Indonesian Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita said that India has agreed to cuts its import duty for refined, bleached and deodorized palm oil (RBDPO) from Indonesia to 45 percent, or to the same level as for its imports of Malaysian palm oil, the state Antara news agency reported out of Bangkok on Wednesday (11/9).
Speaking late on Tuesday (10/9), at the last day of the 51st ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting (AEM) in Bangkok, Enggartiasto did not give more precision other that the cut would be made soon and that the assurance was given to him by Indian Trade and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on the sideline of the meeting.
Goyal, according to Enggartiasto, also vowed to consider Indonesia’s demand to also eliminate trade barriers for Indonesian golds to India, a country with a population of some 1.3 billion people.
Antara said that Enggartiasto had called on his Indian counterpart to bring the import duty for Indonesian RBDPO to the same level as that for Malaysian palm oil which had already been granted a lower import duty. The call was made during a bilateral meeting with Goyal on the sidelines of the AEM.
Under the India-Malaysia Comprehensive Economic Cooperation (IMCECA), India agreed to slap a 45 percent tariff for Malaysian palm oil, or five percent less than the tariff it imposes for palm oil export under the ASEAN-India Free Trade Agreement (AIFTA).
Enggartiasto said that in return, Indonesia has offered market access to Indian raw sugar, by lowering the standard of International Commission for Uniform Methods of Sugar Analysis (ICUMSA) for imported refined crystal sugar, from 1.200 to 200, adding that India had responded positively to the offer.
Indonesia has so far mostly sourced its raw sugar imports from Australia and Thailand.
Bilateral trade between India and Indonesia stood at $18.7 billion in 2018, with Indonesia enjoying an $8.7 billion surplus. Palm oil and its derivatives are Indonesia’s second-largest exports to India, bringing in $3.56 billion. Top exports to India is coal which reached $5.37 billion last year.