Pakistan becomes third largest importer of cooking oil: Experts


Pakistan has become the fourth largest market for cooking oil after China, India and United Arab Emirates and third largest importer of the commodity, experts said at a conference on Saturday.

Increasing imports of edible oil has led to the establishment of one more import terminal at sea ports, they said at a one-day conference on Pakistan Edible Oil Conference (PEOC) held at a local hotel. “The import of crude and refined cooking oil has increased to 2.6 million tonnes per annum in Pakistan, while the country imports 2.2 million tonnes oil seeds every year,” POEC Chief Executive Officer Abdul Rashed Jan Muhammad, said at the conference. The imports help the country meets around 75 percent domestic needs, while remaining 25 percent need is met through locally produced banola and mustered oils.

Pakistan imports crude and refined cooking oil mainly from Malaysia and Indonesia, while it imports soybean oil from North America and Brazil. Experts said that Pakistan has so far invested Rs50 billion in import, processing and storage industries of the edible oil. They also estimated a similar quantum of investment in the years to come.

“The revival of the local economy, increased disposable income, surging demand of cooking oil and population have created avenues for more investment in the edible oil industry,” said Trade Development Authority of Pakistan Chief Executive Officer SM Muneer, who was also the chief guest.

Sheikh Amjad Rafique, a speaker in the conference, said Malaysia has imposed taxes on export of the oil to Pakistan. “This is negation of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Pakistan and Malaysia," he said. He demanded of the Pakistan's government to engage with Malaysia government to remove this anomaly in FTA and exploit full benefit of the agreement in place. In addition to this, POEC CEO added, approximately 30 percent cost of the oil import is comprised of taxes that importers pay at Pakistan's sea ports. “The government should rationalize the taxes,” he said.

Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry President Zubair Tufail said that per capital consumption of cooking oil in Pakistan is the highest in world. He said Malaysia and Indonesia remained two big sources to import oil. “The two counties should open their markets for Pakistani products to create balance of trade with Pakistan,” he said. He asked Malaysia and Indonesia to increase investment in the edible oil industry in Pakistan, as they can take benefit of transit trade to Afghanistan and Central Asian Counties via Pakistan.

LMC Chairman Dr James Fry, which is a research institute of UK, said fluctuation in production, demand and price of edible oils has a direct link with crude fuel oils at world. “The production and supply of palm oil would increase in 2017,” he said.

Exports also spoke at the conference were from the countries, including USA, France, Malaysia and Indonesia. The conference was jointly organised by Pakistan Vanaspati Manufacturers Association (PVNA), All Pakistan Solvent Extractors Association (APSEA), Pakistan Edible Oil Refiners Association (PEORA) and Pakistan Soap manufacturers Association (PSMA).


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