India Sets Zero Tariff on Oil Meal Imports Signaling Willingness to Open Up Trade
- General News
The Government of India announced May 22 that it is suspending tariffs on oil meals, including soymeal and oil cakes. Though not currently a significant market for U.S. soy, USSEC CEO Jim Sutter believes this is a welcome sign of market development potential for U.S. soy exports to the soy-producing country.
Indian imports of edible oil are on the rise. In 2011-2012, India imported a record 10.19 million tons (MT) of vegetable oil, a significant increase over previous years. The Food and Finance Ministries of India believe that lowering custom duties will create stable prices for consumers.
With national elections scheduled for next year, the political environment in India is influencing policies on food safety, food security, and international trade. According to the World Food Programme, India incorporates 25 percent of the world’s hungry and poor population, where more than 70 percent of children are malnourished and about 10 million or more people die of chronic hunger or hunger-related diseases every year. India's government has struggled to address its food security crisis, but is now showing more urgency to pass legislation and to explore policies to curb food prices and improve the quality of life of India citizens. USSEC staff and industry advisors believe the time is right for policy reforms and USSEC has shifted its focus in India toward preparing for future Indian soy import needs rather strictly promoting soy utilization.