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OILS AND FATS

Govt to hike import duty on crude & refined soy, sunflower & canola oil
Saturday, 16 June, 2018, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Ashwani Maindola, New Delhi
The Government of India has decided to hike the import duty on crude and refined soy oil, sunflower oil and canola oil by 10 per cent, i e from 35 per cent to 45 per cent. This is the highest increase in recent history.

It paid heed to the demand by the domestic edible oil industry, which has been reeling under the import of cheap edible oils. India now imports about 70 per cent of the edible oil produced domestically. In 2001-02, it imported 44 per cent.

As far as crude edible oil is concerned, the import duty on soy oil, canola and sunflower oil has been hiked to 35 per cent from 25 per cent.

B V Mehta, executive director, Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEA), expressed his happiness on the move. He said, “SEA had put the demand in front of the government to increase the import duty. It is a welcome step. The move will give a positive signal to the farmers that the government is working towards their profits.”

He added, “It will be difficult to encourage farmers to grow more oilseeds if the duties on these oils are not raised.”

Meanwhile, this move is likely to lead to an increase in the import of palm oil, as reports suggest that palm oil import has dipped 38 per cent in the last year.

India imports palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia; and soy oil mainly from Argentina and Brazil, while it purchases sunflower oil from Ukraine.

On March 1, 2018, the Centre had increased the import duty on crude palm oil , RBD Palmolein and RBD Palm Oil.

As a result, the import duty on CPO increased to 44 per cent from 30 per cent (effective duty 48.4 per cent) and RBD Palmolein and Refined Palm Oil to 54 per cent from 40 per cent (effective duty 59.4 per cent).

The duty hike led to a slowdown in palm oil imports in May, while the inflow of sunflower and soybean oils increased.

SEA revealed that palm oil, including RBD Palmolein, CPO and CPKO, imports in May 2018 stood at 4.96 lakh tonne (lt), as against 7.78 lt in April 2018, a decline of 36 per cent.

Further, import of sunflower oil in May jumped to highest in past seven months to 3.30 lt, as compared with 2.94 lt in April. Also, soybean oil imports recorded a sharp jump in May to 3.96 lt (2.64 lt).
 
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