US lawmakers oppose India’s regulations on pulses’ stock limit

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Washington | Published: October 29, 2015 10:41:54 PM

Centre reduced the allowable amount of pulse crops to 350 metric tons that can be stored and this directly threatens US pulse exports to India.

Pulses price On October 18, the government reduced the allowable amount of pulse crops to 350 metric tons that can be stored in India before being sold on the market. (Express Photo)

A group of influential US lawmakers are up in arms against India’s recent order removing stock limit exemptions for pulses held by Indian importers in the wake of soaring prices of the commodity.

On October 18, the government reduced the allowable amount of pulse crops to 350 metric tons that can be stored in India before being sold on the market.

This directly threatens US pulse exports to India and the future of more than 200,000 metric tons of pulses that are currently being held at Indian ports, a group of three top American lawmakers from Montana State alleged.

Montana is the largest pulse producing State in the US.

In 2014, farmers in Montana planted over 680,000 acres of pulses, an increase of 38 per cent from the previous year.

Early this week, a Congressional delegation from Montana sent a letter asking Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker to resolve issues surrounding India’s recent regulatory changes that will negatively affect Montana pulse producers’ ability to export peas, lentils and chickpeas to Indian markets.

In the letter dated October 27, Senators Steve Daines and Jon Tester and Congressman Ryan Zinke alleged that the Indian Government order of October 18 “will effectively close India’s pulse import trade entirely as the central government’s recommended ‘stock limit’ is only 350 metric tons.”

Indian importers receive shipments of thousands of metric tons at one time in the normal course of business, they said.

“This directly threatens US pulse exports to India that total over 100,000 metric tons annually. Additionally over 200,000 metric tons of pulse are currently being held at Indian ports and their status is currently uncertain,” the Montana lawmakers said in their statement.

“We request that USDA and Commerce engage with the Indian government to resolve this situation as quickly as possible and provide pulse producers in Montana and across the country the certainty they deserve,” the letter added.

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