Industry demands hike in import duty on sunflower, soybean oils

SEA also demanded to increase duty differential between crude palm oil and palmolein to 15%.

The Dollar Business Bureau

Solvent Extractors' Association (SEA) on Monday sought increase in duty on sunflower and soybean oils in order to protect interests of farmers. However, the edible oil industry welcomed the Government’s move of increasing the duty on the imports of crude and refined palm oils.

Recently, the Government has increased import duty on crude palm oil to 44% from 30%, whereas custom duty on refined palm oil and refined palmolein has been increased to 54% from 40%.

“We had been representing to the Government to increase duties on imported oils as our dependence on them has reached alarming levels of almost 70% of our consumption. We are happy at this hike,” SEA said in a statement.

However, the industry body expressed surprise for increasing duties only on palm oils and said that this measure might defeat the purpose of doubling the income of farmers by increasing domestic values of all the oils.

“With mustard crop getting harvested, our farmers will feel cheated if import duties on soya, sunflower and canola oils are not increased in same proportion as palm oils,” it said.

“If duties on these oils are not increased, farmers would not be encouraged to plant more oilseeds,” it added.

Currently, there is 30% duty on the imports of crude soybean oil, while imports of crude sunflower and rapeseed oils attracts 25% duty. On the other hand, refined sunflower oil, refined soybean oil and refined rapeseed oil attract 35% duty.

The edible oil industry also demanded to increase the duty differential between crude palm oil and palmolein to atleast 15% from the present 10%.

In order to meet its domestic demand, India has to import around 14 million tonnes of vegetable oils every year.