The central government has clarified that the export restrictions on wheat will not apply to wheat consignments that have been handed over to Customs for examination and have been registered into their systems on or before May 13. The government also allowed a wheat shipment headed for Egypt, which was already under loading at the Kandla port.

The government decision to relax the order issued by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), Department of Commerce, to permit wheat exports that are being processed at the customs level will help movement of some stocks that had already arrived at the ports. According to reports, some 1.8 million tonnes (MT) of wheat grain is stuck at various ports after the government's decision to restrict export of wheat.

Meanwhile, the commerce ministry stated that permission for export of wheat consignment to Egypt was given because of a request made by the Egyptian government. Mera International India Pvt. Ltd., the company engaged for export of the wheat to Egypt, had also given a representation for completion of loading of 61,500 MT of wheat of which 44,340 MT of wheat had already been loaded and only 17,160 MT was left to be loaded. The government decided to permit the full consignment of 61,500 MT and allowed it to sail from Kandla to Egypt, the ministry said.

On May 13, the government announced its decision to restrict wheat exports to manage the overall food security situation in India and to support the needs of neighbouring and vulnerable countries that are adversely affected by the sudden changes in the global market for wheat and are unable to access adequate wheat supplies.

The DGFT order had clarified that this restriction would not apply in cases where prior commitments have been made by private trade through Letter of Credit (LoC) as well as in situations where permission is granted by the Government of India to other countries to meet their food security needs and on the requests of their governments. Commerce ministry officials said that the details of the LoCs and the quantity of the wheat that will be permitted to be exported because of prior commitments will be clear in the next 15 days.

The government had stated that the restriction was put in place to serve three main purposes: ensure India's food security and check inflation, to help other countries facing food deficit, and to maintain India's reliability as a supplier.

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