UPDATE 1-Egypt in talks with India on wheat export ban exemption
By Sarah El Safty
CAIRO, May 14 (Reuters) - Egypt is in talks with Indian officials about getting an exemption from India's decision to ban wheat exports, Egypt's plant quarantine head Ahmed El Attar told Reuters.
"There are talks between India and Egypt on the highest levels to be part of the exemptions of this decision," El Attar told Reuters, adding "there's constant communication with our ambassador in New Delhi."
India banned wheat exports on Saturday days after saying it was targeting record shipments this year, as a scorching heat wave curtailed output and domestic prices hit a record high.
The government said it would still allow exports backed by already issued letters of credit and to countries that request supplies "to meet their food security needs".
In April, Egypt's agriculture ministry announced it had approved India as a source of wheat supplies as the North African country seeks to supplant purchases disrupted by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Egypt has been working to diversify its purchases, holding talks with France, Argentina and the United States. El Attar said earlier today that Egypt is also considering importing wheat from Pakistan and Mexico.
Last week, a plant quarantine delegation headed by El Attar travelled to India to inspect the first Indian wheat shipment headed to Egypt. The shipment was purchased by Egypt’s private sector.
According to El Attar, more than 45,000 tonnes out of 63,000 tonnes were already loaded on the ship before the export ban was announced.
A statement by the agriculture ministry said the shipment had passed the inspection process, with El Attar adding it had the highest protein levels compared with any other origin. (Reporting by Sarah El Safty; Editing by David Clarke and David Holmes)
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