The government might lift the import duty on sugar from the current 50 per cent to check any cheaper shipments from Pakistan. However, no final decision has been taken yet, industry sources and officials said.
Pakistan is planning to give a subsidy on sugar exports that could make it cheaper for Indian markets, necessitating an increase in imports.
The Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) in a statement released on Monday said that the Centre has assured them that it would consider hiking import duty on sugar.
“If Pakistan imports do become viable, or if any contracts start taking place for importing sugar into India from Pakistan, especially if the state of Sindh notifies any subsidy, the Government of India is willing to increase the import duty adequately to check any such imports,” ISMA said in a statement.
Along with this, other issues related to the sector were discussed last week in a meeting with the food ministry officials. Officials from the ISMA and the National Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories (NFCSF) were also in the meeting.
On sugar exports 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 4 million tonnes (mt) at the end of the ongoing (October-September) 2017-18 season .
“Therefore the 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 25.1 mt in 2017-18 against 20.3 mt in the previous year.