Confusion over ECX letter hinders bean exports

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The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI), is yet to issue an expected directive that would allow exporters of soy and mung beans, who bought the products before the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) took exclusive trading rights a few months ago, to recommence their export. Those affected are opposed to paying a commission to ECX.
The exporters said they bought the beans before the ECX took over the trading, now they say they are unable to export their product.
“MoTI has provided a permit letter showing the product was bought before ECX started the trading, which allows us to get a permit at the customs office for export but now we heard that the ministry has suspended issuing this letter,” one of the exporters, who asked to be anonymous told Capital.
“I bought 9,000 quintals of soybeans in October, which is the beginning month for harvest season, but now they are saying I have to settle the commission fee with ECX which is unfair,” he added.
ECX, the modern trading floor which began operating in April 2008, officially started the exclusive trading of soy and mung beans in January. It says exporters were buying the beans on the primary market even after the trading was fully transferred to ECX.
It banned some exporters from exporting the beans, accusing them illegally buying the products from primary markets.
Last week the Ethiopian Pulses, Oilseeds and Spices Processors-Exporters Association called members who were banned from exporting the products. They asked them to say how much volume they had purchased.
Sources said that the ministry was expected to issue a directive allowing exporters to recommence their export after settling the commission at ECX this week. However, the directive had not been issued when the paper went to print.
Some exporters also argued that the current decision is unacceptable since they bought the product months before the commodity market started the exclusive trading in January.
MoTI is expected to issue a directive allowing exporters who bought the products against the market rule to export the products since they settled the charges that were supposed to be paid to ECX if the products were bought from the electronic trading center. The government is now attempting to obtain the hard currency from the export of those suspended from exporting, according to the sector expert.