Decks cleared for free import of vanaspati from Sri Lanka

New Delhi, July 26 | Updated: Jul 27 2006, 05:30am hrs
The government has allowed free vanaspati imports from Sri Lanka in cases where the importer entered into an agreement before June 1 this year.

The government had on June 2 appointed agri cooperative Nafed as the sole agency for imports of vanaspati oil from Sri Lanka as part of efforts to regulate imports of the commodity.

However, the directorate general of foreign trade on Wednesday said in a notification that "import of vanaspati from Sri Lanka under India-Sri Lanka free trade agreement (FTA) shall be allowed freely in such cases where the bill of lading is dated June 1, 2006 or before."

Bill of lading is a document issued by the transportation carrier to the shipper acknowledging that they have received the shipment of goods.

The decision to appoint Nafed was taken following demands by domestic manufacturers that zero duty imports of vanaspati (hydrogenated vegetable oil) from Sri Lanka was hurting the local industry.

Prior to the June 2 notification, any trader could import the commodity under the FTA. However, imports were restricted to a maximum of 2.5 lakh tonne by an arrangement between the two countries where Colombo had agreed to Indias demand that no permission be given for setting up new units in Sri Lanka.