Bhutan’s requests for exemption as India restricts export of wheat and sugar

Beginning 1 June, India will restrict sugar exports which is expected to last until 31 October 2022.

As per the notification from Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, India, the Government of India (GOI), on 24 May, imposed restrictions on sugar exports from 1 June, a move aimed at increasing availability of the commodity in the domestic market and curbing price rise.

According to the Economic Affairs Minister Loknath Sharma, all countries are experiencing severe inflationary pressures as a result of the impact of the war between Ukraine and Russia, as well as the pandemic.

Lyonpo Loknath Sharma said that due to the shortage of food, fertilizers, and feeds, as well as fuel and edible oil, every country is taking specific precautions to avoid shortages and difficulties.

“Inflation is on the rise, not only in India, but also Indonesia, and many other countries have restricted the export of essential commodities, such as edible oils. Similarly, some 20 countries have banned the export of 40 or more food commodities, according to what I have learnt,” Lyonpo said.

Lyonpo said that every country will make this decision, and India is concerned since it has depleted much of its supplies. As a result, they are attempting to limit or ban basic commodities, such as sugar, as they also use sugar for industrial purposes.

On 14 May 2022, India also restricted wheat exports. This is a combination of global shortages due to the Ukraine conflict as Ukraine and Russia are major wheat growers and also due to very hot weather which has impacted wheat production.

“They have already restricted wheat, and we don’t know what else will come. We are concerned since certain items, such as sugar, edible oils and fuel, are not available in the country,” Lyonpo remarked.

Lyonpo added that things will be fine for products that our farmers can grow, and for which people can easily adjust, but items like sugar, oil and fuel, for which the country is import dependent, and which are necessary, is worrisome, but the government is confident that India will treat the country favorably.

“In terms of wheat, we have already stated our request of 5,000 metric tons annually, which I am optimistic they would consider. And our demand for sugar is also less. And we must respect this type of measure taken. We are hopeful that we will be able to obtain assistance from India since it is our closest neighbor, and our requirements are quite modest,” Lyonpo added.

The Foreign Minister Dr Tandi Dorji said that Bhutan is requesting for exemption for not only these two products but also any other export bans in the future.

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