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Govt assures sugar cos to hike duty on cheap Pak imports: ISMA

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The has assured that it would consider hiking import duty on from the current 50 per cent to check any cheaper shipments from neighbouring Pakistan, the Mills Association said today.

In view of steep fall in global prices, has not been able to export its surplus and is mulling a subsidy to make outward shipments viable.

"If do become viable, or if any contracts start taking place for importing sugar into from Pakistan, especially if the state of notifies any subsidy, the of is willing to increase the import duty adequately to check any such imports," ISMA said in a statement.

This along with other issues related to the sector were discussed last week in a meeting with the officials. Officials from the ISMA and the of Cooperative Sugar Factories (NFCSF) were also in the meeting.

On sugar from India, the ISMA said it was discussed that there would be "no scope for any exports" because the closing stock would be tight at 40 lakh tonnes at the end of the ongoing 2017-18 season (October-September).

"Therefore, reduction in the export duty may not make much sense now," it said.

The ISMA has pegged sugar output of India, the world's second largest producer, at 251 lakh tonnes in 2017-18 against 203 lakh tonnes in the previous year.

"It was agreed that there was unrealistic talk about 2018-19 sugar production, whereas not even about 10-15 per cent of the sugarcane for harvesting then has been planted," the sugar association said.

Though the sugarcane sowing may improve with better rainfall in western and southern states, it was accepted that it is totally "premature" to even guess a figure about next seasons production, it said.

"In fact, the sugar production can get adversely affected if the rainfall from June to September 2018, is not good. Therefore, July 2018 will be a better time to have any preliminary idea about 2018-19 production, and not earlier," it added.

Nevertheless, the officials assured that if there is a surplus in next 2018-19 season, appropriate timely action would be taken to ensure surplus sugar is exported even to SAARC nations, the ISMA said.

It was felt that there was enough time for the to hold discussions and negotiations, since the surplus, if any, would come up only after November 2018, and there is no concern about the surplus till then, it added.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, January 08 2018. 14:05 IST