UAE – The United Arab Emirates recently announced that it will temporarily suspend exports and re-exports of rice from the UAE  to protect the supply of the commodity in the country.

According to Ministerial Resolution No. 120 of 2023, the suspension will remain in place for four months, and it will be instrumental in ensuring sufficient rice supply in the local market.

Rice is one of the most consumed grains in the UAE, and according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the UAE MY 2022/23 rice consumption (January 2024– December 2024) is forecast to increase by five percent or 50,000 MT to reach 1.050 MMT.

This recent decision included a ban on exports and re-export of rice originating from India and imported into the country, including free zones, after July 20, 2023. 

The Indian government recently banned exports of non-basmati white rice, which constitutes about 25% of India’s total rice exports, to control rising prices and boost local availability before the upcoming El Niño weather event.

This decision by India, the largest global exporter of rice, has therefore prompted countries like UAE to hold on to the supply they have to ensure they meet the local demand for the grain. 

The UAE reexports a significant percentage of the rice it imports from countries like India and might no longer be able to do that after the recent ban from India. 

The ban by India has already caused supply chain fears globally and placed approximately US$1B worth of rice contracts in jeopardy. 

According to the Ministry of Economy in the UAE, the ban applies to all rice varieties that fall under the unified customs tariff (1006) — husked rice (brown rice), fully or partially milled rice, whether it is smoothed or polished, and broken rice. 

The ministry added that companies wishing to export or re-export rice — either from India or elsewhere — must submit a request to the ministry to obtain a permit, provided that the application is supported by all documents that help verify the data related to the shipment, particularly its origin.

Additionally, the ministry confirmed that the permission to export rice would be valid for 30 days from the date of its issuance and must be submitted to customs authorities to complete procedures. 

Moreover, interested companies must submit requests electronically through e.economy@antidumping, or applicants may go directly to the headquarters of the Ministry of Economy for the submission.

Welcoming the decision, Kamal Vachani, group director and partner at Al Maya Group, said this would stabilize the prices in the local market.

The availability of rice would be better, and prices would remain stable. The UAE always cares about consumers,” he said.

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