KATHMANDU, July 1: India has lifted the ban on the import of palm oil that had been in place since June last year. The Indian move has paved the way for Nepali exporters to resume their business.
Issuing a public notice on Wednesday, Directorate General of Foreign Trade under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, India, removed the restriction into effect till the end of 2021. “Import policy of items under HS code 15119010, 15119020 and 15119090 is amended from ‘Restricted’ to ‘Free’ with immediate effect and for a period up to December 31, 2021,” reads the notice of the Indian authority.
For the past few years until India imposed a ban last year, the export of palm oil had been giving a notable export earnings to the landlocked country. In 2019/20, Nepal exported palm oil worth Rs 18.31 billion to India, making the product the topmost in the country’s export lists.
Although Nepal does not produce raw materials needed to produce palm oil, the country has been benefiting from the export of the product to its southern neighbor based on the preferential trade agreement under the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA). As the SAFTA agreement provisions zero tariffs on goods exported from underdeveloped countries like Nepal, Nepali traders have been importing crude palm oil from other countries paying minimum tariffs and then exporting the finished product to India paying zero tariffs.