MPOB Palmnews
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 Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani
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 India May End Import Of Crude Olein

NEW DELHI, August 5 (Bernama) -- India's Revenue Department has revisedspecifications of crude palm oil, which is likely to put an effective endto the import of what is described as crude olein.

The Department has amended the specifications for imported crude palm oiland its fractions, including crude palmolein of edible grade bystipulating certain minimum values, that is "acid value of two percent ormore and total crotenoid (as beta carotene) in the range of 500-2,500mg/kg in loose or bulk form."

There is obviously an error in the notification, as according to oiltechnologists acid value is not expressed in percentage terms.

The error led to confusing interpretations as many wondered if it shouldnot have been Free Fatty Acid (FFA) two percent, says a Mumbai-datelinedreport in the financial daily, the Hindu Business Line.

Importers, whose cargoes are on way to India have been caught unawares.Many are worried on what basis their consignments would be assessed andcleared by the customs officials, the report adds.

If the imported goods do not meet the revised specifications, the rate ofcustoms duty will be 70 percent, the report adds, crediting theinformation to a trade intermediary.

Crude olein is a degraded product, which is nothing but refined palmoleindegraded by the addition of palm fatty acid distillate to meetspecification in India to attract lower duty.

The Revenue Department's suspician in this regard was reinforced when thecartenoid value of the imported cargo was found to be exceptionally low inthe consignments, the report says.

From November 2002 till July 2003, India imported about 1.2 million tonnesof crude olein, while in the whole of the 2001-02 oil year (November toOctober), imports totalled 920,000 tonnes.

The Malaysia's Primary Industries Minister Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik whowas in India in the latter half of February, told newsmen that there wasno product in Malaysia called "crude olein".

The nomenclature of the product was allegedly changed on the way by Indiantraders in Singapore to take advantage of the duty differential betweenrefined and crude palm oil, it is alleged.