Update on India Market Access
August 24, 2018
Market access for Saskatchewan pulses in India continues to be a top priority for Saskatchewan Pulse Growers (SPG).
The Canadian pulse industry continues to address fumigation requirements for Canadian pulses to India. Pulse Canada is actively working with the Canadian government to find a science-based solution to India’s fumigation concerns and one that works for the Canadian pulse industry.
In February 2018, Prime Ministers Trudeau and Modi agreed to work closely together to finalize an arrangement within 2018, to enable the export of Canadian pulses to India free from pests of quarantine importance, with mutually acceptable technological protocols.
To help minimize India’s concerns, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has conducted a science-based risk assessment of India’s pest concerns that showed that Canadian pulse exports to India pose no risk to India’s plant health concerns. The Government of Canada has provided Indian Government and technical officials with an invite, including two specific times, for an Indian delegation to travel to Canada to review our systems based approach to grain handling throughout the supply chain. A review of Canada’s systems based approach by Indian officials is deemed by the Government of Canada as a necessary step in both a) demonstrating that Canadian pulses do not pose a phytosanitary risk to India and b) finalizing an agreement on plant protection prior to the end of 2018.
The review of Canada’s systems based approach by a delegation of Indian officials would include technical presentations from the CFIA, Canadian Grain Commission (CGC), and pulse industry that illustrates how Canada prepares shipments of pulses for export to India and mitigates the risk of introducing regulated pests to India without mandatory fumigation. Generally, a review of a systems approach by an international delegation would also include the following features of the Canadian supply chain in order to showcase Canada’s continued ability to provide the global marketplace with world-class product in terms of safety, sustainability, and quality:
- Visit to a pulse farm
- Pulse processing plant
- Inland grain terminal
- Government of Canada plant health and entomology laboratories
- Terminal facilities at the Port of Vancouver
Canada continues to strive for a bi-lateral agreement with India on plant protection. We recognize that resolving the fumigation requirements for Canadian pulses will not address the issue of import tariffs and quantitative restrictions that have disrupted Canada’s access for pulses to the India market. However, it is important that we continue to drive this issue forward with the Canadian and Indian governments, as it is critical that we have reasonable phytosanitary conditions for Canadian product when India resumes importing pulses.
Pulse exporting nations, including Canada, are addressing the challenge of working with India to improve the predictability and transparency of pulse import policy including both the quantitative restrictions and import tariffs that have impeded access for pulses into the India market. This work is being led by the Global Pulse Confederation (GPC) and through Geneva-based trade officials from many pulse exporting nations. This international co-operation includes multi-lateral advocacy for predictability and transparency in all policy decisions.
India is the largest consumer of pulses, and we expect that they will need to re-enter the market. However import duties in India are as a result of an abundance of domestically produced and imported pulses in the Indian market, resulting in low prices to Indian farmers for some pulses they produce there such as desi chickpea, pigeon pea and red lentil. While prices for yellow peas in India have risen sharply since the introduction of import duties, prices for desi chickpeas and red lentils in India remain low. Import duties are likely to stay in place until the supply situation in India changes and prices for those products rise.
We know the importance of India as Canada’s largest market for pulse crops. Canadian exports to India accounted for more than $1.1 billion and more than 1.9 million tonnes in 2016, with India accounting for over 40 per cent of Canada’s yellow pea and red lentil exports.
Saskatchewan Pulse Growers will keep growers informed as work continues in this area.