Udayavni Special

Comm min for not extending safeguard duty on palm oil imports from Malaysia

PTI, Mar 2, 2020, 4:24 PM IST

New Delhi: The commerce ministry’s investigation arm DGTR has not recommended a further extension of bilateral safeguard duty on imports of a particular variety of palm oil from Malaysia, according to a notification.

The Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) in August last year initiated a probe into an alleged jump in imports of ‘Refined Bleached Deodorised Palmolein and Refined Bleached Deodorised Palm Oil’ from Malaysia, following a complaint from Solvent Extractors’ Association of India.

The notification said the “director general does not recommend a further extension of bilateral safeguard duty.”

On September 4, 2019, the revenue department had imposed 5 per cent safeguard duty on imports of refined palm oil from Malaysia, taking the customs levy to 50 per cent for six months, a move aimed at protecting the interest of domestic players.

It was imposed after the DGTR in a preliminary finding suggested for the imposition of the duty for 180 days.

According to the final findings, the directorate has concluded that “it may not be necessary to impose safeguard duty beyond the current period of 180 days.”

“It is considered that the bilateral safeguard duty imposed” on September 4, 2019, under the CECA (Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement) on the imports for a period of 180 days “is sufficient in the present circumstances,” it has added.

The investigation was conducted under the India-Malaysia Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (Bilateral Safeguard Measures) Rules, 2017.

The agreement is a kind of free trade pact under which both countries have reduced customs duties on several goods traded between them.

Imports from Malaysia increased from 6,26,362 MT in 2016-17 to 25,96,225 MT in Jan-June, 2019 (on an annualised basis), showing an increase of 314 per cent.

Imports from other countries declined from 23,15,292 MT in 2016-17 to 7,25,210 MT in Jan-June, 2019 (on annualized basis).

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