Government sources said on May 24 that the Centre has allowed import of 20 Lakh MT each of crude soyabean oil and crude sunflower oil per year for a period of two years at nil rate of customs duty and Agricultural Infrastructure and Development Cess.
"This will provide significant relief to consumers," the government sources added.
A government notification stated that this will come into force on May 25, 2022, and shall cease to apply after March 31, 2024.
The announcement comes on the heels of a surge in edible oil prices in India. The Government was reportedly considering cutting an import levy on soybean and sunflower oils to cool the surging local prices of food. The Centre had been deliberating on whether to reduce the agriculture infrastructure and development cess, from the existing rate of five percent, or to abolish it altogether.
India is one of the world’s largest vegetable oil importers and relies on imports for 60 percent of its needs. The country has already scrapped base import levies on most cooking oils, including palm oil and soybean oil, and imposed inventory limits to prevent hoarding.
Edible oil prices have gone up significantly since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine affected the supply of sunflower oil from the Black Sea region and Indonesia, in a surprise move, put a temporary ban on palm oil exports.
(With inputs from Bloomberg)