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By Philippe Legrain ADD COMMENTS

India’s drinkers should raise a glass to Peter Mandelson.

Indians who love Scotch whisky, French wine or Spanish sherry have long
had to pay through the nose – or make do with watered down local
equivalents – because their government imposes punitive taxes and
duties that can
raise the price of foreign tipples by as much as 300%.

But Europe’s
trade commissioner is riding to the rescue: he plans to challenge
India’s discriminatory taxes on wines and spirits at the WTO.

If the EU
wins, he will be the toast of town among Mumbai’s champagne-starved
stockbrokers. And at least officials at the commerce ministry in Delhi will be able to drown their sorrows with a fine Scotch.

Posted 18 Nov 2006 in Blog

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