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 Kamar Nor Aini Bt Kamarul Zaman
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 Govt rules out duty cut in edible oil

13/11/2007 (PTI), New Delhi - The government on Tuesday ruled out any plan to reduce the import duty on edible oils such as soyabean oil and palm oil.

"There is no proposal (to cut the duty)," Agriculture and Food Minister Sharad Pawar told reporters at the Economic Editors' Conference here.

The government in July had reduced the import duty on crude palm oil to 45 per cent from 50 per cent and on crude soyabean oil to 40 per cent from 45 per cent.

There is speculation in the market that government is considering another duty-cut on imported palm and soyabean oils to ease domestic rates as global prices have gone up.

Replying to a query, Pawar said the decision to ban palm oil import through Kochi port in Kerala was taken to protect the interests of coconut farmers.

However, he clarified that the government would not put a total ban on palm oil imports as the country is facing shortage of edible oils.

The Keral High Court has already stayed government's decision to prohibit the imports through Kochi port.

Pawar also said the government would soon amend the rules to allow sugar mills make ethanol directly from sugarcane.

The Cabinet last month allowed mills to produce ethanol directly from sugarcane juice, which is currently restricted under Sugar Control Order.

On maize, the minister said there was no reason to ban export of the commodity as prices have come down.

Asked about the Abhijit Sen Committee on futures trading, the minister said the committee report is expected "any time". He said any decision to lift the ban on futures trading of rice, wheat and some pulses would be taken after studying the Sen panel's report.

Malaysian Palm Oil Board ( MPOB ) Lot 6, SS6, Jalan Perbandaran, 47301 Kelana Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan, MALAYSIA.
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