The government on Saturday brought down the effective duty on crude palm oil import to 5.5 per cent from 8.25 per cent earlier, a move which will help control cooking oil prices and support domestic processing companies.
Basic customs duty is already nil on crude palm oil (CPO) and now the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) through a notification has cut the agri infra development cess to 5 per cent from 7.5 per cent, effective from February 13.
The effective import duty on crude palm oil will now come down to 5.5 per cent, from 8.25 per cent, after taking into account agri development cess and social welfare cess. The CBIC in a notification also extended the validity of reduced import duty on crude palm oil and other crude oils by six months till September 30.
Industry body SEA has been demanding that the difference of effective duty between the crude palm oil and refined palm oil should be 11 percentage points as higher imports of refined oil impacts domestic refineries
With edible oil prices ruling high throughout last year, the government had on multiple occasions cut import duty on palm oil to increase domestic availability. Solvent Extractors Association (SEA) Executive Director BB Mehta said the government has reduced the agri cess on CPO from 7.5 per cent to 5 per cent.
“So effective duty difference will be 8.25 (percentage points) between CPO and RBD Palmolein. Also current duty which was to revise upward from 1st April now extended up to 30th September. This means effective duty on CPO, sunflower oil and soybean oil is 5.5 per cent till September 30,” he said.
This is a welcome step but not enough to support domestic refiners. SEA had requested to create a duty difference of minimum 11 percentage points to enable domestic refiners to operate refinery economically, he added.