G20 Leaders oppose export bans as India’s rice restrictions send shockwaves

Just before the G20 summit, the Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS), headquartered in Rome, highlighted the disruptive impact of India’s rice export restrictions and concerns related to El Nino on global rice markets. Thailand’s rice prices have surged by 20% in the past month as a result.

India, a major producer of food grains, had imposed bans on wheat exports and imposed export taxes on various types of rice to boost domestic supplies.

During the G20 summit, leaders unanimously opposed the imposition of export bans or restrictions that distort markets, in accordance with WTO rules. The leaders’ declaration in New Delhi on Saturday expressed support for AMIS, proposing its expansion to include fertilizers and vegetable oils, in addition to its current focus on wheat, maize, rice, and soybeans.

Regarding global wheat supplies, AMIS, an inter-agency initiative launched in 2011 following a spike in global food prices, noted that prices are still under pressure due to abundant exports from the Black Sea region at competitive prices. However, markets remain volatile due to uncertainties related to the initiative’s termination and Russian attacks on Ukrainian export facilities.

The leaders’ declaration in New Delhi called for the uninterrupted delivery of grains, food, and fertilizers from Russia and Ukraine, particularly to meet the needs of developing and least developed countries in Africa. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan emphasized the importance of avoiding actions that isolate Russia and escalate tensions in the Black Sea region.

Russia withdrew from the Black Sea grain deal in July, a year after its establishment by the United Nations and Turkey, citing obstacles to its own food and fertilizer exports and insufficient Ukrainian grain reaching countries in need.

Furthermore, AMIS reported improved prospects for global soybean and maize production this year, with expectations of some stock rebuilding despite dry conditions in North America, Argentina, and parts of Europe.

AMIS, aimed at enhancing transparency in food markets and facilitating policy responses to food security issues, was launched in response to the global food price spikes during 2008-2010. The Rome-based network provides a platform for coordinating policy actions during times of market uncertainty. The G20 summit declaration in New Delhi also emphasized the strengthening of the Group on Earth Observations Global Agricultural Monitoring for enhanced collaboration with early warning systems.

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