US wants to increase agriculture exports to India

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New Delhi | Published: February 22, 2018 3:12:24 AM

The US is keen on a broader free trade agreement (FTA) with India, but even before this can materialse, it wants to hike exports of agricultural products such as soybean meal and distiller’s dried grains (DDG) made from corn to India, said visiting under secretary of agriculture Ted A McKinney.

agriculture exports, india, US, broader free trade agreement, Ted A McKinney, US exports, India, GM technology,  DDG in India, agricultural productsMcKinney also said there is a market for corn-based DDG in India and he wants to facilitate its export. But India needs to liberalise its rules on import of GM crop-based products. (Reuters)

The US is keen on a broader free trade agreement (FTA) with India, but even before this can materialse, it wants to hike exports of agricultural products such as soybean meal and distiller’s dried grains (DDG) made from corn to India, said visiting under secretary of agriculture Ted A McKinney. He cited the example of US exports of apple which have been growing ever since it was allowed. He wanted India to reduce the import tariff on soybean meal, which is currently 15%. India also has restriction on soybean meal if it is made from genetically modified (GM) crop. A small quantity of the feed meal is already imported from Ukraine. According to industry data, India’s soybean meal exports are likely to drop to 1.25 million tonne in 2017-18 (October-September) from about 2 million tonne a year ago.

McKinney also said there is a market for corn-based DDG in India and he wants to facilitate its export. But India needs to liberalise its rules on import of GM crop-based products. He also said without the GM technology it would not have been possible for India to become what it is now in cotton production. India is the world’s largest cotton producer.

McKinney pointed out that current trade imbalance of agricultural products favours India, but the US is not looking at the issue now. “We want to build trust and we are optimistic about relationship with India,” he said. India’s export of agricultural products to the US was about $2.6 billion while America exported farm commodities worth $1.6 billion to India in 2017, he said. McKinney also suggested that India should follow the Codex standards, which are followed globally, while setting the import quality parameters for agricultural products.

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