India faces heat at WTO over rice export curbs – Blue Barrows

India’s decision to ban exports of broken rice and impose export duties of up to 20% on other rice varieties has come under fire at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

At a meeting on Thursday, the United States, the European Union and Senegal posed questions about the decision’s adverse effect on global markets. They said it would cause market volatility and undermine collective efforts in fighting the world food crisis.

Last week, New Delhi imposed a 20% duty on export of all varieties of rice, except basmati and parboiled rice, along with a complete ban on broken rice exports.

India has already imposed restrictions on wheat and wheat flour exports. “The US said that India’s export policy, with all the constant changes, poses uncertainties and the rice export ban will have consequences on the global market,” a Geneva-based official said.

Senegal, a major importer of India’s broken rice and other rice products, urged India to keep trade open in this difficult time to ensure food sufficiency, the official added.

On its part, India clarified that the export restriction is only on broken rice yield used in poultry feed following a rise in their exports in recent months which has put pressure on its domestic market.

On the wheat export measures, New Delhi said they were necessitated by food security needs, and that it would consider the requests of other governments for exemptions. “The measures are temporary in nature and under continuous monitoring,” the official said.

India said that the members’ position on India’s food export was self-contradictory as they criticise it for exporting too much and then again for stopping exports.

At the meeting, the US, Australia, Canada, Brazil, New Zealand, Thailand, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Japan requested for consultations with India regarding the usage of the peace clause to protect its food programmes against action from trade disputes.

India has, for a third time, invoked the peace clause for exceeding the 10% ceiling on support it offers rice farmers.