India has defended its decision to ban export of wheat and rice at a WTO meeting even as some member-countries have flagged concerns over the country’s stand, an official said.
At a meeting last week in Geneva, Senegal, the US and the European Union raised questions over the decision, saying it could have adverse implications on global markets. In May, India restricted export of wheat to enhance domestic availability. This month, it also banned export of broken rice and imposed a 20 per cent export duty on non-basmati rice except for parboiled rice to boost domestic supplies amid a fall in area under paddy crop in the current kharif season.
Defending its decision, India clarified that the ban on export of broken rice, which is used in poultry feed, follows a rise in the grain’s exports in recent months which put pressure on the domestic market.
In the case of wheat, food security concerns necessitated export-curbs.
“India has also stated that the measures are temporary in nature and under continuous monitoring,” the official said.
Senegal, a major importer of India’s broken rice and other rice products, urged India to keep trade open in these difficult times to ensure food sufficiency, the official added.
At the meeting, Thailand, Australia, Uruguay, the US, Australia, Canada, Brazil, New Zealand, Paraguay and Japan requested for consultations with India regarding the use of the peace clause to protect its food programmes against action from trade disputes.