India clarifies rumours over sugar imports ban

Rubbishing sugar imports from Pakistan as “miniscule”, Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) Alok Chaturvedi  has confirmed that the Centre has no plans to impose a ban on sugar imports.

India imported just 1908 tonnes of sugar from Pakistan during the current fiscal year upto May 14, Chaturvedi clarified.

However, the Centre has asked the customs department to carry out rigorous inspections of sugar imports from Pakistan, particularly at Mumbai and Wagha.  It has also asked for a quality test of Pakistani sugar at FSSAI labs.

It has been observed that neighbouring Pakistan’s sweetner is hitting India massively and a glut in the domestic market is already pulling down sugar prices.

The Maharashtra Congress and NCP had hit out at the Centre for sugar imports from Pakistan saying the move has led to a crash in prices of sweetener in the domestic market.

India is the second largest producer of sugar and its production is expected to reach the 320 lakh tonnes mark during the ongoing sugar year (October- September) 2017-18.

The Centre has put a 100 percent duty on sugar import. This is the maximum duty India can impose under its law, Chaturvedi said.

However, under the WTO rules a maximum of 150 percent duty can be imposed on sugar import but for that, the government will have to seek Parliament’s approval.

In 2017-18,  the country imported 13,110 tonnes of sugar from Pakistan. India imports sugar mainly from Brazil. The DGFT also said that Indian exported 1.75 million tonnes of sugar in 2017-18.

Uttara is a correspondent with Indoasiancommodities. You can write to her on uttara.malhotra@indoasiancommodities.in.

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