South Africa not imposing export taxes on coal: Diplomat

Kolkata, May 17 (IANS) South Africa could account for the bulk of the coal India may need as it is not currently mulling any export taxes on the commodity.

Australia and Indonesia are the two key countries from where India imports coal. But Indonesia, the world’s top exporter of coal, is currently planning to impose an export tax on the fuel this year, and Australia’s parliament last year passed a mining tax on profits from coal and iron ore.

In contrast, South Africa, a leading coal mining country, has currently no plans to impose taxes on the commodity or on its exports.

“There is no policy on imposing tax on coal,” Stefanus Botes, Minister, Counsellor (Economic), High Commission of South Africa in India, said here Thursday.

Botes was talking to reporters after an interactive session on “Enhancing Indo-South African Bilateral Trade Relation”, organised by the Bengal National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BNCCI).

Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram had earlier indicated that India may need to import nearly 185 million tonnes of coal by 2016-17 in order to meet the growing requirements, particularly that of the power sector.

Raw materials, gold, inorganic chemicals, precious metals and oils have been the major export items of South Africa to India. It is now emphasising on several value-added products for export promotion.

“Value-added products such as capital equipment, electro-technical equipment, safety equipment as well as mining and mineral products will be the thrust areas,” Botes said.

Trade between the two countries stood at $14.7 billion during 2012-13 and is expected to increase to more than $20 billion in the next two to three years.

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