The Ministry of Commerce will not extend the safeguard tariff to Malaysian palm oil imports

NEW DELHI: The Directorate General for Trade Remedies (DGTR) of the investigation arm of the Ministry of Commerce has not recommended a greater extension of the bilateral safeguard right to imports of a particular variety of palm oil from Malaysia, according to a notification.

The DGTR in August last year initiated an investigation into an alleged jump in imports of 'refined bleached deodorized palmolein and refined bleached deodorized palm oil' from Malaysia, following a complaint from the Association of Solvent Extractors of India.

The notification says that the director general does not recommend a greater extension of the bilateral safeguard duty.

On September 4, 2019, the revenue department had imposed a 5 percent safeguard fee on Malaysian refined palm oil imports, bringing the customs lien to 50 percent for six months, a measure aimed at protecting the interest of national players.

It was imposed after the DGTR in a preliminary conclusion suggested for the imposition of the right for 180 days.

According to the final conclusions, the management concluded that it may not be necessary to impose a safeguard duty beyond the current 180-day period.

The bilateral safeguard right imposed on September 4, 2019 under the ECSC (Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement) on imports for a period of 180 days is considered to be sufficient under current circumstances, he added.

The research was conducted under the Rules of the India-Malaysia Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (Bilateral Safeguard Measures), 2017.

The agreement is a kind of free trade agreement under which both countries have reduced customs duties on various goods exchanged between them.

Imports from Malaysia increased from 6.26,362 MT in 2016-17 to 25.96,225 MT in January-June 2019 (on an annualized basis), showing an increase of 314 percent.

Imports from other countries decreased from 23.15,292 MT in 2016-17 to 7.25,210 MT in January-June 2019 (on an annualized basis).