India’s Edible Oil Industry Shaken on News of Oil for Sugar Deal with Indonesia

Thursday, September 26, 2019

India’s edible oil industry was shaken after reports said that the government has accepted a proposal to lower the import duty on refined, bleached and deodorised (RBD) palmolein from Indonesia to accommodate the export of high-quality raw sugar from India to that country. Reports appearing in a section of the Indonesian media, quoting its trade minister Enggartiasto Lukota, said India has agreed to lower import duty on RBD palmolein from that country against an assurance that Indonesia will import high-quality raw sugar from India.

India is struggling to manage surplus sugar, with opening stock estimated to hit a record high of 14 million tons the next season. Such a large quantity is enough to feed six months of India’s sugar consumption, even as cane arrears soar a month ahead of the beginning of new sugar season.  

While the sugar industry is upbeat about the development, the edible oil industry is miffed.  Atul Chaturvedi, president of Solvent Extractors’ Association (SEA) said in a statement that his organization would request the Commerce Ministry to issue a suitable clarification to dispel any doubt in the matter.  SEA represents crushing and refining units and  the move hurts them if refined oil is directly imported, when India has enough palm oil refining capacity

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