Monday, December 04, 2006

Bikers` Harley Davidson dream may be for real

The decks could soon be cleared for the import of Harley Davidson motorbikes into the country. While the high-end bikes will not enjoy any cuts on import duty, the commerce ministry has now mooted capping the number of such bikes to be imported in a year.

It has also softened its stance on emission norms and indicated to the US that Euro norms were likely to be accepted.

However, the export of Indian mangoes continues to face hurdles, with the US now saying that Indian exporters could have to pay as much as half a dollar per mango towards �facility creation charge,� which includes costs on inspection and sanitary checks.

The two issues were discussed at a meeting of the India-US Trade Policy Forum here yesterday.

Officials said the commerce ministry indicated at the meeting that it would begin a dialogue with the surface transport ministry to recognise Euro emission norms for Harley Davidson motorcycles.

There was earlier a view to have separate emission norms for these bikes since current regulations in India do not prescribe any standards for high-end motorcycles.

However, the ministry has made it clear that it will not be able to offer any duty cuts on the import of bikes, which stand at over 60 per cent.

�The US side is also aware that any reduction in import duty is in the domain of the finance ministry,� an official said.

Officials said the US was not opposed to a quota since it had earlier said it was looking to sell around 10,000 motorbikes in 10 years.

Harley-Davidson is known for delivering �quality nostalgia,� and is loved for its �time warped� designs. Founded in 1903, the company reported global revenues of $5.34 billion in 2005, with a net income of $960 million.

Regarding mangoes, officials said a team of American officials would be visiting Indian orchards on December 18. �We are still hopeful that both sides will come to some understanding regarding mango exports,� an official said.

The US has not allowed import of Indian mangoes so far, citing its stringent sanitary and phyto-sanitary norms.

Source:- Business-Standard