NEW DELHI, May 19 - The Indian government today ruled out a cut in importduty on crude palm oil (CPO), saying the current rate of tariff isadequate for catering to the domestic requirements.
"At present there is no move to slash the 65 per cent import tariff onCPO. If need be, we will look into the demand of refiners," federalAgriculture Minister Ajit Singh said.
Speaking here on the sidelines of an official function, the Minister saidoilseeds prices at present are high enough to be remunerative for thefarmers.
Decision on edible oil tariffs is taken by the Finance Ministry. However,the views of Food, Commerce and Agriculture ministries are alsoascertained.
He said the recent cut in refined palm oil tariffs was on account of the25 per cent shortfall in domestic oilseeds production owing to drought andto preempt any skyrocketing of domestic prices which would not have beenin consumer interest.
Singh was sceptical of refiners' contention that reduction in dutydifferential between crude and refined palm oils will encourage imports ofthe latter at their cost.
He said it was a matter of argument whether the claimed import of CPO "wasactually crude or refined oil was imported as crude to evade duty".
Singh expressed optimism that at the current rate of oilseeds prices whichare well above the Minimum Support Prices fixed by the government, farmerswill increasingly sow the crop in the coming season.
He said at present Nafed was not required to undertake procurementoperations since most of the sales were in the open market.