The Centre has relaxed the export norm of sugar for exporters/mills/refineries by providing them with the option to ship refined sugar even if they have been given permits for shipping the raw variety. The decision may help some refineries that have already processed the raw to refined variety amid confusion over the relaxation of export permits beyond the 100 lakh tonnes (lt) cap.
In a notification issued on August 17, the Food Ministry said, “It is clarified that the customs authorities may allow exports of raw sugar or refined sugar manufactured from such raw sugar by the refinery/sugar mill/exporter.
“Such refinery/sugar mills which have procured raw sugar from the sugar mill within the quantity mentioned against the name of the raw sugar manufacturer (in the August 5 notification of export release order) are allowed to export refined sugar on producing relevant contract and invoice between the raw and refined sugar manufacturers.”
August 5 order
The August 5 order of the Ministry had granted permission to 78 sugar mills to export 430,563 tonnes of raw sugar either directly or through exporters by October 31. It also ordered customs authorities to only allow the quantity of raw sugar mentioned against each factory in the release order. It was justified at that time that many mills which produced raw sugar for the purpose of export could not do so due to restrictions. The Ministry had also said if the raw sugar does not get exported in next 3-4 months, it could deteriorate.
However, the latest order has said raw sugar is either directly exported or after value addition of such raw sugar by refinery, it is exported in the form of refined sugar. “It is not clear as to what happened in 12 days for the Ministry to re-think the August 5 order which very clearly directed Customs to allow only the raw variety. The industry itself had argued for allowing raw sugar as those were meant for export,” said an industry official.
Even as an inter-ministerial panel approved the export of 12 lt over and above 100 lt cap, which has already been shipped out of the country during the current season (October-September), the Ministry has issued permits for shipments of 8.25 lt, so far. Sugar export was put under the restricted category from June 1 and is valid until October 31. Though the industry had begun demanding export permits above 100 lt cap, the decision allowing additional 12 lt quota came in the last week of July.