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COOIT urges Government to prohibit import of refined edible oils from Nepal and Bangladesh

KJ Staff
KJ Staff
edible oil
Refined Edible Oil

Central Organisation for Oil Industry and Trade (COOIT), the apex association of edible oil manufacturers and trade has urged the Government to prohibit zero duty import of edible oils from Nepal and Bangladesh as it is hurting India’s local manufacturers and is a hindrance to its ‘Atmanirbhar Abhiyan’.  

In its letter to various ministries –Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Ministry of Finance Ministry, Ministry of Commerce and Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) - COOIT has pointed out that considerable quantity of refined oils are being imported into India through road in tins, jars, bottles and pouches on zero duty from SAARC countries particularly from Nepal and Bangladesh.  

“Imports from these country attracts zero duty as per the custom notification number 99/2011 dated 9th November2011,” the letter said.  

“Nepal and Bangladesh are not the manufacturers of Soyabean and/ or Palm oil. They are importing Palm oil from Malaysia & Indonesia and soyabean oil is imported from Brazil and Argentina. Hence, both these countries cannot be considered as original manufacturer for Palm and Soya Oil and therefore, import of refined oil on zero duty basis from these countries should immediately be stopped,” COOIT said.  

As per COOIT, domestic Indian refineries are currently importing Crude Palm Oil after payment of Rs.32/-per kg as import duty and Rs.41/-per kg on Soya Crude Oil. At the same time, Bangladesh and Nepal import it from Malaysia, Indonesia, Brazil and Argentina, and subsequently export to India on zero duty. As a result, our refineries in North East and North India are suffering as they are unable to sell their products against the imported packed goods at Zero duty. 

COOIT has raised the matter with the Government departments in the past as well.  

It is to be noted that the Central Government on 9th November, 2011 exempted several goods including edible oils  from the whole customs duty provided that the importer proves to the satisfaction that the goods being imported  are of the origin of the country who are signatories of South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA), 2006.  SAARC nations i.e. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka are signatories of SAFTA Agreement.  

COOIT has also requested the Government that in case it cannot or do not wish to discontinue the zero import duty from these nations, it should import refined oils from these countries through PSUs and distribute through PDS to BPL Card Holders at cheaper rates as the duty components will not be there and Govt will not have additional financial burden upto that extent. It will be a win-win for all the stakeholders.  

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