Agri Business

Centre tightens refined palm oil import norms

Our Bureau Ahmedabad | Updated on April 13, 2020

The Centre on Monday tightened the conditions for import of refined palm oil, which was placed under the ‘restricted’ category from ‘free’ in January this year.

In a trade notice issued on Monday, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has specified the conditions for import of refined palm oil under Exim Code l5l190.

“The applications for import authorisation should be accompanied with pre-purchase agreement and details of the import of the above items for past three years,” the order said.

It has also curtailed the validity period of import licences/authorisations for refined palm oil from 18 months to six months.

The notification also makes it stricter for the importers to utilise the import authorisation during the prescribed time limit. “Total non-utilisation of import authorisation by the applicant will lead to disqualification of the importer from getting any further license for these items in future,” it added.

Falling imports

The notification comes at a time when the country’s RBD Palmolein imports have plummeted by about 90 per cent during March at 30,850 tonnes, from the comparable period last year at 3,12,673 tonnes.

BV Mehta, Executive Director, Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA), said the decision compromises the interests of the domestic refining industry.

“We fail to understand the objective behind this notification. The refined palm oil imports were any way on a decline. This indicates that the cheap refined imports will continue and eventually dent the local processing units,” said Mehta adding that the real problems currently troubling the industry are the labour and packaging.

“The domestic refining industry is capable of refining the crude palm oil. But the problem lies in labour and packaging. The same issues will be faced even by the importers. So by tightening the restrictions they are not going to ease the supply issues — if that was the objective behind the notification,” he said.

Meanwhile, the mustard harvest is under way and the industry fears that refined oil imports will eventually put pressure on the domestic prices.

Earlier in the day, SEA President Atul Chaturvedi in a letter to the industry members, had underlined the current issues of lack of labour, packing material and transport bottlenecks being faced by the industry. He mentioned that these issues did no “allow us to fully operationalise our factories and supply chain till now. According to our rough estimates, Edible oil units are achieving almost 50 to 60 per cent capacity utilisation compared to pre-Covid levels. This has helped maintain supply chain and kept artificial increase in prices in check,” he added.

Published on April 13, 2020

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

You May Also Like