Imports Current Affairs

Government hikes import duty on non-palm oils by 5-10%

The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBITC) under Finance Ministry has raised import duty by 5-10% on non-palm edible oils, both crude and refined ones, in order to protect interest of domestic oilseeds growers and processors.

Key Facts

Sunflower oil: The import duty on crude variant was increased from 25% to 35%, while that on refined variant from 35% to 45%.

Crude groundnut oil: The import duty was increased from 30% to 35%, while that on refined groundnut oil from 35% to 45%.

Canola oil: The import duty was increased from 25% to 35% .

Background

India has 60-65% import dependency in edible oils as there is huge demand supply gap in domestic market. India imports over 14 million tonnes of vegetable oils annually to meet domestic demand.  Thus, international trade in edible oils generates huge import bill to be paid every year. The import bill for edible oil is around $10 billion which is India’s third-highest overseas spending after oil and gold. In March 2018, Central Government had raised import duty on crude palm oils from 30% to 44%, while that on refined palm oils to 54% from 40%. But the customs duty on non-palm crude and refined edibles was kept unchanged.

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India-China trade hits record $84.4 billion in 2017

According to data of Chinese General Administration of Customs, India-China bilateral trade has reached $84.44 billion last year, a historic high with 18.63% year-on-year growth rate.

This is regarded as historic landmark in bilateral relations of both countries, as volume of bilateral trade for first time has touched $80 billion, well above the $71.18 billion registered in 2016.

Key Facts

India has emerged as the seventh largest export destination for Chinese products, and 24th largest exporter to China.

India’s imports and exports: It has increased by 39.11% year-on-year to $16.34 billion in 2017. India’s imports from China have increased by 14.59% to $68.10 billion.

Significantly, diamonds along with copper, iron ore, organic chemicals and cotton yarn contributed to increase Indian exports to China. China’s exports on other hand were dominated by electrical machinery and equipment,

India’s trade deficit: It continues to remain high at $51.75 billion, registering a growth of 8.55% year-on-year in 2017. To arrest it, India is pressing China to open its IT and Pharmaceutical sectors for Indian firms, fertilizers, organic chemicals and pharmaceutical antibiotics.

Comment

The bilateral trade has touched historic high despite bilateral tensions over number of bilateral issues including China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), China blocking India’s efforts to bring about UN ban on Jaish-e-Mohammad leader Masood Azhar and blocking India’s entry into Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) as well as military standoff at Doklam plateau near Sikkim and Bhutan, lasting 73 days.

For several years, bilateral trade between India and China had stagnated around $70 billion, despite they had set target of $100 billion in 2015. Though it is still about $20 billion short, it is expect trade and Chinese investments in India to pick up further as both governments are trying to scale down tensions and step-up normalisation process.

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