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Basmati exports may pick up as Saudi Arabia likely to ease residue rules

Oct 15, 2018

India’s basmati-rice exports are expected to pick up, as key importer Saudi Arabia is set to adopt easy residue parameters to take delivery of consignments. With India taking steps to reduce the deposit of harmful chemicals on rice, local authorities expect the European Union also step up imports from India. 
 
India is the top exporter in the Rs 26,000-crore global basmati market. Shipments from the country to Saudi have taken a hit after Riyadh sought undertakings from exporters on minimum residue levels (MRL). Also, Saudi rejected a few consignments of Indian rice from a Singapore-based company. Since the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) has not defined MRLs, customs authorities rejected the consignments based on the stringent lowest limit of analytical determination criteria followed by the EU  and the US.
 
The SFDA is now set to formulate its own, easier MRLs in the coming months, trade executives said. In fact, with India taking up the issue with the Saudi authorities, exports to that country have already improved, they added. 
 
 
The recent dialogue with authorities in Saudi Arabia has resulted in a positive outcome and exports have normalised to the country, said AK Gupta, director of the Basmati Export Development Fund, an arm of the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority. 
    
Source: Economictimes.indiatimes



India, Azerbaijan to take steps to boost bilateral trade

Oct 15, 2018

India and Azerbaijan have agreed to take steps to boost bilateral trade as the two-way commerce between the countries was far below the potential, an official statement said Friday. 
 
The issues were discussed during the fifth meeting of the India-Azerbaijan Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade and Economic, Science and Technology Cooperation here. 
 
The meeting was co-chaired by Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Suresh Prabhu and Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of the Government of Republic of Azerbaijan, Mukhtar Babayev. 
 
Both sides felt that bilateral trade was far below the potential and there was a need to step up the cooperation to enlarge the trade basket and increase bilateral trade and investment, the Commerce Ministry said. 
 
The two sides agreed to take measures to enhance trade relations and expand business tie-ups between the countries, it added. 
 
Bilateral trade between the countries stood at USD 657.9 million in January-August 2018. 
 
    
Source: Economictimes.indiatimes



RCEP trade ministers urge members to put all efforts to conclude talks

Oct 15, 2018

Trade ministers of 16-member RCEP bloc, including India and China, have urged all participating countries to continue to exert all efforts for early conclusion of the negotiations, the commerce ministry said on Sunday.
 
The progress of the talks for the mega trade deal RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) was discussed during the two day meet of ministers in Singapore, concluded Saturday.
 
"While appreciating some narrowing of gaps, the Ministers urged all RECP Participating Countries to continue to exert all efforts towards meeting the targets set in the package of year end deliverables," the ministry said in a statement.
 
Minister of State for Commerce and Industry C R Chaudhary attended the 6th RCEP Inter-sessional Ministerial Meeting (IMM) in Singapore on 12-13 October.
 
Chaudhary also held bilateral meeting with Trade Minister of Singapore. The island nation sought India's help in early conclusion of RCEP negotiations, it said.
 
Next round of meeting at chief negotiators level is scheduled to be held in Auckland later this month.
 
Earlier a joint statement issued after the meeting of trade ministers in August has stated that the countries adopted a package of year-end deliverables developed by the trade negotiating committee.
    
Source: Business Standard



Maharashtra mills gear up to export 15 lakh tonnes of sugar.

Oct 15, 2018

With Brazil, Europe and Thailand lowering their production estimates, coupled with depreciation of the rupee, Maharashtra's sugarNSE 14.13 % industry has ramped up efforts to export 15 lakh tonnes of sugar till March. 
 
The central government has also decided to take weekly review of sugar exports as the country plans to export total of 9 million tonnes of sugar in next two years. The government has given mill wise quota to export 50 lakh tonnes of sugar in 2018-19 and extended incentives of Rs 138/tonne of sugarcane. The government will also give transport subsidy for sugar export. Thus the total subsidy available for export of sugar will upto Rs 11/kg of sugar. 
 
A meeting of all the sugar Miller's from Maharashtra, the merchant traders and central government officials was held in Mumbai on Saturday. In the marathon meeting that lasted three hours, Sharad Pawar, de facto leader of srare's sugar industry appealed the millers to grab the golden opportunity with both the hands. 
 
 
We can expect large number of export contracts being signed now, said Prakash Naiknavare, managing director, National Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories. 
 
It was decided that a government delegation will visit Thailand Indonesia Malaysia Brazil and China to tap markets traditionally served by Brazil and Thailand. 
    
Source: Economictimes.indiatimes



Govt planning to replicate sugar output success in pulses and oilseeds

Oct 15, 2018

The government is planning to replicate success of the sugar story in pulses and edible oils to achieve self reliance in these two sensitive agricultural commodities in which India remains heavily dependent on imports.
 
Speaking with Business Standard, Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said on his recent visit to Mumbai that a substantial quantity of sugar was imported until recently to meet the country’s consumption. But, commercialisation of high yielding sugarcane, especially in Uttar Pradesh, has brought India into a massive surplus.
 
The government is working aggressively to reduce India’s agriculture imports. We have identified pulses and oilseeds to increase local production with high yielding seed varieties. For which, we are focusing on the inter-cropping of oilseeds with other oilseeds in the agricultural land in the north eastern states. We have started educating farmers about the benefit of high yielding seeds and inter-cropping wherever possible. We are sure of getting a positive result in the next couple of years, said Paswan.
 
Data compiled by the Union Ministry of Agriculture showed India’s total cane and sugar output at 306 million tonnes for 2016-17. During the same year, however, industry sources estimate the total sugar production of 23.26 million tonnes.
 
Introduction of high yielding cane seeds, however, resulted in India’s cane output at 377 million tonnes for 2017-18. The apex industry body, Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA), however, estimates India’s sugar output at 32.25 million tonnes for the same year. During the current year again, expansion in sowing area is set to yield 384 million tonnes of cane and 35-35.5 million tonnes of sugar output during 2018-19 crushing season (October – September).
    
Source: Business Standard



India has a Rs 4,500-crore border business plan in the making

Oct 15, 2018

Life has become a little easier for Mohammad Sawan. Nowadays, the Bangladeshi truck driver has to wait only for a few hours to get the documents processed at the Petrapole border check post. Earlier, he would have to wait for a couple of days before he can hand over the goods to an Indian agent for its onward journey to Kolkata, 80 km away. 
 
The bottlenecks at the border check post were eased in 2016 when Petrapole was upgraded to an integrated check post (ICP), from a land customs station (LCS), as part of the government’s plan to improve trade with neighbours. Chances are that the Marks & Spencer shirt you recently purchased from an authorised store in eastern India was stitched by a Bangladeshi tailor and was transported by road, by drivers such as Sawan, into India through the Petrapole-Benapole (Bangladesh) border. 
 
    
Source: Economictimes.indiatimes



El Salvador woos Indian companies to invest; offers incentives

Oct 15, 2018

Citing ease of doing business, latin American nation El Salvador has asked Indian companies to invest there and take advantage of different tax benefits and incentives offered. We are looking to collaborate in solar energy. India is becoming one of the largest countries with lot of expertise in solar energy. We are trying to change our energy need by getting more renewable energy, mostly solar energy, Ariel Andrade Galindo, Ambassador of El Salvador to India, told in an interview Saturday. 
 
He said Indian businessmen don't yet know market opportunities in his country and the possibilities available there. 
 
That is something we should work. It is not only pharma, BPO and automobiles, there are lots of possibilities in each and every sector, the Ambassador said. 
 
 
Galindo said El Salvador offers incentives and investment opportunities to woo entrepreneurs. 
 
We have identified many sectors for this. We are giving various incentives including some tax benefits, he said, and suggested that Indian companies take benefits of these opportunities. 
 
 
Citing example, Galindo said El Salvador's international services law is the only legislation in the region that provides full exemption from income tax for an indefinite period of time. 
    
Source: Economictimes.indiatimes



India urges IMF to implement quota reforms

Oct 15, 2018

Stressing on the need to strengthen institutions like IMF to tackle financial crisis, Economic Affairs Secretary S C Garg called for quota reforms so that share of emerging nations increases in line with their growing economic position. He also pointed out that protectionism, trade tensions and tightening of financial conditions are challenges for the world. 
 
In the context of these challenges, he said the time for building buffer and policy action by the emerging market economies is not there. 
 
 
A suitable approach could be the association of the IMF (International Monetary Fund), being at the centre of the GFSN (global financial safety net), at an earlier stage rather than when crisis has already occurred. Hence, the strengthening of this Multilateral Institution is crucial, he said. 
 
Speaking at 15th General Review of Quotas in Bali, Indonesia Saturday Garg said this agenda of IMF is urgent as there is a deadline fixed for its conclusion next year. 
 
Both, enhancement in the Quantum of Quota Resources and Realignment of Voting Shares should take place so that Quota Shares of EMDCs (Emerging Market & Developing Countries) increase in line with its growing relative economic position in the world, he said. 
 
Garg also participated in the 98th meeting of the Development Committee Plenary. 
 
    
Source: Economictimes.indiatimes



More nutrition in wheat, rice: Is Modi govt up to bio-fortification to move from food to nutritional security?

Oct 15, 2018

October 16 is celebrated as ‘World Food Day’ to mark the creation of United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in 1945. It envisions zero world hunger by 2030. Perhaps the occasion is incomplete without remembering Nobel Peace laureate Norman E Borlaug, whose ‘miracle seeds’ of wheat saved over a billion lives from starvation, and who also instituted the ‘World Food Prize’ in 1986, somewhat akin to a Nobel Prize in agriculture. Peeping into the past is important to realise the role of science and technology that paved the way for the ‘Green Revolution’, ensuring food security. Similar innovations in bio-technologies today hold promise to give nutritional security.
 
Rewind history and recollect that the Bengal Famine (1943) is said to have claimed 1.5 million to 3 million lives due to sheer starvation. India got independence in 1947 with a challenge to feed 330 million people. Situation became grim when India was hit by back to back droughts during the mid-1960s. Grain production plummeted from 89.4 million metric tonnes (MMT) in 1964-65 to 72.4 MMT in 1965-66. India became heavily dependent on PL 480 food aid from US and underwent a ‘ship-to-mouth’ crisis. No wonder, then, that self-sufficiency in food grains became top priority. India imported 18,000 tonnes of semi-dwarf high yielding (HY) wheat—Lerma Rojo and Sonora 64, developed by Borlaug and his team at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), Mexico, that ushered in the Green Revolution in India. Adaptation of imported germplasm to innovate indigenous varieties—like Kalyan, by DS Athwal and Sona by MS Swaminathan—aided the spread of this revolution. Around the same time, HY miracle rice—IR8—developed by Peter Jennings and Henry M Beachell of International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) was imported.
    
Source: Financial Express



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