Import duty on edible oils cut to give relief to consumers

The government has reduced import duty on edible oils in order to provide respite to consumers amid rising food prices ahead of the consumption-driven festive season.

The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) issued a notification to the effect, “on being satisfied that it is necessary in the public interest to do so.” The changes are applicable from September 11.

Import duty on crude palm oil has been reduced to 2.5% from 10% earlier, while that on crude soya oil has been reduced to 2.5% from 7.5% earlier. Import duty on refined grades of palm oil, soya oil and sunflower oil has been cut to 32.5% from 37.5%.

In a separate notification, the government increased the Agriculture Infrastructure and Development Cess on crude palm oil to 20% from earlier 17.5%.

The effective import duty including cess and other charges would be reduced to 24.75% for crude palm, soya and sunflower oils, down from 30.25%. For refined palm and soya oil, the duty has been reduced to 35.75% from 41.25% earlier.

The move comes in the wake of prices of mustard, vanaspati, soya and palm oil having increased almost 30% while that of sunflower oil by more than 40% over the last year. Rising prices in edible oils have a direct effect on household incomes in India, and a reduction in taxes would provide some relief to households and boost consumption.

Oil and fats retail inflation in July was 32.53% compared to 6.65% in January.

India is the largest importer of vegetable oils and above 65% of the domestic demand is met through imports. New Delhi buys palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia while soya oil and sunflower oil are imported from Argentina, Brazil, Ukraine and Russia.

ET had reported earlier this week that the government was considering lowering taxes on oils so as to ensure that prices during the festive season remain under control.

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