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In a bid to cool inflation in edible oils, India on Tuesday allowed duty-free import of 20 Lakh metric tonnes each of crude soyabean oil and crude sunflower oil for this year as well as 2023-24, according to the Finance Ministry notification.

The exemption will help cool domestic prices and control inflation.

"This will provide significant relief to the consumers," the CBIC wrote on Twitter.

Trade and government officials earlier said that India could cut an import tax on crude soyoil and crude sunflower oil as the world's biggest vegetable oil importer tries to tame food inflation.

India has already abolished the basic import tax on crude palm oil, crude soyoil and crude sunflower oil, but continues with the 5% Agriculture Infrastructure and Development Cess (AIDC) on these three grades of edible oils.

The national capital has been struggling to contain a rally in local edible oil rates in recent months, and Russia's invasion of Ukraine has made it even more difficult for the government to tame vegetable oil prices.

India imports more than two-thirds of its edible oil needs and a sharp drop in the supplies of sunflower from the Black Sea region has further stoked local prices.

After retail and wholesale inflation hit multi-year highs in April, the government on Saturday announced a series of changes to the tax structure levied on crucial commodities to insulate consumers from rising prices.

High inflation prompted the Reserve Bank of India to hold an unscheduled meeting to raise the benchmark interest rate by 40 basis points to 4.40% earlier this month.

India imports palm oil mainly from Indonesia and Malaysia, while other oils, such as soy and sunflower, come from Argentina, Brazil, Ukraine and Russia.

India's palm oil imports next month are unlikely to spike despite Indonesia's decision to lift its ban on overseas shipments.

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