Coronavirus: Meat, rice, pharma exporters worried

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New Delhi: A 12-15 per cent decline in meat exports, falling global demand for rice, restrictions on outbound shipments of medicines and a shortage of raw material for the pharmaceutical, solar and electronic industries are issues that exporters are grappling with as the covid-19 spreads.

These matters are likely to come up at a meeting that commerce minister Piyush Goyal will have with export promotion councils and industry chambers and associations on Thursday to assess the global disruption in supply chains and impact on India. “Meat is the worst-affected sector in food, where there is a 12-15% decline in exports. Non-basmati rice orders have declined and overall container movement is restricted,” an official said.

The pharma, solar and electronic sectors are facing a shortage of raw material – most of which comes from China. The commerce and industry ministry has drawn up a list of at least 500 products where India has the potential to fill the gap created by China in the global supply chain. While there are no cases of contamination, exporters say logistical issues have come up as export-import movement and trade sentiment have been hit.

“Our consignments are held up and new orders are not coming. The Middle East is slightly slow and only Egypt is showing some demand. Dispatches to Vietnam, which ultimately go to China, are taking time,” said an exporter.

The government has restricted the exports of 26 active pharmaceutical ingredients and formulations, including paracetamol, vitamins B1, B6 and B12, another concern that the industry is keen to flag at the meeting.

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