Union government on 17 January 2013 imposed a 2.5 per cent import duty on crude edible oil with keeping the duties unchanged on refined cooking oil fearing a hike in retail prices.
The decision was taken at the meeting of Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) in New Delhi with a view to protect domestic farmers. The Agriculture Ministry had proposed an increase in the duty on crude edible oil to protect the interest of palm growers, particularly from Andhra Pradesh.
Presently there is no import duty for crude edible oil but refined edible oil attracts an import duty of 7.5 per cent India imports about half of the total domestic requirement of cooking oil.
In 2011-12 oil years (November-October), the total import of vegetable oils (edible and non-edible oil) was at an all-time high of 10.19 million tonnes. In the first two months of the current oil year, imports were up 5 per cent.
The Agriculture Ministry sought for 7.5 per cent import duty on crude edible oil and 15 per cent on refined oil. But during the inter-ministerial meeting, the finance ministry felt such a sharp rise would lead to rise in inflation.
There is zero duty on crude edible oil and 7.5 per cent on refined edible oils. India imports over 50 per cent of its domestic demand. In 2011-12 oil years, the country imported a record 10.19 million tonnes of vegetable oils.