Sun, 05 Dec 2010

From: Reuters

NUSA DUA, Indonesia (Reuters) - Indonesia's export tax on palm oil products remains at comfortable levels but any steps by the government to change the structure needs to equally benefit planters and refiners, a top planter said late on Thursday.

Palm oil giant SMART TBK said the government's plan to review the export taxes, currently at their highest this year at 15 percent, in December, needs to consider small farmers who do not have similar economies of scale as big planters.

"The government needs to do this very tactfully, to balance the returns among the whole industry, the smallholders and the upstream players," SMART's President Director Daud Dharsono told Reuters at the Indonesian Palm Oil Conference in Bali.

"But the current export tax levels are already comfortable and the industry can still operate nicely," he added.

Dharsono said he was optimistic about the firm's palm oil production next year although swings in climate could moderate growth.

"We will grow but its hard to say by how much because the changing climate conditions. We could get much wetter weather but we are set to do well this year," he said.

SMART did not give a target for next year but its production as of September has hit 436,000 tons or about 68 percent of 640,264 tons for the previous financial year ended Dec 2009.