Coming under attack for rising food prices and indulging export of sugar at a time when the country was faced with shortage and sky rocketing prices, the UPA II Government has cancelled its export order of 10,000 tonnes of white sugar to the European Union (EU).

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), which comes under the Commerce Ministry, in a notification said “allocation of 10,000 tonnes of white sugar for export to the European Union for 2009-10 stands withdrawn.” The U-turn comes a week after the Commerce Ministry had allowed the export. The withdrawal of the export order comes close on the heels of the price rise issue rocking Parliament and the Opposition accusing the government of exporting sugar at a time when the country was faced with a severe shortage and the prices had almost doubled since January 2009. At present, sugar is selling at Rs. 43-45 a kg in Delhi even after the government took a host of measures like duty free imports to check prices.

The Food and Public Distribution Ministry, headed by Sharad Pawar, had come under fire for allowing the export of sugar.

However, the Ministry had come out with a clarification that the decision on such export was taken by the Commerce Ministry. The Ministry had also stated that the EU has been providing a concessional sugar market for several years up to a specified quota and it needed to be protected. “By not discharging/availing of this quota, India may lead the EU to reduce quantities of the import quota from India which may not be in the country's interest,” it said in a statement.

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