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Import Tariffs, Open General License, Restricted List and Negative List

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Import Tariff: A tariff is any tax or fee collected by a government. An import tariff is a tax imposed on goods to be imported. Though tariff is used in a non-trade context, it is commonly applied to a tax on imported goods.

There are two broad ways in which tariffs are normally levied namely, specific tariffs and ad valorem tariffs. A specific tariff is levied as a fixed charge per unit of imports. Whereas an ad valorem tariff is levied as a fixed percentage of the value of the imported items/commodity.

Open General License (OGL): As per ITC (HS) classification, there is no terminology called Open General License (OGL). However, in India, during the EXIM policies of 70s and 80s the freely imported/exported items were still used to be monitored based on the licence issued under OGL. Today OGL is no more required. All these items and the sensitive import items are monitored by Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics (DGCI&S), Kolkata, without the need of a separate licence. As on date, importability or the exportability of items in India is classified into three categories namely, (a) Prohibited items, (b) Restricted items including items reserved for STEs or requiring permission etc., and (c) Freely importable.

Restricted List and Negative List: In the context of export and import, negative list normally implies the list of items which are not permitted to be freely imported or exported. However, in the context of Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the "negative list" would mean that barring the services and goods listed, everything else could be taxed, making the exempted goods and services cheaper. In other words, item on which no concessions (no reduction in import tariffs) would be allowed. Therefore, an articulated negative list will clearly bring out the intentions of the policy makers as to what precisely is outside the tax concession net.

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