India should reduce applied tariff on palm oil: Malaysia

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | New Delhi, Nov 26 | Updated: Nov 27 2007, 05:14am hrs
Ahead of the discussion on India-Malaysia Comprehensive Economic Cooperation, Malaysia has demanded that India should reduce its applied tariff on palm oil.

At present the applied tariff on palm oil in India is high. This is the product of our export interest. India needs to lower its applied tariff on palm oil, said the visiting Malaysian minister of international trade and industry, Dato Seri Rafidah Aziz said here on Monday.

Malaysia exports about $ 7 billion palm oil annually. Its exports of palm oil to India in 2006 amounted to $ 245.35 million as against $ 274.35 million in 2005.

With a view to deal with the price situation in the country, India had reduced its effective duty on crude palm oil to 40% that on refined palm oil to 50% and that on RBD palmolein to 54.08%.

On August 11, this year the two countries completed the joint feasibility study for a comprehensive economic cooperation agreement (CECA) which proposes to Malaysias export by 1.3 times to $ 11.85 billion and Indias export by 2.5 times to $ 4.63 billion by 2012.

In 2006, Malaysias exports grew by 29.52% to be at $5,120.55 million, while its imports from India grew by 21.11% to be at $1,331.51 million. In 2007, till August, Malaysias exports to India was $1,691.08 million while its imports from India was $1,178.46 million.

The Indian commerce minister, Kamal Nath, however said, The tariff structure on palm oil needs to be carefully worked out for the CECA. We do not want to imperil our oilseed growers. He said that the free trade agreement with ASEAN would also be worked out within a couple of months.