Food Min proposes hike in import duty on white sugar to 20pc

The Food Ministry has recommended a hike in import duty on white sugar to 20 per cent in order to check flooding of the sweetener in the domestic market, a senior government official said today.

At present, import duty on white sugar as well as raw sugar is at 10 per cent each. "We have recommended increasing import duty on white sugar to 20 per cent and maintain 10 per cent duty on raw sugar," the official said.

The Finance Ministry is yet to take a call on this issue, the official added.

Last month, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar had said the government will take a call on revising the import duty structure of sugar only after three months taking into account the progress made in crushing.

Crushing operation has begun from October and mills have produced two lakh tonnes more sugar at 9.84 lakh tonnes in the first one-and- half-month period of 2012-13 marketing year, according to the industry data.

On sugar exports, the official said the free sugar export policy has expired in September and this will be reviewed in the next month.

As much as 1.3 million tonnes of sugar has been shippped so far and not much shipments are expected to happen now.

However, "if traders want to export, they can come take permits from the Food Ministry for shipments," the official added.

In May, sugar exports were kept under the Open General Licence (OGL) only till September. Sugar production in the country is estimated to be 24 million tonnes this year, against 26 million tonnes in 2011-12 marketing year (October-September). The annual demand is 22 million tonnes.

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