PUNE: Soyabean Processors association of India (SOPA) has opposed reduction in customs duty on edible oils claiming that it will help only the import lobby and crush the local edible oil industry. It has called for increase in customs duty to 45% on crude soyabean oil.
“We feel that in view of the reasons given above, any move to reduce customs duty on edible oils will be totally counter-productive and not in the national interest. It will only help the import lobby at the cost of the Indian farmers and local crushing industry. We would also request that rather than reduction in custom duty, it should be raised to 45% on crude soybean oil which is the WTO bound rate and on all other soft oils, the duty should be increased to the level of permitted tariff rate,” SOPA has said in the release.
In connection with a proposal being discussed in the Commerce Ministry, for changes in the customs duty on edible oils, Soyabean Processors association of India (SOPA) has submitted its views to the government.
Abut the subject of reduction in customs duty on edible oils, SOPA has said, ” Edible Oil import over the years at low custom duty has discouraged Indian farmers from growing oilseeds and dissuaded them from making any efforts towards increasing productivity. Such imports have kept edible oils prices low making it un-remunerative to grow oil seeds. After the increase in custom duty of edible oils in the last two years, we have seen a considerable increase in soybean and other oilseed prices, resulting in better returns to farmers.”
In a statement, SOPA said, “India’s edible oil import bill is already over Rs. 75,000 crores per annum and with rising demand and population, this will further increase, unless all steps are taken to increase oilseed production in the country. Keeping edible oil prices slightly higher is, therefore, absolutely necessary to increase oilseeds production. The Share of edible oil in house hold food bill is very small and slightly higher price does not have any significant impact on this.”
The soyabean industry body noted that the government at the highest level, has already taken a serious note of the alarming and ever rising edible oil import bill. A National Mission on Edible Oil is going to be announced soon with the primary objective of reducing edible oil imports by increasing oilseed production and reduction in consumption.
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