Government relaxes raw sugar import norms


New Delhi : The government Wednesday announced a major relaxation of norms for the import of raw sugar, saying it could be refined anywhere in the country and not only by the mill that had imported it.

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“To expedite the refining of raw sugar and improve availability in the market, the government has relaxed the central excise rules to enable its processing in mills in any state,” Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said.

He was briefing reporters after a meeting of the cabinet committee on prices chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

“Today, the import (of raw sugar) at zero duty is done under the name of a particular mill. It is supposed to be processed only in that mill. If it is processed elsewhere, then duty has to be paid. This measure has been waived,” Pawar said.

He said the waiver had been granted as “a number of sugar mills in Uttar Pradesh had imported raw sugar for processing. However, the bulk of the sugar is still lying in Kandla and Mundra ports in view of restrictions by the Uttar Pradesh government on the movement of raw sugar.

“We have repeatedly requested the state government to lift the restrictions but to no avail,” Pawar pointed out.

The government has already permitted the import of raw sugar at zero duty up to Dec 31, 2010. This facility has now been extended for the import of refined sugar.

“In order to ensure continuous availability of sugar in the market, refined sugar will be allowed to be imported at zero duty up to Dec 31, 2010. There will be no quantitative cap on imports,” Pawar said.