Government relaxes restrictions on edible oil exports

With the inflation rate continuing to fall, the government has further relaxed the restrictions on edible oil export, by permitting overseas shipments up to 31 October 2009.

Exports, however, will be restricted to ports with the electronic data interchange systems and, only in branded packs of 5 kg, subject to a limit of 10,000 tonnes.

India, a big importer of vegetable oils, banned exports of edible oils on 17 March 2008 among a number of steps to curb inflation. India was earlier exporting small volumes of oils, mostly groundnut and rapeseed, in bulk or in containers of about 20 tonnes.

According to edible oil industry sources, the move would have almost no effect on firms (except on firms that used to sell their retail brands overseas) as there is little export demand for edible oils in small packs.

The government has done away with all export restrictions on fish oils. However, with inflation still at 8.9 per cent, the government is not willing to stop being careful about price rise. The quantity of edible oils to be exported shall be monitored, says the government.

The government's graduated decisions on easing of restrictions on exports and even providing incentives for overseas trade are taken by the Empowered Committee of Secretaries, which has been monitoring the demand-supply position on a regular basis.