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 Duty cut on edible oils unlikely

Duty cut on edible oils unlikely

NEW DELHI Friday, 4th May, 2001 (The Economic Times) - THE GOVERNMENT isunlikely to give in to demands from palm oil producers for rationalisingedible oil import tariffs because of low domestic prices and the impendingoilseeds season, traders and analysts said on Thursday.

But they said the possibility of counter-trade could be explored duringPrime Minister’s visit to Malaysia this month.

Malaysia and Indonesia, the world’s largest palm oil producers, urgedIndia last month to rationalise its vegetable oil duties to ensure palmoil gets equal treatment.

In February, the government has imposed import duty of 75 per cent oncrude palm oil and 85 per cent on refined palm oil. The duties comparewith 45 per cent for crude soya oil and 50.8 per cent on refined soya oil.

``India will be under some pressure from the Malaysian government for alevel-playing field on edible oil duties,’’ said B V Mehta of the SolventExtractors Association of India. .

The Prime Minister is scheduled to visit Malaysia from May 14 to 16, whenhe is expected to sign an agreement involving a $1.8bn railway project.The contract involves the dual tracking and electrification of railwaylines in Malaysia in the hope that India will continue buying palm oilfrom Malaysia.

India was Malaysia’s main palm oil buyer in 2000, taking 2.1 milliontonnes.

Malaysia’s palm oil futures were steady by midday on Thursday inanticipation of good news during Vajpayee’s visit, further rises inChicago and more technical covering. (Reuters)

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