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India raises veg oil import taxes to protect farmers

Reuters  |  NEW DELHI 

By Mayank Bhardwaj

(Reuters) - India, the world's biggest buyer of vegetable oils, has raised import taxes on crude and refined edible to protect local oilseed farmers from cheaper from top suppliers and Indonesia.

The increases were shown in an order uploaded on a government website late on Friday.

doubled the import tax on crude palm to 15 percent and raised the import tax on refined palm to 25 percent, increasing the differential in duty by 10 percentage points to encourage local processing.

The government also raised the import tax on crude soyoil to 17.5 percent from 12.5 percent previously.

"The decision will help both farmers and the local crushing industry which had to bear the brunt of higher oilseed stocks, lower domestic prices and surging supplies from major producers," said Sandeep Bajoria, chief executive of the Sunvin group, a leading vegetable importer. "We welcome the move."

reported on Tuesday that the government was considering raising import taxes on vegetable oils, the country's third biggest imported commodity after crude and gold.

spends about $10 billion a year to import palm from and Indonesia and relatively smaller quantities of soyoil from Brazil and Argentina.

Large inventories and lower prices have fomented a wave of protests by farmers in the big agrarian states of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, ruled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party.

Nearly two-thirds of India's 1.3 billion people depend on agriculture to scrape a living.

(Reporting by Mayank Bhardwaj; editing by David Clarke)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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