India is a major player in the global oilseeds scenario, accounting for 14.3% of the global harvested area, but only 6.4% of the global production for the 10 major oilseeds. India’s production accounts for 5% of global oils and fats output, but the country’s consumption represents 11% of world oils and fats consumption. Faced with low domestic edible oils production, India imports up to 15 million tonnes of edible oils annually. India has been the world’s leading importer of vegetable oils, currently accounting for 18% of global vegetable oils imports. Thus, India has an important role in global oils and fats trade and impacts this not only through import quantities but also by policies. Palm oil accounts for 60% of India’s vegetable oil imports. Hence, India’s edible oil import policies have a profound impact on palm oil. Recently, India’s tariff and non-tariff measures have impacted the access of palm oil, and particularly that of Malaysian palm oil into the country. These developments need to be viewed in the context of India’s obligations under existing free trade agreements with Malaysia and other exporters of edible oils to India. This paper highlights developments in India’s trade policies related to edible oil imports and reviews how these have impacted the access of Malaysian palm oil into the country.
Keywords: import duty, self sufficiency, import policy, non tariff measures, trade agreement