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Rupee peg in diesel export to Myanmar

S.P.S. PANNU
From The Telegraph, Kolkata, India
July 11, 2005
link to this article.

The petroleum ministry has requested the finance ministry to allow it to export diesel on a trial basis to Myanmar against payments in the Indian currency.

The move is part of petroleum minister Mani Shankar Aiyar's oil diplomacy, which aims to promote co-operation between the two neighbours in the hydrocarbon sector.

If the approval comes through, Numaligarh Refinery will be able to despatch diesel consignments by road through the Northeast to Myanmar.

The finance ministry has raised questions about the mode of payment as the low volume of trade between the two countries does not generate enough rupees for Myanmar to pay in the Indian currency. It fears that diesel purchases in rupees could lead to money laundering.

Senior officials of the ministry of external affairs are unable to explain from official data why the rupee trade with Myanmar is growing so rapidly.

However, oil industry officials familiar with ground realities in the Northeast are of the view that substantial informal trade in teak and ivory takes place with Myanmar through the land border. This could explain the accumulation of Indian rupees in the neighbouring country.

Myanmar also imports goods from Thailand and pays in bahts. Hence, India expects a similar facility.

The petroleum ministry wants permits for exporting 12,000 tonnes of diesel annually on a trial basis. It has suggested that this could later be increased and payments for diesel exports could be adjusted against India's imports of natural gas from Myanmar.

Pak delegation
A seven-member team of Pakistani petroleum officials is coming to India tomorrow to take part in the first meeting of the joint working group on the proposed $4.6 billion Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project, PTI said.

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