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Source says consumer affairs min for cut in edible oil import duty

Cogencis, Wednesday, Jan 22

By Kaushal Verma

NEW DELHI – The consumer affairs ministry has proposed that the commerce ministry slash the import duty on edible oils to cool prices in domestic markets, a senior government official said. 

According to the consumer affairs ministry, the import duty on crude palm oil should be reduced by 500 bps and that on refined palm oils by 300 bps, the official said. It has also proposed a 10 percentage point cut in the import duty on soft oils, he said. 

"Prices of most edible oils in domestic markets are touching record highs and pinching the pockets of consumers. Efforts are being made to cool it down," the official said.

Currently, the import duty on crude palm oil is 37.5% and that on refined palm oils is 45.0%. The import duty on crude soyoil and crude sunflower oil is 35.0%. All these imports also attract a 10% social welfare cess.

Due to a rally in overseas prices, rates of edible oils had started rising in the country, despite a cut in the import duty on crude and refined palm oils on Jan 1, traders said.

The import duty on palm oils was lowered on Jan 1 as part of a free trade agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. 

The price of crude palm oil on Multi Commodity Exchange of India hit an all-time high of 839.8 rupees per 10 kg on Jan 10, and refined soyoil on National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange rose to a record high of 950 rupees per 10 kg at the end of last month. 

Soybean and mustard are also around multi-year highs. 

Currently, the landing cost of crude palm oil is $810 a tn, compared with $775 on Dec 27, according to The Solvent Extractors' Association of India.    

A decline in imports of refined palm oil in December also pushed up prices in the domestic market, traders said. In December, India's imports of crude palm oil were down nearly 6% at 631,824 tn, and those of refined bleached deodorised palmolein were down over 27% at 94,816 tn. 

India is the largest importer of edible oils, at around 15 mln tn a year.  End 

Edited by Avishek Dutta

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