9/16/04 INDIA (Oilmandi) - The vegetable oil industry has urged thegovernment to reconsider the stipulated minimum carotenoid content forimported palm oil as it was impossible to meet the present standard.
This was encouraging the import of refined palm oil, instead of the crudepalm oil, benefiting the refining industry in the exporting countries atthe cost of the domestic industry.
It was impossible to meet the minimum carotenoid content of 500 parts permillion (ppm) in the imported crude palm oil as, being an unstablesubstance, this content usually declined to below this level duringshipment and handling, All-India Vegetable Oil Industry CoordinationCommittee convenor OP Goenka said in a press statement. He suggested thatthis stipulation should be reduced to 300 ppm.
Goenka maintained the Rs 50,000-crore local vegetable oil and vanaspatiindustry was on the verge of bankruptcy as it was unable to import itsbasic raw material, the crude palm oil (CPO).
The refineries were paying the same rate of duty on CPO as was applicablefor the refined palm oil (75 per cent) and that too at higher tariffvalue. This made the imports commercially unviable.
India met nearly 40 per cent of its vegetable oil requirement throughimports. Nearly two-thirds of the imports comprised various forms of palmoil, the rest being soft oils like soyabean, sunflower and others.
Goenka said the government could achieve the objective of preventing theimport of refined oil in the garb of crude palm oil even by reducing theminimum carotenoid content to a more realistic 300 ppm.
This would be sufficient to distinguish this product from the refined oilwhich normally had a carotenoid content of below 20 ppm, he maintained.