India on Wednesday exempted Nepal from refined palm and palm olein restrictions, news agency Reuters reported citing government officials.
According to the report, the government has started issuing a license to import some refined palm olein from the Himalayan nation. The latest move comes after India put curbs on palm oil imports from Malaysia after its Prime Minister spoke against India's Citizenship Bill and abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir.
The report says that the move could put pressure on Indian refiners as imports from Nepal were allowed at zero duty under a regional treaty. It will also help Nepal, as refined palm oil and palm olein are its largest export earners. The initiative is also expected to counter the growing influence of China in Nepal, where Chinese investments have been climbing. Licences to import around 88,000 tonnes of refined bleached deodorised palm olein from Nepal were issued to about half a dozen importers, Reuters quoted a Kolkata-based official at India's Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) as saying.
Kathmandu has been urging New Delhi to allow imports of refined palm oil and palm olein. "We have made an exception with Nepal. Refined palm oil imports are not allowed from any other country," said another DGFT official.