"Many citizens are complaining about the widespread use of palm oil. They believe that due to its use the quality of products is reduced, which is harmful to health", - said the speaker of the State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin after a meeting of deputies with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. Volodin promised to make the necessary amendments to eliminate the benefits of taxation for palm oil when considering the bill in the second reading.
Earlier we wrote that according to the FCS, in Russia the import of palm oil in 2018 amounted to 1.06 million tons. The rate of import of the product this year also remains at a high level.
Palm oil is used everywhere for a simple reason – it is the cheapest product of vegetable oils on the market. For example, in 2012, the average price of a ton of palm oil was 1052 dollars; soy oil – 1234 dollars, sunflower oil – 1229 dollars (according to the US Department of agriculture). It also has a high fat content; it is very technological and does not lose its aggregate state in our temperate climate, which makes it easy to produce, for example, margarine.
However, today palm oil is practically not used in the dairy industry. According to Artem Belov, General Director of Soyuzmoloko, the share of palm oil in the dairy industry is only 10-12% of the total volume of raw materials.
The planned increase in VAT for palm oil to 20% from 10% will lead to a decrease in demand for products containing substitutes for milk fat and to a reorientation of consumers to traditional dairy products, said Artem Belov in his comment to TASS.
According to the Deputy speaker of the State Duma Sergey Neverov, who is quoted by the media, the introduction of a 20-percent VAT rate for palm oil will bring an additional 4.5-5 billion rubles a year. This money is going to be spent on the development of the dairy industry to which palm relates conditionally.
However, the Ministry of finance supported the initiative to raise the VAT rate for palm oil, but first proposed to calculate the inflation risks.
The Ministry of health, according to The DairyNews, on the contrary emphasizes the harmlessness of palm oil. According to the chief freelance nutritionist of the Ministry of health of the Russian Federation Viktor Tutelyan, only cleaning and transportation of palm oil can cause concern: “It (palm oil - ed.) is safe, like other vegetable oils, but what we care about is incorrect transportation", - the expert noted.
Opinions of manufacturers about the initiative, however, were divided. For example, a member of the Board of Directors of "Alantal" Alexander Nikitin is convinced of the harmfulness of this initiative: "In my opinion, this initiative is the stupidest thing. The increase in VAT will not have a positive impact on the pricing in the consumer market, because a lot of products are made with the use of this oil. In our country there are not so many alternative sources of fat, and if we talk about butter, it is very expensive", - said the representative of the plant.
Nikitin also noted the increase in prices for the corresponding products: "The whole confectionery industry, all the fast food work with palm oil. Of course, the prices will go up, and it will hit the consumer, who will have to pay off the VAT out of his own pocket", commented Alexander Nikitin.
Boris Degtyarev, Director of LLC "Favorite", on the contrary does not see any harm in this initiative – he basically has some doubts whether the bill will have any impact on the dairy industry: "In my opinion, it has no impact on the dairy market or on the consumption of dairy products", - concluded the expert.
We will remind, the preferential VAT rate for palm oil was introduced in 2004. It was caused by the regulation of food prices.
On Wednesday it became known that during the meeting of the speaker of the State Duma and the leaders of the Duma factions with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev there was agreed to introduce a bill on the deprivation of palm oil VAT benefits for the second reading in the State Duma.