Import of vegetable oils during April 2018 stood at 1,386,466 tonne compared with 1,339,489 tonne in the same month last year, showing a growth of 3.5%, data released by the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA) show. A compilation of import data of edible oils showed a sustained increase in the import of vegetable oils in India during April 2018. Imports in April were reported highest so far during the current oil year (November 2017-October 2018). Overall import of vegetable oils during the November 2017- April 2018 period stood at 7,318,295 tonnes compared with 7,138,265 tonnes, up 2.5%.
On March 1, 2018, the Centre had increased import duty on crude palm oil (CPO), RBD palmolein and RBD palm oil. As a result, import duty on CPO increased to 44% from 30% (effective duty 48.4%) and RBD palmolein and refined palm oil to 54% from 40% (effective duty 59.4%) without changes in import duty on sunflower oil, rapeseed oil and soybean oil.
“This increase in duty is welcome step. Yet, the government has missed the opportunity to provide a 20% duty difference between crude and refined oils as requested by the association to encourage domestic refining industry and promote ‘Make in India’,” BV Mehta, executive director, Solvent Extractors Association of India.
Due to nearly same landed cost of RBD palmolein and CPO, there is more import of RBD palmolein (finished product) over CPO (raw material). This, according to SEA, has seriously hurt the domestic refiners’ capacity utilisation.
Palm oil constitute major share in imports by India. During the November 2017 – April 2018 period, overall palm oil import has increased to 4,574,098 tonne from 4,306,135 tonne, thanks to withdrawal of export duty by the Malaysia, while soft oils import decreased to 2,572,653 tonne from 2,692,254 tonne during the same period last year.
Also, a parcel of 3,000 tonne cottonseed oil from US arrived during April 2018, SEA noted. Imports of non-edible oils during the November 2017-April 2018 period stood at 171,544 tonne compared with 139,876 tonne during the same period last year, indicating an increase of 23 %.