To curb the spurt in edible oil import, the government today raised the tariff value of edible oils by four to five per cent. In January, edible oil import had touched a two-decade high of 1.15 million tonnes, 75 per cent more than in January 2012.
Tariff value is the rate at which import duties are determined to prevent under-invoicing.
According to an official statement, the tariff value of crude palm oil, the edible oil India imports most, has been raised from $815 a tonne to $848 a tonne, a rise of 4.04 per cent.
Last month, the government had lifted a two-year freeze on the tariff value of edible oils. To ensure a level field for the domestic oilseed processing industry, it had aligned the value with international prices. It had also increased the import duty on crude edible oil by 2.5 per cent. However, it kept the duties on refined oils unchanged at 7.5 per cent. Earlier, crude edible oils did not attract any duty.
Today's statement said the tariff value of crude palmolein oil was raised 4.8 per cent to $909 a tonne, while that on refined, bleached and deodorised (RBD) palmolein oil was increased from $870 a tonne to $912 a tonne. For crude soybean oil, the value was raised from $1,219 a tonne to $1,229 a tonne, a rise of 0.8 per cent. The tariff value of RBD palm oil was raised 4.18 per cent, from $860 a tonne to $896 a tonne.
According to data released by the Solvent Extractors' Association of India, import of vegetable oils (edible and non-edible) in January was the highest since imports were allowed in 1994.
"Malaysia is expected to impose a duty of 4.5 per cent on exports of crude palm oil from March. That is why traders are rushing to build their stocks in India," said a trader.