India asks China to release raw sugar export quota before Jan

Amiti Sen New Delhi | Updated on November 30, 2018 Published on November 30, 2018

Says domestic mills find it difficult to switch to raw sugar once they start making white sugar

India has asked China to consider releasing its raw sugar export quota for the new year earlier than January. This is because the domestic sugar mills would, by then, start making white sugar and switching over to raw sugar will be difficult, a government official said.

“The Chinese government releases its sugar quota for the January-June period sometime in the middle of January. Our sugar exporters say that since the sugar crushing process starts a month or so earlier, it would help them in planning better if the quotas are released early December,” the official told BusinessLine.

Officials meet

A team of Chinese officials, headed by Vice-Minister Hu Wei, met senior officials from the Commerce & Industry Ministry and Agriculture Ministry earlier this week to discuss ways to increase imports from India.

Raw sugar is the second product that China agreed to import from India this year after starting shipments of non-basmati rice.

A contract for exporting 15,000 tonnes of raw sugar has been entered to by the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) and China’s COFCO.

While India’s sugar industry is hopeful of gradually exporting 2 million tonnes of sugar to China annually, it believes that things would definitely be smoother if the quota is released earlier. “The issue is that China imports only raw sugar. Once sugar mills start milling white sugar then a lot of them may not make raw sugar because it involves some changes in the process, including stopping the factory for one day and then sealing it. If order comes earlier, we can request the sugar mills to make the raw sugar first before moving on to white sugar,” explained Abinash Verma, Director General, ISMA.

Since the January-June quota is released mid-January, the Indian industry ends up missing half the crushing season, he added. “

Published on November 30, 2018

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