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Shutting the stable door?

NEWS STORY
09/01/2014

Officials in India have bowed to pressure in terms of import duty payable on cars and motorcycles taking part in races in the country.

Both events at the Buddh circuit, particularly the inaugural race in 2012, were overshadowed by strict rules in India which see race equipment treated the same as any other import, and therefore liable to duty.

Organisers Jaypee Sports were forced to spend close to Rs 8 (£900k) to import cars and equipment for each race, the Indian Sports Ministry not considering F1 a sport (discuss) or event of "national importance" and therefore refusing to waive the duty.

Though F1 and World Superbikes are giving India a miss in 2014, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has said that from now on the 'importer' will only need to execute a bond with Customs, with adequate security/surety, to re-export the vehicles/equipment within 30 days of the completion of the event.

Usually, there is a special bonded area in each country where the F1 cargo is held before being despatched direct to the circuit. Once the event is over everything is sent directly back to the bonded area at the airport in readiness for the next event on the calendar or shipping home. This is done on the strict understanding that nothing is being imported or exported and avoiding duty.

Whether it is a case of shutting the stable door after the (prancing) horse has bolted remains to be seen, but as India looks to return to the F1 calendar in 2015 it is certainly a positive move.

Chris Balfe

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