Market Shift of Imported Palm Oil Products in China

Palm Oil Magazine
Doc. / Palm oil and its derivative

PALMOILMAGAZINE, JAKARTA – In recent years, China has made significant changes to its palm oil import strategy. Instead of primarily importing RBD Palm Olein (PL) for food production, the country has increasingly turned to shortening as a substitute.

In 2022, it’s estimated that China imported approximately 600,000 tons of shortening for this purpose. However, Desmond Ng pointed out that these quantities were insufficient to compensate for the decrease in RBD PL imports. As a result, palm oil demand from the food sector in China decreased by around 620,000 tons in 2022.

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Furthermore, China reduced its import of RBD Palm Stearin (PS) by about 10.9%, equivalent to 188,000 tons, compared to the previous year. When considering hydronated vegetable oil imports in the country in 2022, it’s notable that the decrease in oleochemical materials was not particularly significant.

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According to the Customs and Tax Agency of China, hydronated vegetable oil imports saw substantial growth. In 2021, these imports doubled compared to the previous year, reaching 264,900 tons from 114,900 tons. In 2022, they further increased to 285,000 tons, compared to the 264,900 tons imported in 2021.

Desmond Ng continued, hydronated and shortening from vegetable oil in China had something to do with duty structure changes of palm oil product from Indonesia in 2021 that supported palm oil downstream product export with competitive price.

This included hydronated shortening and stearin (hydrogenated palm stearin/HPS). In the same time HPS imports in China were free from duty that was managed by ASEAN-China FTA (ACFTA) compared to 2% for PS (duty of shortening which was 0% with ACFTA agreement since 2006). (T2)

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