Trade and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal says India will push the WTO to allow exports of food grains from government stocks on a government-to-government (G2G) basis to address global shortages at the Ministerial Conference (MC12) in Geneva later this month.
“Currently, the WTO is focused solely on World Food Program purchases. The WFP food supply from us is very low compared to our G2G transactions,” the minister said in an informal media interaction on Friday. India wants the WTO to allow the export of food grains from government stocks on a G2G basis to meet the demands of countries in need, he said.
“We have inventory. We have asked the WTO to allow the flexibilities so that whenever a country needs support on a G2G basis, we can provide it. It will be a topic of discussion when I go to the WTO during the 12th MC,” he said. Currently, WTO rules do not allow exports of food grains from public stocks because they have been purchased by paying administered prices or MSPs to farmers.
The minister also stressed that the government will take strict action against exporters who attempt to export wheat by submitting backdated and inappropriate documents following the May 13 export ban.
Since the government cleared shipments for exporters who had valid irrevocable letters of credit issued no later than May 13, it is strictly reviewing all documents to ensure that traders do not resort to fraudulent measures to make approve their submissions.
“The government will come down hard on anyone who has tried to backdate an LC; who made an application to allow exports based on irregular documentation in any form,” Goyal said.
He added that “the strongest action” will be taken against exporters who have tried to cheat the system.
Committee set up
An inter-ministerial committee, comprising officials from the ministries of food, agriculture and foreign affairs, has been set up to consider wheat requests from neighboring and friendly countries, the minister said.
The committee will see to it that the wheat sought by these nations is destined for their own needs in order to exclude the possibility of traders, speculators and hoarders taking control of it.
June 03, 2022