India planning to lower base price for basmati exports

February 5th, 2009 - 3:10 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 5 (IANS) The government is looking at another cut in the minimum export price (MEP) for basmati rice to help domestic players compete with their counterparts from Pakistan, Commerce Secretary G.K. Pillai said Thursday.”We have asked the state governments to forward their views on lowering of basmati rice price for exports,” Pillai said on the sidelines of the International Plastic Conference here.

“The final decision has to be taken by the empowered group of ministers (EGOM),” the commerce secretary said, indicating that the high-powered panel headed by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee will also decide the quantum of the price cut.

The government last month had reduced the MEP by Rs.5,000 per tonne to Rs.55,000. But exporters said the cut was not enough to compete with exports from Pakistan specially since they had also faced payment defaults from some markets.

India and Pakistan are the only two countries that have the claim on geographical indication for basmati, a long grain rice famous for its unique aroma.

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