The Centre on Monday announced that the export of maida and suji will be allowed only after an inter-ministerial panel approves it, effectively restricting their shipments a month after a similar notification for atta (wheat flour) was issued.

Wheat product exports were 95,094 tonnes in April, valued at ₹314 crore, and 1.02 lakh tonnes in May, worth ₹287 crore. There is no separate category for atta, maida and suji as all are categorised as wheat or meslin flour under HS code 1101. According to trade sources, atta export in retail packs is not more than 75,000 tonnes per year as it is mostly consumed by Indians abroad.

The export of all items — atta, maida, semolina (rava/sirgi), wholemeal atta and resultant atta — is subject to the recommendation of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) constituted for allowing the export of wheat, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said in a notification.

“Export of all the shipments approved by IMC shall be allowed subject to the issuance of Quality Certificate by Export Inspection Council (EIC) or its EIAs at Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata,” DGFT said.

No transitional arrangement

Stating that the notification will come into effect from August 14, DGFT said a transitional arrangement shall not be applicable under this notification. It further clarified that consignments of maida and semolina will be allowed to be exported till August 14 if “loading on the ship has commenced before this notification or handed over to the Customs before the notification and is registered in their system.

Necessary modalities with regard to quality of these restricted items will be notified separately, officials said.

“It was inevitable after the government was pointed out the error in restricting atta in place of maida,” said a trader. The jump in export of maida and other products in June and July (over 2 lakh tonnes) also one of the factors for the decision, sources said.

As atta permit is yet to be issued, it is difficult to say if the government will ever allow shipments of maida and semolina, traders said.

Wheat exports were banned in May as an unseasonal heat wave had affected the crop leading to a spike in domestic prices. While international prices of wheat have eased in recent times, no such impact has been seen in India.