IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


28th August, 2023 Economy

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Picture Courtesy: The Economic Times

Context: The government imposed a 20% export duty on parboiled rice with immediate effect. This decision was made to curb the surge in rice shipments that occurred after July 20, when the government banned exports of non-basmati white rice. This duty is intended to restrict the outflow of rice from the country and potentially stabilize domestic rice prices.


  • The Indian government has taken several measures related to rice exports in response to certain economic and agricultural concerns. These actions are aimed at managing the supply and demand dynamics of rice in the domestic market, controlling inflation, and ensuring the availability of rice for the country's population.

Key Highlights

  • The 20% export duty on parboiled rice is set to be in effect until October 15. This timeline is likely chosen to allow the government to assess the rice production situation for the kharif season (monsoon season crop) and determine whether further actions are necessary.
  • Exporters who had contracted shipments before the official notification of the export duty are allowed to ship their consignments at zero duty until October 15. This exemption is likely intended to honour existing trade agreements and contracts.
  • Depending on the information gathered about kharif rice production, the government may take additional steps, such as potentially banning exports of parboiled rice altogether. The decision could be influenced by factors like the quantity of rice harvested and the overall market conditions.
  • The imposition of the 20% export duty is expected to impact rice prices. Indian parboiled rice, for example, is projected to cost more due to the added duty. This could also have implications for global rice prices, particularly in regions like Southeast Asia, and might contribute to inflation in the rice market.
  • The government's decision to restrict rice exports is part of a broader strategy to control inflation, by ensuring higher domestic availability of rice, the government aims to stabilize prices and make a key staple food more accessible to the population.

Export duties on Agricultural products


  • Export duties on agricultural products are levies imposed by a country's government on certain agricultural goods that are being exported to other countries. These duties are a form of taxation intended to generate revenue for the government, protect domestic markets, regulate supplies, and ensure food security. The use of export duties on agricultural products is influenced by various economic, political, and social factors.


  • Revenue Generation: Export duties can generate revenue for the government. This revenue can be used to fund various developmental projects, infrastructure improvements, and public services. By taxing goods leaving the country, the government can accumulate funds that can be reinvested in the nation's growth and welfare.
  • Domestic Market Protection: Export duties can be used to ensure that a sufficient quantity of certain goods, particularly essential agricultural products, remains within the domestic market. This can help prevent shortages and stabilize prices. By making exports less attractive due to the additional cost of duties, governments can make sure that their citizens have access to the necessary goods.
  • Trade Balancing: Export duties can play a role in balancing a country's trade by discouraging excessive exports of certain commodities. If a country is exporting too much of a particular resource or product, it can lead to depletion and scarcity within the nation. Imposing export duties can incentivize exporters to prioritize domestic supply, thereby conserving resources for domestic consumption.
  • Control over Supply: Export duties can provide governments with a tool to control the outflow of critical agricultural products or other vital resources. By controlling the supply, the government can prevent sudden shortages that could arise due to international market fluctuations. This control ensures a stable and consistent supply of essential goods within the country.

Potential consequences

  • Price Effects: Export duties can indeed increase the cost of goods in international markets, which may make those goods less competitive compared to similar products from countries without export duties. This can lead to reduced demand from foreign buyers, affecting the volume of exports and potentially impacting the overall revenue generated from exports.
  • Trade Relations: Imposing export duties can strain trade relations with other countries, especially if these duties are perceived as unfair trade practices or if they violate international trade agreements. Trade disputes and conflicts can arise, and affected countries might respond with retaliatory measures, such as imposing tariffs on the exporting country's goods.
  • Domestic Economy: While export duties can protect domestic markets and ensure an adequate supply of certain goods domestically, they might also have unintended consequences. Higher costs for exports could discourage farmers and producers from increasing production, especially if international demand declines due to increased prices. This could impact the overall agricultural output and potentially lead to reduced economic growth in the sector.
  • Government Revenue: Export duties can serve as a source of government revenue, which can be used to fund various projects and services. However, it's important to strike a balance. Excessive export duties could discourage trade and lead to decreased demand for the country's goods in the global market. This, in turn, could reduce the overall revenue generated from exports and harm the economy in the long run.


  • Trade Relations: The imposition of export duties can indeed strain trade relations with other countries. Other nations may view these duties as trade barriers or protectionist measures that hinder fair competition. This can lead to trade disputes, negotiations, and potential retaliation, negatively impacting overall diplomatic and economic ties between countries.
  • Market Uncertainty: Frequent changes in export duty policies can create uncertainty for traders and businesses engaged in international trade. Unpredictable changes in duties make it difficult for these entities to plan and execute trade strategies effectively. Such uncertainty can lead to decreased investment in trade-related activities and hinder the growth of international commerce.
  • Impact on Farmers: Excessive export duties can discourage farmers from producing surplus crops for export, as the higher costs associated with these duties might erode their income potential. This can have a cascading effect on agricultural productivity and income stability for farmers, potentially impacting the overall growth of the agricultural sector.
  • WTO Regulations: Export duties can potentially be challenged under the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The WTO aims to promote free and fair trade among member countries. If export duties are perceived as violating WTO regulations, affected countries may initiate legal proceedings against the imposing nation. This can lead to formal disputes and damage the country's reputation in international trade.

Way Forward

  • Balanced Approach: Striking a balance between protecting domestic markets and maintaining international trade competitiveness is crucial. Governments should carefully assess the potential impacts of export duties on both domestic industries and trade relationships to ensure that their policies align with broader economic goals.
  • Predictable Policies: Providing stability and predictability in export duty policies is essential for building trust among traders, investors, and international partners. Clear and consistent policies reduce uncertainty and encourage long-term planning for international trade activities.
  • Diversification: Relying heavily on export duties can have limitations and potential negative consequences. Encouraging diversification of agricultural exports and the promotion of value-added products can enhance a country's resilience in global markets and reduce dependence on a single revenue source.
  • Dialogue and Negotiation: Engaging in open and constructive dialogue with trading partners can help prevent trade conflicts arising from export duties. Diplomatic negotiations and seeking mutually beneficial solutions demonstrate a commitment to maintaining positive trade relationships while addressing domestic concerns.
  • WTO Compliance: Given the importance of adhering to international trade rules, countries should carefully consider WTO regulations when formulating export duty policies. Complying with WTO norms can reduce the likelihood of legal disputes and uphold a country's reputation in the global trading community.


  • Export duties on agricultural products can play a significant role in a country's economic and strategic objectives, but their impact is far-reaching. By carefully evaluating the potential benefits and drawbacks, considering both domestic and international implications, and adopting a well-informed and strategic approach, governments can effectively utilize export duties to support their goals while maintaining healthy trade relationships and overall economic stability

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MINIMUM EXPORT PRICE: https://www.iasgyan.in/daily-current-affairs/minimum-export-price


Q. What are the implications of imposing export duties on rice? How do these duties impact trade, and what challenges might arise? What strategies can be implemented to overcome these challenges and ensure a productive way forward for both exporting countries and the global market?