Edible oil industry body Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEA) has expressed concern over a sharp rise in imports of refined palm oil to 312,000 tonnes in March 2019 from 130,000 tonnes in December 2018, saying domestic processing units will be forced to shut if the Centre does not expand duty difference between refined and crude cooking oils.
From January 1 this year, the government has reduced customs duty on crude palm oil imported from Malaysia to 40% from 44%, while that on refined palmolein to 45% from 54%. As a result, the duty difference between crude palm oil and refined palmolein has come down to 5% from 10%.
As anticipated, our worst fears have come true. Our Nation is flooded with RBD Palmolein from Malaysia following reduction of duty difference from 10% to 5% between CPO and Palmolein sourced from Malaysia, SEA said in a statement.
This anomaly needs to be corrected at the earliest. There is urgent need to create duty difference of 10% between CPO and RBD Palmolein, irrespective of the origin, as was prevailing before 1st January 2019, the association said.
Further, Mustard harvest is nearing completion and Palmolein imports is having a huge negative impact on the income of mustard farmers, the association said.
To save the Palm Refining Industry in India, we would like to suggest to our Government to invoke the Article 5 of Chapter 5 of Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement With Malaysia (CECAM) under which the government of India can take safeguard measures in case serious injury is caused to domestic industry and can suspend such duty reduction or levy the duty applicable to MFN (Most Favoured Nation), SEA said.