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Harley Davidson: Nath seeks duty cuts

December 18, 2007 17:32 IST

Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath on Tuesday said he will talk to Prime Minster Manmohan Singh for reduction of import duty on American cult bike Harley Davidson.

"There will be talks," Nath said when asked what he intended to do after his letter to Singh asking for import duty cut on Harley Davidson.

Nath, who was speaking on the sidelines of Sports Goods Export Promotion Council function in New Delhi, has reportedly asked the Prime Minister to consider cutting levies imposed on imports of the bike with a view to send a positive political signal to the US administration.

Earlier in the year, the government had relaxed norms on the import of Euro III compliant motorcycles of 800 cc and above engine capacity in return for allowing export of Indian mangoes to the US.

Harley Davidson, however, is facing a unique problem in India. Only those products certified by an authorised national body are allowed to sell in India, but in the US there is no regulator which certifies automobile standards.

Under the current norms, imported bikes cost almost double the original price due to high import duty.

The relaxation of norms by the government was welcomed by many of the existing multinational two-wheeler makers, including Yamaha and Suzuki, which have announced plans to bring their high-end superbikes in the Indian market.

In fact, Yamaha has already introduced two of its superikes -- YZF R1 and MT01 -- priced at Rs 10.5 lakh (ex-showroom). Suzuki plans to launch its high-end sports bikes by April next year.