Duty on import of white sugar to be reduced

April 20th, 2009 - 3:54 pm ICT by ANI  

New Delhi, Apr 20 (ANI): India will remove a 60 per cent import duty on up to one million tons of white sugar for the next four months, a top government official said.

The government also decided to drop a requirement that raw sugar only be imported for re-export.

Three state-run trading firms and a farmers’ cooperative — the State Trading Corp of India Ltd, the MMTC, the PEC and the National Agriculture CooperativeMarketing Federation of India (NAFED) — would be allowed to import up to one million tons of white sugar tax-free.

“We have allowed our central agencies that is the SEC, the MMTC, the PEC and the NAFARD to import 10 lakhs of white sugar. Now these agencies will be importing sugar. They will not be subjected to any release mechanism or levy obligation. They will be free of this. They will be free to sell it at the domestic market. Now the imported sugar, that will come to India after it is processed, we will be giving them the fast releases so that the working capital of sugar mills is not held up,” said R P Bhagria, Chief Director (Sugar) in the Ministry of Agriculture.

The official also said that all the ships carrying the imports would be given priority for berthing at the ports.

“All the ships carrying the imported sugar will be given the priority that there will be no delay at all at ports. Now, the things will immediately get off loaded and transported to the sugar factories,” added Bhagria.

The decision comes two months after the world’s biggest consumer of the sweetener-waived tariffs on raw sugar imports, a response to a smaller-than-expected domestic crop.

The measures, which could boost global prices in a market already in a steep deficit, required formal approval from the Election Commission, which guards against populist moves meant to win votes.

The domestic crop is expected to fall to 14.2 million tons in 2008-09, down 8.4 per cent from previous estimates.

This is well short of output of 26.5 million tons last year and also of estimated consumption of 23.5 million. (ANI)

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