MIP value is removed for SEZ and EOU units, it will destroy the Indian cashew industry. The Centre should issue a complete ban on the import of raw cashew kernels in any form except raw cashew nuts,” he said.
The Association demanded the Centre to restore the export incentive for cashew kernels to 5% from the existing 2.5%, as its exports have dropped. With the introduction of the Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products (RoDTEP) scheme, the incentive has been further cut to 2.5% with a cap value of ₹8.50 per kg of cashew kernels. With cashew processing being a labour-intensive industry, the Centre should abolish the cap value and restore the export incentive for cashew kernels to 5%, he said.
The Association also sought exemption for imported raw cashew nuts from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) clearance in customs. Pointing out that raw cashew nuts were not edible and the same was subjected to steam boiling at 8-10 PSI for about 10-20 minutes before the shell was removed, he said the norms of edible nuts should not be applied to raw cashew nuts.
The Centre should exempt FSSAI clearance and permit imports at sea ports across the country, he said.