West indian countries

cis: exporters want route to China revived for shipments to CIS countries

Indian exporters have called for the resumption of exports to Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries via China, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

CIS countries include Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Exports to these countries have ceased as there is no ship movement across the Black Sea.

The proposed route – from India to Qingdao by boat and from there to the CIS by rail – has not been operational for more than a year.

The suggestion was made during a meeting between the Department of Trade and Industry and stakeholders.

“Three-four meetings with exporters and the Ministry of Finance have been held on ways to minimize the impact of the conflict,” an official said, adding that the situation was fluid and the government was closely monitoring developments.

Currently, a large volume of goods exported to the CIS countries transits through Russian railways. “We offered this route via China to CIS countries because Indian banks will be reluctant to process documents showing transit through Russian ports for goods destined for the CIS,” one exporter said.

“We should explore the possibility of reviving exports via Qingdao by talking with a few major shipping companies or the Association of Container Shipping Companies,” said Ajay Sahai, chief executive of the Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO).

An industry representative said the government had the option of reviving the Rupee-Ruble scheme even though a similar scheme with Iran had had limited success as many buyers expressed their inability to make payments in any currency. abroad or from a third country.

Exporters have suggested using Russian currency for these payments.

They also asked for all export benefits for payments received in this currency as is currently the case for exports in free currencies.

Russia could look to India for its food and chemical needs, another industry representative said, as these are its main imports. However, a blocked transit route not only impacts current exports, but the possibility of increased shipments.

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