India seems to be positive about resuming the trade of refined palm oil from Nepal.
Officials at the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Supplies told that the Indian authorities are willing to allow Indian traders to import refined palm oil from Nepal, which has been paused since January 10.
Intended at taming Malaysia, India had imposed a blanket restriction on the import of palm oil. This directly influenced the trade of Nepal’s top export item refined palm oil. Considering then, the government has been holding bilateral discussions with India to resume the palm oil trade.
A week later the Indian government halted importing refined palm oil from Nepal, the government on January 18 had formally asked the southern neighbor to allow Nepali traders to export the commodity in the Indian market. Considering then, authorities of the two nations have held a series of formal and informal discussions to lift the ban for Nepal.
Sources at MoICS said that commerce secretaries of both nations are holding discussions every day to resume the trade of the country’s largest export item to the Indian market.
Nepal has been urging India to lift the ban on import of refined palm oil from Nepal citing that the country is not a bulk exporter of the product and that Nepali traders export palm oil in small packages ranging from one kg to 15 kg, which is widely used by Indian households.
NabarajDhakal, a joint secretary at MoICS informed: “Our palm oil exports account for a mere one percent of Indian imports of the commodity, We are hopeful that the ban on import of refined palm oil from Nepal will be lifted as India’s import restriction on the product did not primarily intend to curb import of the product from Nepal.”
Nepali traders import crude palm oil from Malaysia and Indonesia, process and package it here, before sending it to India. Although Nepal does not have a competitive or comparative advantage in exporting palm oil to India, its rising export in recent months had played a crucial role in raising the country’s export base and narrowing the trade deficit.
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