MUMBAI - India has imposed a 7.5% import duty on palm stearin, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in her first budget speech on Friday, as the world's biggest edible oil importer tries to boost local refining.
The imports of palm stearin, the solid fat derived from palm fruit, and other oils with 20% or more free fatty acid used in manufacturing of oleochemicals and soaps did not have an import duty, Sitharaman said.
Local refiners produce large amounts of palm stearin and other palm products from refining of crude palm oil, said B.V. Mehta, executive director of the Solvent Extractors' Association of India (SEA).
India every year imports more than 6 million tonnes of crude palm oil.
"The duty revision will help the local refining industry. They can sell these products competitively," Mehta said.
India imports palm oil mainly from Indonesia and Malaysia.