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    Commerce Ministry seeks extension of free sugar exports


    The order allowing free export of the commodity lapsed on Sept 30.The commerce department says the order should be extended indefinitely as sugar stocks are sufficient to meet domestic demand.

    NEW DELHI: The commerce department has demanded an extension of the order allowing free export of sugar, putting it at odds with the food ministry, which wants a cautious approach to ensure that prices do not rise in the festival season.

    The order allowing free export of the commodity lapsed on September 30. The commerce department says the order should be extended indefinitely as sugar stocks are sufficient to meet domestic demand. Domestic demand for sugar, estimated at 22 million tonne a year, spikes around Dussehra and Diwali, the festivals that fall in the months of October and November.

    "As domestic prices of sugar are much higher than international prices, hardly any export has taken place over the last few months despite the government's decision to allow free exports," a commerce department official told ET. "Curbing exports at this point of time would unnecessarily hit market sentiments and affect global as well as domestic prices."

    Global forums including the G-20 and the World Trade Organisation have been pressing India to minimise export bans on commodities saying they add to price volatility in the world market and affect the poor.

    However, the food ministry, which in May had allowed free exports of sugar till September 30 to help the government pay arrears to cane grower, now wants to wait and watch.

    According to the commerce ministry official, the food ministry needs time to examine the stock and price situation before deciding on extension of the notification. "We are trying to convince them that stocks are enough and prices won't be affected by the move," the official added.

    According to the Indian Sugar Mills Association, the country is likely to have an exportable surplus of about 9 million tonne in the year from October 1.

    Experts say that though annual output could fall by 1 tonne to 25 MT due to poor rains in sugar producing states of Maharashtra and Karnataka, there will still be 6 million tonne of surplus sugar for the next marketing year.

    "If the food ministry does not extend the free export order it would be as good as banning sugar exports as, like in the previous year, it would not give any release order to exporters in the next couple of months," the commerce department official said.

    The domestic industry, on the other hand, has been demanding an increase in the import duty on sugar saying cheap imports from countries such as Brazil can depress prices by up to 20%, making business unviable.

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    2 Comments on this Story

    Zachariah2973 days ago
    Good governance,export sugar while the local prices is increasing (now around Rs.40@Kg).The price of rice will be around Rs.100 @ KG by Dec.12 (now around Rs.35-40@Kg) because of the export.They are weeping for AAm Admi and doing these things to benefit big traders.Does MMS see these acts of his ministers,if so sent these ministers to jail.
    Meeta2973 days ago
    Ab raanijisabka yaane mulloka paisa leek bank kangaal karnachahthihai - parsablejaake Kaunse nikkammekoderahihai? Sathiyagayibudhiya uskoullubanaanekliye most expensive computer aur heerekafootball ke naam kuch shadyantrarachahai Jo usko poorapoorasaafkardegi eurokobhi - bichdnge sabhi baaribaari lotaleke bheekmaangne. Kabhikabhi lagthahai Mai bekaartaang adaa rahihoon. Kya ye saare dayakepaatrahai? Cheenselekarturkimusalmaanaurraanithathaeurokelog. Chalojobhiho sab bhagwaanki marzihai. Jaisabhihoga achahihoga. Oceans eleven jeethenge? Shayad! Haarenge? Shayad! Donohaalath India ko koi farknahi. Bas aankhen khulenge kuch logonke aur unkipoonjikirakshakeliye wo ladenge
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