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India cuts palm oil import duties from Jan 1

New Delhi — India has cut import duties on crude and RBD palmoline from Malaysia and Indonesia to comply with preferential trade agreements with Southeast Asian nations, food ministry officials said Wednesday.

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The duty on CPO from Malaysia, Indonesia and other members of ASEAN was reduced to 40% from 44%, while the duty on refined palm oil was slashed to 45% from 54% if imported from Malaysia, and to 50%, if imported from Indonesia.

This new structure for duties came into force from January 1, 2019.

With the latest changes, the effective difference in duties between CPO and RBD palmoline shrank to 5.5% from 11%.

Traders said the reduction in import taxes would result in higher palm oil imports by India.

India, the world's leading vegetable oil importer, imports mainly palm oil from Malaysia and Indonesia; and soyoil from Brazil and Argentina.

The decision to cut the import tax on palm oil would harm the interests of a local oilseed farmer, who was getting enthused with relatively high import duties, president of the apex edible oil industry body, the Solvent Extractors' Association of India, Atul Chaturvedi said.

In March 2018, India had raised import duties on palm oil.

The duty on CPO was raised to 44% from 30%, while the duty on RBD palmoline raised to 54% from 40%. --Ratnajyoti Dutta,

--Edited by Norazlina Jumaat,