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Dairy exports achieve second best show on global deficit
Apr 25, 2019
After four years of slowing down, India’s dairy exports have revived to achieve the second best show ever in financial year 2018-19 due to supply deficit-led global price increase in skimmed milk powder (SMP) and other milk derivatives including ghee and butter.
Data compiled by the Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda) showed India’s total exports of dairy products were worth $404 million between April 2018 and February 2019, up 56 per cent from $260 million in the comparable period last year. Experts believe dairy exports continued with an estimated worth $100 million in March and total FY19 export is estimated to have surpassed $500 million, the second highest after the record of $728 million set during the FY 2013-14.
Sudden revival in dairy exports has brought a major relief for Indian exporters who were waiting for several years for global markets to turn into deficit and prices to revive. During the last four years, Indian market was also facing huge supply surplus of milk and its derivatives including SMP, ghee and butter.
Exports of SMP, butter and other derivatives continued in March as well. Even we have exported around 30,000 tonnes of SMP in March. Other dairy companies have also exporter a large quantity of SMP to the international markets which we believe will continue in coming months as well. SMP prices have increased significantly in both domestic and international markets during the last two months, said R S Sodhi, managing director, Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation which sells Amul brand liquid milk and its derivatives.
India seeks right balance of ties with US, Iran
Apr 25, 2019
India is looking to balance its ties between the US and Iran even as New Delhi plans to source oil from alternate sources following expiry of waiver for Iranian oil imports from early May. New Delhi plans to assert its strategic autonomy by continuing to pursue its partnership with Tehran in long-term strategic interests, according sources.
India’s sole gateway to Iran is through Afghanistan and provides a shorter route to Central Asia and Eastern Russia via the Chabahar Port. Central Asian majors Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan want to connect with India to push their respective economic partnerships with Delhi and connections tivity via Iran remains the most viable option, said a source.
Iran is also a key element in India’s Indo-Pacific construct to connect Eurasia with Indian Ocean and Pacific as Delhi hopes to provide an alternative to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, another source said.
International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC), currently under negotiations, will connect Mumbai with St Petersburg in a shorter time period via Iran as India seeks to broadbase its economic ties with Russia. Iran is also critical to counter-balance Pakistan and securing Afghan interests in the long term, another source pointed out.
Indo-Iran ties could be an irritant for Indo-US relationship, reckon experts. Iran and Venezuela sanctions have come at a time when other irritants in the US-India relationship have come to the fore. There are trade frictions, with the administration’s announcement that it intends to withdraw India’s benefits under the Generalized System of Preferences because of continuing concerns about Indian trade and investment policies. The 60-day deadline for a final decision on this step falls in early May, wrote Tanvi Madan of Brookings Institute in her latest paper.
Saudi's economic expansion offers new opportunities for India: Ambassador (IANS Interview)
Apr 25, 2019
With Saudi Arabia looking to diversify its economy, India's new ambassador to the kingdom, Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, believes this offers new opportunities for both the Indian industry and the workforce.
Contrary to apprehensions in some quarters that job opportunities for Indians will shrink with 'Saudisation' and taxation, he expects that the economic expansion in the Kingdom would create new job opportunities for Indians.
The opportunities for Indian companies to participate in the Saudi expansion will also grow, Saeed told IANS in an interview.
Saudi Arabia has unveiled its Vision 2030 plan to reduce dependence on oil and diversify its economy by focusing on sectors like health, education, infrastructure, recreation and tourism.
Sayeed, who will be taking charge on April 28, feels that the recent Saudi moves like taxation and increase in fees for different services did not impact much on the Indian Diaspora as its numbers at 2.7 million still remain quite strong.
The diplomat, who earlier served as High Commissioner to Seychelles, Ambassador to Yemen and Consul General in Chicago and Jeddah, said while reserving some categories of jobs for locals is the prerogative of Saudis, Indians continue to go to the Kingdom for jobs.
Hailing from Hyderabad, Sayeed also served as Consul (Haj) in Jeddah and Second/First Secretary in Riyadh besides holding various diplomatic assignments in Egypt, Qatar and Denmark.
Finance Ministry brings in changes in e-way bill system to check GST evasion
Apr 25, 2019
The Finance Ministry has introduced changes in the e-way bill system, including auto calculation of distance based on PIN codes for generation of e-way bill and blocking generation of multiple bills on one invoice, as it seeks to crack down on GST evaders.
Touted as an anti-evasion tool, the electronic way or e-way bill was rolled out on April 1, 2018, for moving goods worth over Rs 50,000 from one state to another. The same for intra or within the state movement was rolled out in a phased manner from April 15.
With instances of malpractices in e-way bill generation getting detected, the revenue department decided to rework the system for generation of e-way bill by transporters and business.
The new enhanced system would come with auto-calculation of distance between the source and destination, based on the PIN codes. The user would be allowed to enter the actual distance as per the movement of goods, which will be limited to 10 per cent more than the auto calculated distance displayed,according to the e-way bill portal.
For example, if the system has displayed the distance between Place A and B, based on the PIN codes, as 655 kms, then the user is allowed to enter the actual distance covered up to 720 kms (655 kms + 65 kms).
Besides, the government has decided not to permit generation of multiple e-way bills based on one invoice. This means, if the e-way bill is generated once with a particular invoice number, then none of the parties -- consignor, consignee or transporter -- can generate another e-way bill with the same invoice number.
The enhanced feature would permit extension of validity of the e-way bill when the goods are in transit/movement.
The e-way bill portal, which has been developed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC), the country's premier informatics services organisation, would also generate a report for users on the list of e-way bills about to expire.
This would help the user to analyse the data and ensure that the goods reach the destination within the valid time period.
Transporters of goods worth over Rs 50,000 would be required to present e-way bill during transit to a GST inspector, if asked. Failure to produce an e-way bill can attract a penalty of Rs 10,000 or amount of tax sought to be evaded, whichever is higher.
Government procures 55.17 lakh tonne of wheat in 2019
Apr 25, 2019
The Centre has purchased 55.17 lakh tonnes of wheat from farmers in the ongoing 2019-20 marketing year so far, a senior Food Ministry official said Wednesday.
Haryana and Madhya Pradesh have contributed the most to wheat procurement so far, the official said.
The Centre has set the wheat procurement target at 357 lakh tonnes for the 2019-20 marketing year (April-March) on hopes of a record 1,000 lakh tonne production this year.
State-run Food Corporation of India (FCI) along with state government agencies buy wheat at the minimum support price to meet the demand for welfare schemes. The government has fixed the wheat MSP at Rs 1,840 per quintal, up from Rs 1,735 a year earlier.
The wheat procurement has just begun. So far, 55.17 lakh tonnes of wheat grain has been purchased, the official said.
Around 28.54 lakh tonnes of wheat has been purchased in Haryana and 18.89 lakh tonnes in Madhya Pradesh so far in the current marketing year.
About 2.90 lakh tonnes of wheat has been procured in Punjab, 2.78 lakh tonnes from Uttar Pradesh and 1.97 lakh tonnes of the grain from Rajasthan in the said period.
The wheat procurement has started in Gujarat and is likely to pick up pace in the coming weeks, the official added.
India's Chabahar port project in Iran won't be impacted by US sanctions: Trump administration
Apr 25, 2019
The strategic Chabahar port project, being developed by India in Iran, is a separate exception and will not be impacted by US President Donald Trump's decision not to renew exemptions that let eight countries including India to buy Iranian oil without facing tough American sanctions, a State Department official said.
The Chabahar port, considered a gateway to golden opportunities for trade by India, Iran and Afghanistan with central Asian countries, is located on the Indian Ocean in the Sistan and Baluchistan province of Iran.
The port, which is easily accessible from India's western coast, is increasingly seen as a counter to Pakistan's Gwadar Port which is being developed with the Chinese investment.
A State Department spokesperson told PTI that the operation of Chabahar Port is a separate exception.
The exception for reconstruction assistance and economic development for Afghanistan, which includes the development and operation of Chabahar Port, is a separate exception, and is not affected by yesterday's announcement, the official said.
VOC Port Trust plans third container terminal
Apr 25, 2019
VO Chidambaranar (VOC) Port in Thoothukudi plans to have a third container terminal with current handling capacity set to reach its maximum by end of this fiscal at the two private terminals.
However, the Port Trust is in a fix on identifying the right concession model to be offered to the new operator considering that two different models — royalty and revenue share — are already in vogue at the Port.
PSA SICAL Container Terminal, which runs a container terminal since 1992, operates on a royalty-based model while the Dakshin Bharat Gateway Container Terminal (DBGT), operating since 2014, is on a revenue-sharing model. Together, the two terminals are expected to reach maximum capacity of 1.2 million TEUs (twenty foot equivalent units) by the end of this financial year, thus warranting a third terminal.
The Port Trust plans to convert berth no. 9 as a container terminal with a handling capacity of 0.6 million TEUs. The tenth birth has also been identified for possible future container handling with a capacity of 0.88 million TEUs.
The container handling through the VOC port witnessed a CAGR of 8 per cent in last five years to reach volume 0.7 million TEUs on March 31, 2019, and is to handle over 1 million TEUs by the end of next financial year.
The Hindu Businessline
Centre to start publicity campaign on public distribution system sops
Apr 25, 2019
Aware that there is little or no idea among the masses that it is the Centre, and not the state governments, that provides heavily-subsidised grains under the Nation Food Security Act (NFSA), the Union government will soon commence a campaign to change the perception among beneficiaries who it thinks are often misled to believe that the public distribution system (PDS) is largely financed by state governments.
An inter-ministerial panel has recently decided that publicity measures would be undertaken to educate people about the central government’s share in subsidies disbursed through PDS and other agencies. The information will likely to be on the electronic slip printed by the e-point of sale machines (ePoS) or by mobile messaging after a beneficiary avails rice/wheat at the PDS outlets through biometric authentication. In the case of fertiliser, the subsidy amount by the Centre would be printed on the sealed bags itself, an official said.
Addressing an election rally in Odisha on April 16, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had criticised the Naveen Patnaik government for misleading people about the Rs 1 rice scheme administered by the state government. “The government of Chowkidar in Delhi procures rice at Rs 29-30 per kg and dispatches it to Odisha. The Odisha government contributes only Rs 2 per kg to it. However, they claim that they provide rice at a subsidised rate to the people of Odisha. It’s an utter lie,Modi said. The state government was not disclosing that the bulk of the subsidy on rice was borne by the Centre, he added.
VCCI to ink deals with S. Korea
Apr 25, 2019
After a fruitful interaction to explore overseas investments in Visakhapatnam during their recent visit to South Korea, a team from Vizagapatam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) decided to sign MoUs with the Indian Chamber of Commerce in Korea, Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Global CEO Club.
“The agreements will be inked shortly with the CEOs, investors and officials we met during our visit to Seoul from April 8 to 11. We are very happy that they have evinced keen interest in investing/exploring partnerships in seafood, food processing industry and solar power panel manufacturing sector, VCCI president D.V. Raju told The Hindu on Monday.
The Ambassador of India in Seoul extended support in facilitating meetings with industrialists and CEOs of various companies.
We met the Chairman of Global CEO Club of South Korea wherein 12 CEOs participated. We tried to find out firsthand information about the existing business opportunities in Korea and briefed them on opportunities available in Andhra Pradesh in general and Visakhapatnam in particular, he said.
Interactions were also held with the members of Korean Chamber of Commerce and Indian Chamber of Commerce in Korea. The team also took part in B2B meetings.
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