Pawar makes strong case to bring down onions MEP

Agriculture minister Sharad Pawar stated that the prevailing international export price of onions is around $250-$300 while India's minimum export price (MEP) stands at $600 per tonne

New Delhi: Making a strong case for bringing down the $600 per tonne export benchmark price for Indian onions which has made them uncompetitive, agriculture minister Sharad Pawar today said the minimum export price (MEP) is double the prevailing rate in the international markets, reports PTI.

"I have enquired from the states from where onions are exported to different countries and got information that the prevailing international export price is around $250-$300, but our MEP, at $600 per tonne, is almost double," Mr Pawar told reporters here.

"This (higher MEP) will create obstacles in exporting onions from India," Mr Pawar said on the sidelines of an agriculture function.

"I think it is a fit case for giving a second thought to bring down MEP to make Indian onions internationally competitive," he said.

Mr Pawar expressed confidence that the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) meeting this week will give serious thought to the issue (of lowering MEP).

The government had last week decided to lift ban on exports of onions following farmers' protest over crash in domestic prices within two months of touching Rs80 a kg.

The decision to this effect on 17th February 17 last was taken at the meeting of the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on food, headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee.

But, as a precautionary measure against possibility of prices shooting again, the EGoM decided to allow shipments of onions at a MEP of $600 (about Rs28,000) per tonne.

Agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, food minister KV Thomas and commerce minister Anand Sharma could not attend the crucial meeting due to other engagements.

Earlier, Mr Pawar and Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan had approached commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma to open onions export in view of farmers' agitation in the main producing state Maharashtra due to crashing of prices as a result of oversupply.

The government had banned onion exports in the last week of December 2010, to augment domestic supply and contain onion prices, which had touched Rs70-Rs80 per kg.

Prior to the ban, India exported 11.58 lakh tonnes of onions mainly to Gulf countries, Sri Lanka and Malaysia during April-November of this fiscal.

Referring to debate on price rise in Parliament yesterday, Mr Pawar said price rise of some vegetables like onions in the past one month was "temporary".

He made it clear that regulating perishable produce that comes directly from farmers, in line with other commodities like wheat and rice, was not possible.

He reiterated that the Centre does not have much role in perishable items like fruits & vegetables which are primarily the responsibility of state governments.


Standard Chartered Private Equity invests Rs46 crore in Innoventive Industries

The investment includes a primary infusion of Rs30.4 crore into Innoventive Industries as part of the pre-IPO investment

Standard Chartered Private Equity (SCPE) has invested Rs46 crore in Innoventive Industries Ltd, multi-product engineering company based in Pune. The investment includes a primary infusion of Rs30.4 crore into the company as part of the pre-IPO investment. This funding will part finance the expansion of the company's existing precision steel tube manufacturing facilities at Pune. With this investment, SCPE's equity stake in Innoventive Industries will be 10.14%.

Innoventive is a multi-product engineering company focused on precision steel tubes and value added steel products (including boiler steel strips) and oil well couplings (through its subsidiary). The company's product range find application in diverse industrial sectors including transportation, oil & gas, power, farm equipments and general engineering.

Rahul Raisurana, managing director, Standard Chartered Private Equity, said, "We are delighted to invest in Innoventive Industries. The precision tubes, tubular products and related spaces present significant growth prospects. We have found Innoventive Industries to be the right partner because of its focus on product and process, a key differentiator for the company."


Govt imposes anti-dumping duty on Chinese weaving machines

The Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD), a nodal agency under the commerce ministry, has recommended the imposition of the anti-dumping duty on circular weaving machines having six or more shuttles, imported from China and Israel

New Delhi: India has imposed an anti-dumping duty of $1,193 per unit on imports of a particular variety of weaving machine to guard the domestic industry from cheap Chinese and Israeli shipments, reports PTI.

The restrictive duty on import of "circular weaving machines having six or more shuttles for weaving PP/HDPE fabric of width exceeding 30 cm" would be imposed for a period of five years, the Department of Revenue said.

The circular woven fabrics made by such machines are widely used in packaging applications, such as packaging of cement, fertilisers and chemicals.

"The anti-dumping duty imposed shall be levied for a period of five years from the date of imposition of the provisional duty, that is, 12 April 2010, for the imports of goods originating in or exported from, China and Israel...," the department said.

The Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD), a nodal agency under the commerce ministry, had recommended the imposition of the duty after an investigation.

Anti-dumping duty is recommended by the commerce ministry, while the finance ministry imposes the same.

The DGAD concluded in its probe that the domestic industry had suffered a material injury on account of dumped imports of the machine from the two nations.

Unlike safeguard duties, which are levied in a uniform way, anti-dumping duties vary from product-to-product and from country-to-country.

Countries initiate anti-dumping probes to check if the domestic industry has been hurt because of a surge in cheap imports.

As a counter-measure, they impose duties under the multilateral World Trade Organisation (WTO) regime. Anti-dumping measures are taken to ensure fair trade and provide a level playing field to domestic players. It is not a measure to restrict imports or cause an unjustified increase in the cost of products.


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