Bangladesh slashes rice import duty by more than a half

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The duty cut is the latest in a series of steps the government has taken to bring down rice prices.

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed announced the decision on Tuesday and said a formal notice would follow soon.

The government also decided to withdraw the 3 percent regulatory duty, a contentious issue that discouraged the traders from importing rice.

Rice imports by private traders slumped 58 percent year-on-year to 103,200 tonnes between July 1 and May 25 of the outgoing fiscal year, according to the Food Planning and Monitoring Unit. The imports are the lowest in four years.

In December 2015, the government increased customs duty on rice imports from 10 percent to 25 percent to discourage imports. The total duty amounts to 28 percent when 3 percent regulatory duty is added.

“We hope the decisions will help ease prices very soon. The government has already decided to import rice,” Ahmed said.

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