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India: Government lowers taxes on palm oil imports

A move to mitigate costs by helping the country's refineries and consumers

The Indian government has lowered taxes on imports of crude palm oil from 7.5 to 5 percent, in a move that attempts to mitigate costs by helping the country's refineries and consumers. With the reduction, called the Agriculture Infrastructure and Development Cess (Aidc), which took effect on 13 February, the gap between the cost of already refined and crude palm oil will widen to 8.25 percent, says BV Mehta, director executive of the Solvent Extractors' Association of India (Sea), based in India. The Government announced that it had also extended at the end of September the similar provision already in force on palm oil for food use which should have ceased on 31 March.

India imports more than two-thirds of its edible palm oil needs, mostly from Indonesia and Malaysia, and has been battling skyrocketing prices for months. Refined oil accounts for nearly half of the country's total palm oil imports, but analysts say it could drop to 20 percent thanks to the tax cut. The country depends on foreign countries for edible oils, with 56 percent of imports being palm oil. Last summer, Agriculture Minister Tomar announced that the Delhi government intends to start oil palm plantations on nearly one million hectares by 2026, particularly in the Northeast regions. In this way, the national production of oil of raw palm is expected to reach 1.12 million tons by 2026, and then rise to 2.8 million by the end of the decade.

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EFA News - European Food Agency