Project Leader: Mr. Anwarul Hoda
Research Team: 

Pritha Banerjee

Commencement: July 2012
Completion: December 2012
Funded by: Ministry of Commerce, Government of India

In the context of high international commodity prices and the emerging scenario of world-wide scarcity of basic foodstuffs, nations are looking for international action aimed at alleviating the situation. It has been proposed in the G20 as well as in the WTO that the ability of governments to put export restrictions on foodstuffs should be curtailed. The same question has arisen for industrial raw materials such as cotton. The initiative supported by the developed countries has put India under pressure as it is one of the biggest users of export restrictions on foodstuffs and industrial raw materials such as cotton. Within India also there is a thinking that farmers should be helped to secure the best prices for their products in international markets and export restrictions should not be imposed.

Separately, a question has arisen whether the WTO members should have the ability to put export restrictions on scarce mineral resources to the detriment of the interests of importing countries. On this, as well as in relation to export of foodstuffs, there are existing rules. The idea of the proponents is to make adjustments in these rules so as to make it more difficult for governments to take export restriction measures.

In this background, the present study documents export restrictions applied by the top 30 WTO members in the last 10 years. It will analyse the impact of the restrictions on domestic and world food prices and will help formulate India’s stand at the WTO or other fora on the need to use export restrictions on essential foodstuffs or the need to import natural resources.