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Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday stressed that India is looking at tapping new markets for the import of edible oils, following the conflict between Ukraine and Russia. The country has been facing hurdles in that aspect since the conflict. 

India is especially vulnerable to soaring vegetable oil prices as it relies on imports for 60% of its needs. Prices, which have been rallying for the past two years, extended the surge after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine locked out exports of sunflower oil and Indonesia, the biggest shipper of edible oils, imposed a ban on palm oil exports to protect its domestic market.

 "Everyone knows there is a war going on between Russia and Ukraine. There are various hurdles in terms of importing oils. You know we are not able to import edible oil, we were getting sunflower oil. Now, we are not," the finance minister said during an event and further added,  "Now, we are importing edible oils from various other markets and are also looking at newer markets."  

The Finance Minister was speaking at the Stakeholder's Outreach Programme organised by Directorate General of Foreign Trade on the occasion of India signing a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement with the United Arab Emirates and the Economic Cooperation Trade Agreement (ECTA) with Australia.

She further pointed out that the conflict has given an opportunity to industrialists in terms of tapping those markets for exports from India.

"Earlier, they (Ukraine and Russia) were exporting to some markets. Now, they are not exporting (due to the conflict). We have got an opportunity to export to those countries (where Ukraine and Russia were exporting). You (as industrialists) should also look at opportunities in every challenge and the Central government was always ready to offer its support," she said. 

Meanwhile, the Centre is likely to cut taxes on some edible oils to cool the domestic market after the war in Ukraine and Indonesia’s ban on palm oil exports sent prices skyrocketing.

(With inputs from agencies)

 

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