New Delhi: India said it has banned exports of all cooking oils for a year to improve local supplies, but a top trade official said overseas sales were minuscule and stopping shipments would have little impact.
India exports some cooking oils, such as groundnut, in small quantities, and is the world’s second largest vegetable oil buyer. In a statement dated 17 March and issued by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade, an arm of the commerce ministry, the government said the curbs came into effect on Monday.
“It makes little sense as India hardly exports,” said B.V. Mehta, executive director of the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India. “We have exported only 30,000 tonnes of groundnut oil in small quantities since November.”
India’s edible oil year runs from November to October.
It occasionally exports small quantities of coconut oils, Mehta said.
The government on Monday left the tariff values used to calculate import tax unchanged. It has not revised them since late 2006 to keep a lid on prices. Inflation has been rising in recent weeks and the market has been abuzz with talk that the government would cut import duties on leading edible oils to ease food price pressures. India consumes around 11 million tonnes (mt) of edible oils a year, helped by imports of nearly 6mt.