Strict action to be taken against traders attempting to export wheat using improper documents
Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said India will push the WTO to allow food grain exports from public stocks on a government-to-government (G2G) basis to meet global shortages at the Ministerial Conference (MC12) in Geneva later this month.
“Right now, the WTO is only focussing on procurement by the World Food Programme. WFP’s sourcing of food from us is very little compared to our G2G dealings,” the Minister said at an informal interaction with the media on Friday. India wants the WTO to allow food grains to be exported from public stocks on a G2G basis to meet the demands of countries in need, he said.
“We have some stocks. We have asked the WTO to allow the relaxations so that whenever a country is in need of support on G2G basis, we can supply to them. It will be a matter of discussion when I will go to WTO at 12th MC,” he said. At present, WTO rules do not allow exports of food grains from public stocks as they have been procured by paying administered prices or MSP to farmers.
The Minister also emphasised that the government would take strict action against exporters who have been attempting to export wheat by submitting back-dated and improper documents following the ban on its export on May 13.
Since the government allowed shipments for exporters who had valid irrevocable letters of credit (LCs) issued on or before May 13, it is strictly examining all documents to ensure that traders do not resort to fradulent measures to get their consignments approved.
“The government will come down strongly on anybody who has tried to back-date an LC; who has made an application to allow exports based on documents which are irregular in any form,” Goyal said.
He added that “strongest action’’ will be taken against exporters who have tried to deceive the system.
Committee set up
An inter-ministerial committee, comprising officials from food, agriculture and foreign affairs ministries, has been set up to examine requests for wheat from neighbouring and friendly countries, the Minister said.
The committee will ensure that the wheat sought by those nations are for their own requirements so that the possibility that traders, speculators, and hoarders getting control over it is ruled out.