The Centre has discontinued the TRQ (Tariff Rate Quota) for the import of crude sunflower seed oil for 2023-24 which was to have run up to June 30. With this, the Government has ended the TRQ facility for the import of crude sunflower and soyabean oils at nil customs duty until June 30, 2024.

The move comes after the country is estimated to produce a record mustard crop and farmers have huge stocks of soyabean with them. The decision follows prices of mustard, a rabi crop that has begun arriving now, crashing across agri-terminal markets in the country below the levels of the minimum support price (MSP) fixed by the Centre.

Will ensure level-playing field

In a public notice issued today, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), under the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry, said no TRQ shall be allocated for the import of crude sunflower oil in the 2023-24 fiscal.

The validity of TRQ issued for sunflower oil during the financial year 2022-23 shall be valid for clearance of import till June 30, 2023, provided the Bill of Lading date is March 31 or before. In view of this, the last date of import of crude sunflower seed oil under TRQ has been revised to March 31, 2023 from June 30, 2023.

In a notification issued on May 24, 2022, the DGFT allowed the import of 20 lakh tonnes each of crude soyabean oil and crude sunflower oil per year for two years under TRQ at nil rate of customs duty and Agricultural Infrastructure and Development Cess. The move was aimed at controlling the inflation and the increasing prices of edible oil then.

In a public notice dated January 11, 2023, the DGFT discontinued the TRQ facility for crude soyabean oil with effect from April 1, 2023, for 2023-24.

Welcoming the latest public notice by DGFT, BV Mehta, Executive Director of the Solvent Extractors Association of India, said this will ensure level-playing field to domestic refiners and ensure remunerative price to farmers.

In his monthly letter to the members of SEA of India on February 24, Ajay Jhunjhunwala, SEA President, said the association had strongly represented doing away with the TRQ for sunflower oil for 2023-24. He expressed hopes that the Government could take a decision on this.

Mehta said the DGFT’s decision will support mustard price. Ajay Jhunjhunwala wrote a letter to the Centre on Monday seeking the Government’s intervention to arrest the collapse of the price of mustard below the MSP level. He had said prices of mustard had crashed below the MSP level of ₹5,450 a quintal.