India’s import of vegetable oils increased by 15 per cent to 11.69 lakh tonnes last month on rising shipments of refined palm oil, industry body SEA said, while seeking change in duty structure to protect domestic processors.
Solvent Extractors’ Association (SEA) demanded that duty difference between crude and refined vegetable oils should be increased from 7.5 per cent to 15 per cent. At present, import duty on crude edible oil is 12.5 per cent and refined edible oil at 20 per cent.
“Import of vegetable oils during June, 2016 is reported at 11,69,456 tonnes compared to 10,16,297 tonnes in June, 2015,” SEA said in a statement.
In the first eight months of the current oil year ending October, import of vegetable oils (comprising edible oil and non-edible oil) increased by 10 per cent to 97.63 lakh tonnes compared to 88.49 lakh tonnes in corresponding period last oil year.
“The import of RBD Palmolein during the first eight months of the current oil year i.e. from November 2015 to June 2016 doubled and reached at 17.77 lakh tonnes from 9.13 lakh tonnes replacing import of CPO and expected to increase further in the coming months,” SEA said in a statement.
The association said the alarming increase in import of RBD Palmolein is seriously hurting the domestic refining industry.
“We want duty difference between crude and refined edible oils should increase to 15 per cent. This can be done by either reducing the duty on crude edible oils or increasing the duty on refined oils,” SEA Executive Director BV Mehta told PTI.
“This situation has arisen due to the fact that currently, the landed cost of RBD (palm) olein (finished product) is same as that of Crude Palm Oil (raw material). Due to this situation, the domestic refining industry is facing severe crisis of under utilization of capacity and is on the verge of closure,” SEA said.
The association said that tax on export of CPO (crude palm oil) from Indonesia/Malaysia is higher by 5 per cent in comparison to refined palm oil/olein, and this differential would increase with rise in palm oil prices in the origins.
“Therefore, duty differential in India has to be made variable to be in line with the differential duty prevailing in Malaysia/Indonesia and justify to increase in duty difference between crude and refined vegetable oils from 7.5 per cent to 15 per cent,” the statement said.
Total stock at ports and in pipelines as on July 1, 2016 marginally decreased to 23.2 lakh tonnes from 23.30 lakh tonnes in June 2016.