Basmati Gets Duty-free Entry To EU From Sept 1

Written by Malcolm Subhan | Brussels, Aug 29 | Updated: Aug 30 2004, 05:56am hrs
Traditional varieties of basmati from India and Pakistan will enter the 25-nation European Union (EU) duty-free from September 1. At present, the EU applies a special, reduced import duty of 65 euro per tonne on husked rice.

Six specific varieties of basmati are entitled to duty-free entry under an agreement between the EU and India signed here on Saturday. Exports will have to be accompanied by authenticity certificates issued by Indian authorities. They will be subject to DNA analysis, facilities for which already exist in Hyderabad.

In the case of Pakistan, only two specific varieties of basmati from Pakistan are entitled to duty-free entry, on the same terms as imports from India. India currently exports some 140,000 tonne of basmati rice to the EU, and Pakistan another 40,000 tonne. Indian exports should not suffer, as they consist almost entirely of traditional varieties.

Exports from Pakistan may decline at first, as they consist of evolved varieties. The notified traditional Indian varieties are Basmati 370, Basmati 386, Type-3 (Dehra Dun), Taraori Basmati (HBC-19), Basmati 217, Ranbir Basmati and Pusa Basmati.

The EU has reserved the right to apply the bound duty rate of 65 euro per tonne should exports from India or Pakistan result in market disturbance.