New Delhi, Apr 20: India will remove a 60 pc import duty on up to one million tons of white sugar for the next four months and to drop a requirement that raw sugar only be imported for re-export, a top government official said.
Three state-run trading firms and a farmers' cooperative -- the State Trading Corp of India Ltd, the MMTC, the PEC and the National Agriculture Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) -- would be allowed to import up to one million tons of white sugar tax-free.
The official also said that all the ships carrying the imports would be given priority for berthing at the ports.
"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 decision comes two months after the world's biggest consumer of the sweetener-waived tariffs on raw sugar imports.
The measures, which could boost global prices in a market already in a steep deficit, required formal approval from the Election Commission.