Centre hikes import duty on edible oils to protect farmers

Centre hikes import duty on edible oils to protect farmers

The Centre has raised import duty on crude palm oil to 30% from 15% and on refined oil to 40% from 25 (rpt) 25% in a bid to curb cheaper shipments and boost local prices for supporting farmers and refiners, according to a notification.

Import duty on soyabean oil, sunflower oils, canola/mustard oils - both crude and refined format - has been raised, the notification released by the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) late Friday night said.

An inter-ministerial group headed by Union minister Nitin Gadkari and the Economic Advisory Council to Prime Minister (EAC-PM) had examined the local price situation and suggested raising the import duties on edible oils and some oilseeds.

CBEC said import duty of crude palm oil has been doubled to 30%, while the refined crude palm oil been increased to 40% from 25%.

Import duty on crude soyabean oil has been increased to 30% from 17.5%, while refined soyabean oil has been raised to 35% from the current 20%.

Similarly, import duty on crude sunflower oil has been increased to 25% from 12.5%, while that on refined sunflower oil has been increased to 35% from 20%.

Also, import duty on crude canola/rapeseed/mustard oils has been increased to 25% from 12.5%, while the tax on refined crude canola/rapeseed/mustard oils increased to 35% from 20%.

That apart, import duty on soyabean has been increased to 45% from 30%, the notification said.

Welcoming the move, industry body Soybean Processors Association of India (SOPA) said, "As the prices of all oilseeds fell below the MSP and a sense of deep distress and despondency was setting in the minds of farmers, the government finally saw the logic in our demand."

India, the world's leading cooking oil buyer, imported 154.50 lakh tonne of both edible and non-edible oils in 2016–17 marketing year (November-October), up by 4.75% from 147.38 lakh tonne in the previous year. India imports palm oil mainly from Indonesia and Malaysia and a small quantity of crude soft oil, including soyabean oil from Latin America.

Sunflower oil is imported from Ukraine and Russia.

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