Govt considering edible oil import tax cut to lower prices, says outline

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India is thinking about reducing import taxes on edible oils after cooking oil prices hit record highs final month, two government and two industry officials told Reuters, to minimize food costs on the planet’s biggest vegetable oil importer.


While no decision has been made, the tax discount could lower native prices and boost consumption, giving give a boost to to Malaysian palm oil, in conjunction with soy and sunflower oil prices, and dampening prices of native oilseeds such as rapeseed, soybean and groundnut.





“A proposal to lower the import duty on edible oils is under review,” a government official with knowledge of the matter who asked to remain unidentified said on Wednesday.


The government will make a last decision to chop the taxes sometime this month, said an official at the Ministry of Consumer Matters also involved in the process who asked to remain unidentified.


Domestic soyoil and palm oil prices have more than doubled prior to now year, hitting consumers already stung by record fuel prices and reduced incomes amid the COVID-19 pandemic.


India meets almost two-thirds of its edible oil demand through imports, levying a 32.5% tax on palm oil imports, while crude soybean and soyoil are taxed at 35%.


It buys palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia, and soyoil and sunflower oil come from Argentina, Brazil, Ukraine and Russia.


“There are different views approximately it. One view is to first monitor the planting of Kharif (summer-sown) oilseeds and see how it pans out,” said the first official.


“The other view is to assess the have an effect on of lowering the duty,” he said, noting this needs to be weighed against the risk of suppliers raising prices.


Alternatively, some in the industry are objected to cutting import duties because that may only help out of the country suppliers and discourage farmers from expanding oilseed acreage, said the consumer matters official.


“Revenue isn’t an issue. The government’s tax collection would remain the same as final year since prices have gone up on the planet market,” the official said.


The average landed price of crude palm oil at Indian ports was once $1,173 per tonne in April 2021 in comparison to $599 a year ago, according to data from the Solvent Extractors’ Organization of India (SEA), a commerce body.


Right through a assembly with government officials final week on reducing edible oil prices, the SEA suggested the usage of the taxes to subsidise sales to consumers, said the group’s head B.V. Mehta.


“The government can help naughty people even without cutting import tax by providing subsidised edible oils,” Mehta said.


 


(Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav and Mayank Bhardwaj; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)

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