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Iron ore exports issue still not resolved

NEWS DIGEST

BS Reporter  |  Mumbai 

A high-powered Committee of Secretaries (CoS) has failed to arrive at a consensus on the controversial issue of restricting iron ore exports from the country and has put the ball back in the government's court.
In a recent CoS meeting, "it was decided that since it is not possible to reach a consensus on restricting ore exports, the same may be decided by the government appropriately," official sources said.
According to sources, there were sharp differences among the secretaries of steel, commerce, mines and the Planning Commission.
"There should be a ceiling on exports of iron ore at current levels... There should be a tariff barrier on exports of ore with more than 64 per cent ferrous (Fe) content and the policy should be reviewed after three years," steel secretary RS Pandey said at the meeting.
In sharp contrast, the commerce ministry opposed any ceiling and felt that the current policy of canalisation and licensing of ore with 64 per cent iron content should continue, according to an official note prepared by the CoS.
The CoS was constituted by the cabinet secretariat to form a policy on iron ore exports as a decision on this would decide the fate of many large scale steel projects as well as inflow of foreign direct investment in the sector.
Edible oil makers face raw material shortage
The Indian edible oil industry might face shortage of raw material for processing in the latter part of oil year ending October due to poor ending stocks of mustard and low kharif oilseed output, Association of India said today.
As a result of the low kharif oilseed production and drop in mustard acreage, India might end up importing more than 6 million tonne of vegetable oils in 2006-07 against 5.4 million tonne, the SEA said.
"India's total oilseed production (both kharif and rabi) could be around 24-25 million tonne in 2006-07, down 3-3.5 million tonne from last year because of drop in acreage," the SEA said.
India to begin mango exports to US by Apr
Indian mangoes will find a place in the US markets by April when the new crop is harvested, an official release said on Tuesday.
The two countries are currently engaged in plant quarantine discussions.
Farm Minister Sharad Pawar and secretary in US Department of Agriculture, Mike Johanns, discussed international trade issues and market access between the two countries in a meeting here to review progress on Indo-US Agricultural Knowledge-Initiative.
The two sides were also in favour of removing distortions in international agricultural trade.

First Published: Thu, November 23 2006. 00:00 IST
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