Peanut Market News March 05, 2018
Aimed at safeguarding the interests of the domestic edible oil crushing industry and oilseed farmers in India, the Ministry of Finance on Thursday increased the import duty on refined and crude palm oil to the highest levels in recent years. In a late night announcement by the Department of Revenue, the government hiked the import duty on Crude Palm Oil (CPO) to 44 per cent from 30 per cent and on Refined Bleached Deodorized (RBD) palmolein to 54 per cent from 40 per cent with effect from March 1, 2018. There is no change in duty on soft oils.
The apex trade body, the Solvent Extractors' Association of India (SEA), which has been vocal in demanding safeguards for the domestic crushing industry and farmers by imposing import duty on edible oils, welcomed the move but with some displeasure. "We had been representing to the Government to increase duties on imported oils as our dependence on them was reaching alarming levels of almost 70 per cent of consumption. While we welcome this increase in duties, we are surprised at the singling out of palm for increase in duties. This looks grossly unfair and may defeat the purpose of doubling farmers’ income by raising domestic values of all oils," said Atul Chaturvedi, President, SEA.
He added that the move would disappoint oilseed farmers, especially when the mustard crop was being harvested. "Our farmers will feel cheated if import duties on soya, sunflower and canola oils are not increased in the same proportion as palm oils. Needless to mention, it would be difficult to encourage oilseed farmers to grow more oilseed and augment their income if duties on these oils are also not raised," he added.
The industry is also unhappy that the longstanding demand for raising the differential between CPO and palmolein to a minimum 15 per cent from the existing 10 per cent has still not been acceded, SEA informed.
India's overall import of vegetable oils during November 2017 to January 2018 is reported at 3,628,734 tonnes, as compared to 3,414,008 tonnes, up by 6 per cent on year-on-year basis.