‘Curb on gold imports may hit India-South Africa trade’

Kolkata, May 16 (IANS) India’s taking measures to curb gold imports on the back of high current account deficit may impact its bilateral trade with South Africa which is a major exporter of the yellow metal, a South African diplomat said Thursday.

While South Africa’s total exports to India were valued at about $9 billion during the last financial year, about 56 percent of it comprised gold.

“We are aware of the steps that have been taken by the Indian government to slow down the imports of gold. We have to comply with the rules and regulations of the importing country,” Stefanus Botes, minister counsellor (Economic) in High Commission of South Africa in India, said here.

“We are the major suppliers of gold into the marketof course we think that it will have an impact,” he told media persons after an interactive meeting on “Enhancing Indo-South African Bilateral Trade Relation”, organised by the Bengal National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BNCCI).

With gold imports putting pressure on the current account deficit, the Reserve Bank of India has recently tightened the screws on imports of the yellow metal by restricting banks to import bullion on a consignment basis only to meet genuine needs of exporters of gold jewellery.

The Indian government has earlier also taken steps like hike in import duty to restrict gold imports.

The South African diplomat was, however, hopeful that the share of the precious metal would remain high in the country’s exports kitty to India in the coming years.

“We, however, think that the value of gold exports to India would be on the higher side in the years to come,” Botes said.

Bilateral trade between the two countries stood at $14.7 billion during 2012-13.

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