The Government of India, keeping in view the higher sugar production and the large carryover of stocks, has decided to increase the quantity of raw sugar to be exported to China in order to reduce its trade deficit.

A statement issued by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, said, “The export of raw sugar from India to China will begin early next year. A contract to export 50,000 tonne of raw sugar has been entered into by the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) and COFCO, a Government of China-run public sector company.”

India’s plans to export two million tonnes of raw sugar to China beginning next year have materialised now, due to the constant initiative taken by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and several rounds of meetings held by officials of both countries.

Raw sugar is the second product, after non-basmati rice that China, will import from India.

The ministry added, “It is a move to reduce the $60-billion trade deficit that China has with India. India’s export to China in 2017-18 amounted to $33 billion, while imports from China stood at $76.2 billion.”

India is the largest producer of sugar in the world, with a production of 32 million metric tonne (MMT) in 2018. India produces sugar of all three grades- raw, refined and white.

Reacting to this decision in a statement, Abinash Verma, director general, ISMA, said, “Sure, it is a welcome move to increase the export. To dissolve the surplus stock, the Indian government has asked sugar mills to mandatorily export five million tonne in 2018-19. Hence, ISMA will surely try to achieve it.”

Indian sugar is also of a high quality, and is dextran-free because of the minimum time taken from cut to crush. India is in a position to become a regular and dependable exporter of high-quality sugar in significant volumes to China.

Recently, Ram Vilas Paswan, minister of civil supplies, food and public distribution minister, Government of India stated that the government was eyeing the export of 50 lakh tonne of sugar this year. It was 20 lakh tonne during the last fiscal.

He added, “To boost liquidity in the sugar sector and to ensure remuneration to the farmers, this year we have increased our target for the sugar export to 50 lakh tonne.” The minister stated that for buffer stocks, the target for this year had been set at 30 lakh tonne.

Paswan stated that the decision was taken by the government as sugar prices crashed due to higher production this year. Moreover, the government has decided to increase the custom duty on the import of sugar from 50 to 100 per cent, while it has withdrawn the custom duty on the export of sugar.