BIRGUNJ, August 6: The export of refined edible oil from Birgunj, the main trade gateway of the country, increased by nearly 350 percent in the fiscal year 2020/21 as compared to the previous year. According to the Birgunj Customs Office, soybean and sunflower oil worth Rs 38 billion was exported through this point in 2020/21.
According to the statistics, 197,326 tons of soybean oil and 10,867 tons of sunflower oil were exported from Birgunj in the last fiscal year 2020/21. Altogether, a total of 208,204 tons of refined oil was exported. This is about 350 percent more than the export of 61,970 tons in the previous fiscal year 2019/20.
In the fiscal year 2019/20, 61,550 tons of refined soybean oil and 420 tons of sunflower oil were exported from Birgunj. According to Harihar Poudel, Chief Customs Officer of Birgunj Customs Office, the contribution of refined oil to Nepal's export trade is remarkable.
After a long hiatus, palm oil exports from Nepal to India resumed on October 8, 2018 after India granted export permission. After some time, India again banned the import of palm oil. The industrialists opted for soybean and sunflower oil as alternatives. This alternative of the industrialists also seems to have given results. Domestic industries have been processing semi-manufactured oil from third countries and have been exporting refined oil to India.
The Indian government has set high tariffs on oil imported from countries other than the South Asian Free Trade Area. Nepali industries process semi-manufactured oil imported from third countries and export it to India. Nepali importers have to pay 10 percent customs duty while importing crude oil from third countries.
The same Nepali industries can export oil to India at zero tariff facility under the South Asian Free Trade Area. The difference in customs duty has led to the increase in export of refined oil from Nepal to India. Thirteen industries in the Birgunj industrial corridor have been exporting refined oil to India. Oil is also exported from six industries from Biratnagar. A total of 19 industries are exporting oil from Nepal.