NEW DELHI :
EDIBLE oil industry on Tuesday urged the Government to stop issuing further licences for the import of palmolien, warning that it would further depress local prices ahead of the arrival of massive mustard seed crop. In a representation to the Commerce Ministry, Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEA) President Atul Chaturvedi noted that the Government banned import of RBD Palmolein a month back to check excessive imports but media reports said that the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has issued licences for the import of 11 lakh tonnes of palmolien.
“We are dismayed at this action which has the potential of destroying palm refining industry in the country. This is contrary to our PM’s vision of Make in India,” he added. The industry appealed to the Commerce Ministry to stop issuing further licences to safeguard the interest of domestic vegetable oil refining industry and mustard farmers. Chaturvedia further said that there is no shortage of RBD Palmolein or edible oils in the country and also edible oil prices in international as well as domestic markets are showing downward trend in the last one-and-a-half months.
With a massive mustard crop ready for harvesting, import of palmolien will have a great dampening effect on prices of domestic oilseeds and oils, he said He also expressed concern that it may result in mustard selling below minimum support price (MSP) and once again Government’s nodal agency NAFED getting saddled with huge stocks. According to the SEA, Indonesia has great advantage to push RBD Palmoelin to India as it is cheaper than crude palm oil (CPO), at present, with higher levy on CPO at USD 50 per tonne and lower duty on RBD Palmoelin at USD 30 per tonne.
Further, India’s duty difference between CPO and RBD Palmolein being only 7.5 per cent will open the flood gates for import of RBD Palmolein. which was seen during last year from January to September 2019 when the duty difference was just 5 per cent for import from Malaysia, it said. “This will also have serious impact on domestic refining industry and capacity utilizations will go down,” SEA said.