India on Monday tightened the curbs on import of refined palm oil by putting more conditions for the inbound shipments of the commodity. On January 8, Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGTF), under the commerce ministry, has imposed restrictions on imports of refined palm oil, as per which an importer have to seek a license or permission or no-objection certificate for the imports.
In a trade notice, the DGFT said "import of refined palm oil will be permitted subject" to certain conditions.
As per new conditions, the applications for import authorisation should be accompanied with pre-purchase agreement and details of the import for past three years.
"Validity period of import licenses/authorizations for refined palm oil will be six months in place of usual 18 months. Total non-utilisation of import authorization by the applicant will lead to disqualification of the importer from getting any further license for these items in future," it said.
Customs will be required to diligently enforce the rules of origin criteria for import of these items originating from Nepal and Bangladesh, it added.
Rules of origin certificate is a key document required for exports to those countries with which India has trade agreements. An exporter has to submit a 'certificate of origin' at the landing port of the importing country (in case of refined palm oil it will be Indian ports).
This certificate is essential to prove where the goods come from.
India, the world's largest importer of vegetable oils, buys nearly 15 million tonne annually. Of this, palm oil comprises 9 million tonne and the rest 6 million tonne is soybean and sunflower oil. Indonesia and Malaysia are the two countries which supply palm oil.
Malaysia produces 19 million tonne of palm oil in a year, while Indonesia produces 43 million tonne.
India put the commodity from free to restricted category in the backdrop of remarks by Malaysia on the new citizenship law and Kashmir issue.
On December 20 last year, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad had reportedly said, "I am sorry to see that India, which claims to be a secular state, is now taking action to deprive some Muslims of their citizenship".
Earlier, Mahathir had said in the UN General Assembly that India had "invaded and occupied" Kashmir.