Thukten Zangpo 

The Indian government has allowed the import of 10,000 metric tonnes (MT) of marble from Bhutan every year without the minimum import price (MIP) from March 14 this year.

The Bhutanese government earlier wrote to the Indian government and India’s Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) under Ministry of Commerce and Industry to amend the import policy condition.

The DGFT notified on March 14 that the import of 10,000MT of marble under Indian Trade Classification (HS) Codes 2515 and 6802 from Bhutan shall be allowed annually from Bhutan without MIP with immediate affect.

The Indian government on October 1, 2016 introduced a MIP policy condition for the import of marble slabs in India (including from Bhutan) at the cost, insurance and freight (CIF) value of USD 40 or above per square metre for maximum thickness slab of 20mm to help the domestic marble industry.

The CIF price is the price of a good delivered at the frontier of the importing country, or the price of a service delivered to a resident, before the payment of any import duties or other taxes on imports or trade and transport margins within the country.

The RSA Private Limited, the only marble exporter’s Joint Managing Director, Singye Namgyal Dorji said that the import of marble to India was permitted freely provided CIF value was USD 40 (equivalent to Nu 3,320) or above per square metre (sqm), while Bhutanese marble was exported at Nu 1,290 per sqm. 

He added that exported marble had to be invoiced at a higher price than the actual sale price, resulting in higher taxes (18 percent on marble) both during the export and also as income tax as it would seem the profits were higher.

This has resulted in the shut down of the Bhutanese marble plant for the past three to four years.

“With the revision in the policy in India, our plant can be restarted. Currently, we are awaiting the details to register with the DGFT,” he said.

Singye Namgyal Dorji said that the company is grateful to the Indian Embassy and the government for taking up the issue and resolving the issue.