Rice court case withdrawn, exports seen unchanged

Rice court case withdrawn, exports seen unchanged

New Delhi: A court case seeking to stop the exports of one million tonne of rice from India has been withdrawn, the chief of the trade body which filed the petition said on Wednesday, but this may not lead to the consignment being shipped.

As a result exports of common rice from India will remain for now at 2 million tonne announced by the food minister this month.

In July, the government allowed 82 firms to export one million tonne of rice, but the All India Rice Exporters Association went to a court to block the shipment terming the award of contracts to these companies faulty.

While the Delhi High Court considered the case, the government this month allowed unrestricted exports of the grain, rendering the legal challenge to the export quota allotment process meaningless.

“Now the quota will lapse automatically since exports are free. It does not make any sense now," said Vijay Setia, president of the All India Rice Exporters Association.

He said those allowed to export one million tonnes of rice after the 11 July decision would not want to go through the litany of formalities involved in shipping under the quota system and take advantage of unrestricted exports.

“This means that one million tonnes will not be shipped now," Setia said.

On 8 September, Food Minister K. V. Thomas gave the nod to unrestricted exports of two million tonnes each of common rice and wheat.

India’s entry into the export market after three years has undercut supplies from Thailand and Vietnam, the world’s No.1 and No. 2 rice exporters respectively, which have seen demand for their costlier supplies fall as buyers turn to Indian varieties.

Kicking off deals, a leading Indian trading firm sold 100,000 tonnes of non-basmati rice to Nigerian buyers at $470 per tonne, undercutting Thai and Vietnamese competitors.