Home / Industry / Agriculture /  Duty relief for rice exporters in Gujarat

NEW DELHI : Rice exporters in Gujarat are taking heart from a Gujarat High Court order granting interim relief to an exporter who had challenged the duty on exports of non-basmati rice on the grounds that his shipping bills were registered before 8 Sept, when the 20% duty was imposed.

The Gujarat order followed an Andhra Pradesh HC judgment last month allowing three rice exporters to ship out rice subject to certain conditions. Hundreds of thousands of tonnes of rice got stuck at ports after the Union government decided to regulate rice exports citing domestic food security concerns. “Merely because the goods could not be sailed in the vessel, the customs authorities were not justified in taking to levy the duty," the Gujarat HC said. The rice consignments which were destined for Ghana belonged to Kunvarji Comtrade. The company argued that its goods were inspected and allowed for “Let Export" on 5 Sept by Customs. “Interim order is just a temporary thing. It could go either way. So if the decision is in favour of the government on the justification that they give, exporters will have to repay the duty. As far as shipping bills are concerned, in the rice business these bills are made much earlier. We don’t know what will be the final decision," said Vinod Kaul, senior executive director, All India Rice Exporters Association.

“These orders are high court orders and so will be applicable to those particular states alone—in this case, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat. And of course other exporters in the region will be able to take the benefit of the same. But it will be important to see if the government challenges the order," said Ajay Sahai, director-general of Federation of Indian Export Organizations.

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