India has started exporting tendered wheat against old letters of credit (LC), but the Indian authorities are not accepting any new LCs due to the wheat export ban.
Wheat import to Bangladesh resumed through the Hili land port on Saturday after the half-day shutdown. However, export and import through the port remained closed Sunday (15 May) for Buddha Purnima.
Rashedul Islam, C&F agent at Hili land port, said Indian customs had stopped exporting wheat through the port since Saturday morning when the Indian government issued a directive to stop wheat exports Friday.
"After meeting with Indian traders, Indian customs decided to export only those LCs against which the tender process had been completed," he told The Business Standard.
Indian traders have confirmed that wheat will be exported against the previous LCs signed till 12 May, he added.
Doyal Molla, an importer at the port said, "We have already submitted a large number of LCs for wheat to India. Therefore, we demand that our commerce ministry should take action to ensure that their Indian counterpart supply wheat against LCs that have already been submitted."
LCs of 15-16 importers for about 70,000 tonnes of wheat have been given to India, he added.
Hili Land Port Public Relations Officer Sohrab Hossain said on average, 50-60 trucks of wheat were imported through the port every day.
"Last Thursday, 1,959 tonnes of wheat was imported in 52 trucks through the port. Yesterday, 1,923 tons of wheat was imported in 50 trucks in a single day," he added.
The Indian government banned wheat exports to curb rising domestic prices and address the needs of neighbouring and vulnerable countries.
Bangladesh is the top destination of its wheat exports. India exported 11,57,399 tonnes of wheat worth $299.4 million to Bangladesh in 2020-21 constituting 55.4% in terms of total volume of India's total wheat exports.
The neighbouring country was about to see an uptick in wheat export to Bangladesh following the war between two major global wheat exporters Ukraine-Russia.
However, the export shipments for which irrevocable LCs have been issued on or before the date of this notification will be allowed, India's Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said in a notification dated 13 May.