33 terms for non-tariff barriers

Mumbai, Nov 15 | Updated: Nov 16 2005, 05:30am hrs
India and other developing countries will have to put up a united show at the proposed WTO ministerial meeting against the imposition of non-tariff barriers mainly by the US and EU.

There are at least 33 various terms used to create non-tariff barriers and thereby deny the market access for agricultural and agro-based products into their territories.

The list of those 33 items include claims of conduct, destruction of consignment, disclosures, environmental clause, sampling, regulation of new quality parameter, safety-related clause, labour standard, mandatory inspection and language clauses, shelf life, social clauses, storage conditions and testing methodology.

Government sources told FE that India, which is a part of G-20 and G-33, will do its best to negotiate hard against non-tariff barriers by developed countries. Union commerce minister Kamal Nath has already said the central focus is to address developmental concerns of the developing countries while striving for fair and equitable trade.

According to a compilation made by the Centre for Industrial Trade in Agriculture and Agro-based Industries (CITA), these items are the administrative formalities and procedure related to trade and not to ensure food safety and public health.

CITA said the only way to defend the Indias commercial interest in international trade was to improve competency and competitiveness.

The biggest challenge in achieving the food safety in India is neither money nor technology. While the existing activities in food safety have focused primarily on hazards in food, the proposed strategy should address the broader concept of risk along the entire food chain. It must take into consideration the need for sustainable agricultural production systems in all regions and redirect some of the existing approaches to ensure that they meet the emerging challenges of global food safety, it said.