New Delhi: The price of televisions, air conditioners, refrigerators and washing machines may surge if the government decides to act on the advice given by the Consumer Electronics and Appliances Manufacturers Association (CEAMA). Ahead of the interim budget, the industry body urged the government to raise basic customs duties on the import of finished goods such as televisions, ACs, refrigerators and washing machines.

According to news agency PTI, CEAMA urged the government to raise customs duties on critical components such as compressors, open cell and display panel used by the industry to 5% from the existing 10%, to boost domestic manufacturing.

“This would help local manufacturers produce goods at competitive prices and promote exports as well with tax benefits on exports of ACE goods,” CEAMA President Kamal Nandi told the news agency.

In Budget 2018, the government had raised customs duty on mobile phones from 15% to 20% and some parts of mobile phones and certain parts of TVs from 10% to 15%. Later in September, to rein in pressure on current account deficit due to depreciating rupee and surging crude oil prices, the government raised customs duty on washing machine less than 10 kgs, household refrigerator, AC from 10% to 20% among other items.

The budget 2019 will be presented by Finance Minister Piyush Goyal on February 1. With the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), the government has little room to manoeuvre the indirect tax part of the budget. With the GST Council taking all GST-related decisions, the government can only introduce tweaks in customs duty and indirect tax on those products which are not under the GST.

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