India Relaxes Wheat Export Rules as G7 Questions Its Move Amid Global Food Shortages
India banned wheat exports on 13 May, saying it was necessary to curb the rising inflation in the domestic market, given the massive fall in government procurement this year. Western countries have criticised India's move, warning that the decision would further worsen the global food security situation.
India will honour all wheat consignments already registered with customs, the Ministry of Commerce said on Tuesday.
"It has been decided that wherever wheat consignments have been handed over to Customs for examination and have been registered into their systems on or prior to 13 May, such consignments would be allowed to be exported", India's Commerce Ministry said.
The decision will allow Egypt to receive a consignment of 61,500 metric tonnes
that was stuck at Kandla Airport following the sudden ban announced by the Indian government on 13 May.
The Egyptian government asked New Delhi to permit the wheat cargo to be loaded at Kandla's port.
The ministry has not provided any estimate about the wheat consignments that can leave for their designated buyers following relaxations.
Private traders received at least one million tonnes of wheat orders from countries such as South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, and Indonesia for delivery by August.
The US urged India to reconsider its wheat export ban order, given the "sudden spike in the global prices".
The G7 grouping
also criticised New Delhi, calling on India to "assume its responsibility as a G20 member".
India insisted that its ban serves three primary purposes: to ensure India's food security and check inflation, help other countries facing food deficits, and maintain India's reliability as a supplier.
The Indian Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution said on 15 May that wheat procurement stood at 18 million metric tonnes, compared to 36.7 million metric tonnes in the corresponding period last year.
Western countries have accused Russia of disrupting wheat supply from the Black Sea, a claim countered by Moscow, which stressed that sanctions over its special military operation in Ukraine are worsening the world's food crisis.
"It should be noted that it was the unilateral actions of Western countries, primarily from the Group of Seven, that exacerbated the problem of breaking the logistics and financial chains of food supplies to world markets", the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday.
Russia and Ukraine were supplying around 30 percent of the world's wheat need before the special military operation was launched by Moscow in February.
The US Department of Agriculture estimated a global wheat output at 774.8 million metric tonnes, a reduction of five million metric tonnes in the marketing year 2022-23 (July-June).
However, Russia could produce 80 million metric tonnes of wheat, seven percent more than last year, due to favourable humidity.
By contrast, Ukraine's wheat production will witness a sharp fall of around 35 percent, producing 21.5 million metric tonnes, down from 33.01 million metric tonnes last year.