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India Reduces Export Limit to Maldives, But Assures ‘Strong People-to-People' Ties

The DGFT notification lowered the limits on export of certain commodities like potatoes, onions and eggs to Maldives. While the review of exports and imports with a country is an annual procedure, reduction of the quantity that can be exported has sparked a controversy.

Aishwarya Kumar | News18.com@aishwaryak03

Updated:June 25, 2018, 1:14 PM IST
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India Reduces Export Limit to Maldives, But Assures ‘Strong People-to-People' Ties
File photo of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj with Maldives President Abdulla Yameen. (Reuters)
New Delhi: Amid souring ties between the India and Maldives, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) issued a notification changing the limits on the export of certain essential commodities to Maldives. India, on Monday, said that the lowering of limits of the items was “based on actual utilization in the recent past.”

The DGFT notification lowered the limits on export of certain commodities like potatoes, onions and eggs to Maldives. While the review of exports and imports with a country is an annual procedure, reduction of the quantity that can be exported has sparked a controversy. The State Trading Organization in the island nation has reportedly said that the Maldivian economy will not be affected. Ahmed Shaheer, managing director of the STO, assured the people that there will be no shortage of food items.

Shaheer also said that India was not the only source of food exports for the country. The top import destinations, in increasing order, for Maldives are China, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, India and Sri Lanka.

The notification reduced the quota to Maldives by more than 90%. The allocation of wheat flour has been the worst hit, dipping by 98.4%. It has been reduced from 59442.17 metric tonnes in 2017-18 to 946.21 metric tonnes in 2018-19. There has been significant drop in sugar also by about 97.1%. The least reduction has been in onions to the tune of 49%.

India, on its part, said on Monday that it was still committed to strong people-to-people relations between the two countries and that it “will ensure that people of Maldives do not have to endure any hardships.” The Ministry of External Affairs statement further said that the changes were well in tandem with the trade agreement signed between India and Maldives in 1981.

Based on the agreement in 1981, India exports certain essential commodities, quantities of which are notified every year. The said items are exempt from restrictions and prohibitions.

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