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Govt slashes tariff for edible oil import, domestic prices may fall

New Delhi: The government has reduced the tariff value for import of edible oil, including palm oil, by up to $112 per tonne, a move which experts said can lead to lower domestic prices.

The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), through a notification, has cut the tariff import value of crude palm oil by $86 per tonne, and of RBD and crude palmolein by $112 per tonne each.

It also reduced the base import price of crude soyabean oil by $37 per tonne. The changes in tariff value of edible oil are effective from Thursday (June 17).

Tax experts said the reduction in tariff value could result in softening of edible oil prices in the domestic market as customs duty payable on the base import price would come down.

AMRG & Associates Senior Partner Rajat Mohan said there is a big gap between domestic production and consumption of edible oils in India, which leads to massive imports and last few months have seen the retail prices rising.

"The ripple effect of this slashing of base import price could be seen in the retail prices, provided the entire supply chain, including the manufacturers, distributors, and retailers, are ready to pass on this benefit to the ultimate consumer," Mohan added.

Domestic edible oil prices have more than doubled in the past year. India meets about two-thirds of its edible oil demand through imports.

EY Tax Partner Abhishek Jain said tariff value is a deemed value fixed by the government for the purposes of payment of customs duty. This is to say that irrespective of the transaction value, customs duty will have to be paid on the tariff value so fixed. "This reduction in the tariff value of edible oils by the government will imply a lower Customs duty payment, thereby entailing a reduction in cost for the importers and end users/ consumers," Jain added.

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