16 April, 2018
India’s edible oil imports has increased during the past six months resulting in lowering prices of domestically produced mustard, soyabean and other soft oils and in turn cutting returns of farmers and processors. It is because of this that the industry has demanded substantial increase in import duty to curtail imports.
The two major edible oils, namely crude sunflower seed oil and crude canola/rapeseed/mustard attract a duty of only 25 per cent, while crude soyabean oil attracts 30 per cent duty.
Noticeably, the 5 per cent duty advantage on these two premium edible oils is totally unjustified as these are consumed by the affluent class who can bear the additional cost and do not compete with the major indigenously produced soyabean oil. Hence, the Soyabean Processors Association (SOPA) has requested that duty on these two oils should be levied at a rate higher than on soyabean oil.
SOPA has also demanded that the duty on soyabean oil should be raised to the same level as palm oil; making it 44 per cent for crude and 54 per cent for refined soyabean oil.
Sunflower oil comes from Ukraine while canola oil, used for mixing with mustard oil comes from the EU. The edible oil industry representatives claimed that due to lopsided duty structure, for the first time, India has become importer of cottonseed oil. Customs duty on refined cottonseed oil is only 20 per cent while it is 35 per cent on refined soybean oil and 40 per cent on refined palm oil.